If you follow US business news you’ll have heard that net neutrality is one of the hottest subjects in Congress.
But what is net neutrality, and are these American laws going to make their way across our shores? Read on to get the low down on net neutrality and what it might mean for your Kiwi business…
What exactly is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the principle that ISP’s should deliver all online content in the same manner, without prioritization of certain websites over others. It establishes a level playing field for all websites.
Currently, you can access any website of your choosing, and this website will be delivered to your device by your internet service provider (ISP) in the same format and at the same speed as any other website, regardless of whether it’s the website of a global corporation or a small start-up. That’s thanks to net neutrality.
Without net neutrality, ISP’s would have the power to decide which websites you can access. They would also hold the right to control the speed in which different websites are delivered to your computer. ISP’s could effectively prioritise one website over the other and reserve the right to speed up, slow down, or down right block you from accessing certain sites.
How might changes in net neutrality affect businesses online?
Without net neutrality in place, smaller companies will find it harder to compete online against larger corporations, who could legally use their bigger marketing budgets to form agreements with ISP’s, paying a higher subscription for their website to be prioritised over those of their smaller competitors. The removal of net neutrality will make it hard for any SME, start-up or freelancer to market to and access their target audience online.
Are net neutrality laws changing in New Zealand?
In the US, net neutrality is the hot topic in congress. In December 2017, FCC chairman Ajit Pai successfully led a vote to end the Open Internet Order, effectively changing the net neutrality laws established two years prior in America.
In New Zealand, like much the rest of the world, there aren’t any defined net neutrality laws. ISP’s generally give equal weight to all websites because that’s just what’s always happened. However, with some larger ISP’s now introducing offers such as unlimited data for Facebook or Twitter on mobile, they are effectively prioritising these sites over others – breaking the unspoken net neutrality rules. Depending on what happens in the US over the next few years, we might start to see our regulations change to establish our own net neutrality laws.
Voyager was started by Kiwi entrepreneur Seeby Woodhouse, we’ve grown the company to become one of the fastest growing ISP’s in New Zealand. We’ve done this by providing a quality product with first class Kiwi support. We like to see ourselves as the David of ISP’s against the Goliaths, so needless to say, we fully support net neutrality (it’s helped us get us where we are today!)