Net Neutrality and small businesses

We were contacted by Kristi Heim, Business and Technology reporter for the Seattle Times, this morning to discuss our stance on net neutrality.  [Update 6/22: her article Plan for two-tiered Internet puts higher price on speed quotes us at length in the last section]

While there is ample news on the positions taken by large companies on this issue (Amazon, Google, Microsoft vs. AT&T and Verizon), the views of small technology businesses like ours are often overlooked. We were happy to discuss our thoughts with Kristi, and wanted to share them with you too.

Should broadband providers providing "last mile" Internet connections to customers be allowed to provide improved quality of service for a particular company?

We say "no." We advocate laws that protect an unbiased Internet. As a small business, we believe that having to pay a myriad of broadband providers fees to guarantee higher-quality service would hurt us (and our users) significantly because it would:

  • Raise costs. We're on a shoestring budget.
  • Waste a lot of our time trying to contact and form agreements with several different broadband providers.
  • Enable unfair competition. A large company could oust BillMonk from the market simply by purchasing a much faster connection to the end-user. A small business like ours would not be able to compete solely on the basis of delivering a better product. (E.g. Would YouTube be able to afford fast enough network speeds to compete with Google Video and be as successful as it is today?)

More broadly, we believe that unless such laws to preserve net neutrality are enacted, broadband Internet service providers will come to exert significant control over the end-user Internet experience. In time, this will favor bigger established businesses over small entrepreneurs (like us), and would stifle innovation. Since most web-application innovation happens in the Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston areas, there are regional implications to this debate too.

Granted, the entire topic of net neutrality is fairly abstract. The big broadband providers have said that they would like to have to ability to charge companies for tiered levels of end-user service, e.g. Comcast could ask Skype to pay extra for so its customers have have low-latency guarantees within the Comcast network. But a specific price has yet to be decided, as do ground rules of how to deal with services that do not wish to pay.

We're not unsympathetic to the argument that the broadband infrastructure costs a lot of money, and telcos need to fund such a build-out. We believe they should pass along costs to customers and let fair market competition determine the price that balances people's need for broadband with the costs of providing these services. Econ 101, eh? We're not philosophically opposed to allowing for categories of different types of internet traffic (web, voice, movies) and allowing customers to pick a pricing plan (e.g. I'll pay $5/mo more for low-latency VoIP guarantees), as long as these categories are divided by type and not by company. It's precisely these kinds of rules about what broadband provider may and may not do that deserve to be codified into regulations.

This is a very timely issue. After the June 9th defeat of a US House bill that would have protected net neutrality, the issue has moved to the Senate Commerce Committee. Lots of action; the most recently proposed compromise would guarantee safeguards against blocking sites and services while allowing tiered service levels. There's a vote on this committee compromise this Thursday, and there will be a Senate vote in July.

If you would like to make your voice heard, write to your senator or representitve and let them know where you stand. (In Washington state? Get Maria Cantwell off the fence!) Tell them that small companies like us need net neutrality to innovate, and that deregulation puts too much power in the hands of what are rapidly becoming monopolies on everyday Internet access.

The Wikipedia article on Net Neutrality offers a good starting place to learn more.


27 Responses to “Net Neutrality and small businesses”

  1. cingular free ringtones usa Says:

    free cingular wireless ringtones

    Perhaps free real ringtones for verizon application loan online payday

  2. giochi di carte poker Says:

    play omaha poker free

    Consolidare siti poker online giochi poker

  3. download roulette gratis Says:

    regole roulette

    Di black jack in linea i migliori casino online

  4. free nextel real ringtones Says:

    polyphonic ringtones for sony ericsson

    It download free tracfone ringtones ringtones for nextel phone

  5. casino on line sicuri Says:

    casino download gratis

    Io keno inlinea play free keno

  6. regole baccarat Says:

    telecharger partie poker…

    Infatti regole baccarat poker en ligne gratuites…

  7. jeu flash roulette roulette gratuites flash games roulette flash Says:

    jeux gratuits sans téléchargement casino jeux de casino poker gratuits…

    Each internet texas holdem casino gratuites sans depot…

  8. free mp3 ringtones free motorola v220 mp3 ringtones Says:

    application card credit unsecured…

    I am card credit debt free living c139 free motorola ringtones…

  9. pai gow poker Says:

    poker tournament 2007…

    Each one of no faxing instant payday loan 7 card stud low…

  10. online blackjack gambling blackjack gambling game Says:

    casino libre…

    Altre tutorial poker play free casino…

  11. bank card credit georgia Says:

    bank card credit georgia…

    We casino’ online video poker download…

  12. internet casino guide Says:

    virtual casino virtual city casino virtual casino gambling…

    That internet casino guide reglas poker…

  13. tournoi poker casino Says:

    wo kann man poker spielen…

    Quel video poker online gratis gioco di roulette gioco video poker gratis poker und regeln une régle du jeu du poker…

  14. poker spielen download Says:

    juegos online ruleta…

    HeuteAbend casinos en ligne gratuites texas holdem wahrscheinlichkeiten juego ruleta de la fortuna enquête casino on net pokerroom bonus…

  15. Poker Celebrities site Says:

    I agree with some of the comments I have read on your blog, great posts, keep up the good work your doing!

  16. Playing poker online tips dot com Says:

    That sounds interesting. Found your blog through Google, you got some good rankings!

  17. lilly57 Says:

    Chatham constructive fence sidelight sulfurous Tientsin vestiges r57 shell darlings plastic steeper .

  18. Video Poker Gratis Online Says:

    Of relaxation Well, needs for a?A mothers warm, Yes they get.I Sverige d?rf?r, are constantly striving.Hold Keep the Video Poker Gratis Online, of the countries programme for students.Assistants have the, or somebody has.,

  19. poker code Says:

    nice post ! Keep working ,great job!

  20. Georgia Travel Says:

    Hi!. Thanks a bunch for the blog. I’ve been digging around looking some info up for shool, but i think i’m getting lost!. Yahoo lead me here – good for you i suppose! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back over here in a couple of days to see if there is updated posts.

  21. Arun Ghandi Says:

    My friend just came back from the casinos in Macao , he made 40000 dollars in black jack. I think the casinos are more liberal there.

  22. Online casino us free Says:

    Online casinos us…

    play casino…

  23. Jeux Says:

    Quelques bonnes info mais toujours un bon post merci !

  24. Hennrik T. Hansen Says:

    Hello! How are you today? It’s just that i like your website so much, and that i believe you can start making alot of dinero with it. I have a couple of winning sites that I started pulling in some cash from recently. They are using something called a content blocker widget, it makes visitors fill out a survey inorder to unblock premium content or to download programs or tools that they want. And every time they do a quick survey i earn about a dollar. Really awsome eh? Been making much more from it than google adsense! Feel free to email me, or you can check it out through my link., Kind Regards, Hennrik T. Hansen

  25. kamagra en ligne Says:

    merci votre message! je se melnche

  26. Quick Facts Says:

    Best you could change the blog subject title Net Neutrality and small businesses Notes from the BillMonk to more generic for your blog post you make. I enjoyed the post withal.

  27. AngilinaSanyOff Says:

    Test spam ) Sorry…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: