There are a lot of us who grew up on the internet as we know it today. The classes that once taught kids to type are now teaching them how to program web based games with python and how to create personal websites to post blogs about their thoughts and innovations. Education in most any and every field is accessible and the content that could change our lives is quickly at our fingertips (usually for a minimal price for web access). For better or worse, this could all change.
Today is Net Neutrality day. It’s a day for us all to pause and consider what those words even mean, how changes to it could affect our world, and what it means for the future of those kids who are learning how to build python programs in their classroom today.
What is Net Neutrality? Let’s Google It
Don’t let that Google blurb fool you. It’s a big, complex, and messy issue and it’s a dividing line today. If you take anything away from this article, we hope it’s encouragement to go figure out just what Net Neutrality is, listen to the arguments, and form your own opinion. We don’t pretend to be experts in the Telecom world of tomorrow but much like our peers in the tech world today, we want to bring attention to the issue and share our story.
So, Why Are We All Talking About This Right Now?
The FCC proposed a new order that would redefine broadband internet classifications, rolling back the rules governing Net Neutrality and decreasing regulations currently imposed on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are meant to protect internet consumers. ISPs would be able to control which sites are prioritized, what internet users can and cannot see, and how fast they can see it. While the new order has been proposed, nothing is set in stone. The FCC has requested public input along with the submission of notes in support or opposition to the new rule.
Both sides of the debate make a lot of assumptions about what might or might not happen with or without Net Neutrality. While we can’t tell the future, there are two things that are highly probable: companies ranging from small to mid-range tech startups (much like The Recon GRP) all the way up to favorites like Amazon, Google, and Facebook will have to begin to pay internet service providers to use different lanes of the internet (and we can guess that fast lane might be pricey). Internet users could potentially have to begin paying premiums to access certain sites. The internet right now is an open and highly accessible commodity. Startups everywhere can spark a brilliant idea, deliver it to the web cheaply, and have an equal shot at becoming the next Google, Amazon, or Facebook. There is an ecosystem on the internet that gives ideas and innovation footing for survival and proliferation.
Why Do We Care?
We care because this decision directly affects us. We are The Recon GRP and we offer a cloud-based proprietary software that offers B2B E-Commerce solutions to companies of all shapes and sizes. We proudly boast to anyone who will listen, that our solution is in-house, home-grown code. Our development team doesn’t have to call three different companies to make changes to the software or add a custom field – we make the change in-house and deliver a customized, packaged solution to our clients.
The beauty of where we are today is that we started small. We are a family owned business that started in print and production who strove to meet the needs of our clients; but that wasn't enough for us. We listened and evolved a technology that helps provide solutions for the problems we heard. We entered the game on an equal playing field and through our blood, sweat, and tears, we were able to get to where we are today. We pay for hosting at a fair rate and we offer the solutions to our customers at a reciprocally fair price. While we might be able to pay for the fast lane today (or maybe more of the middle lane, who knows?), we might not have been able to when we started the tech side of the company. Would it even have been lucrative for us to try? Would we have been able to afford to reach our clients? What would the cost be to the end user to interact with us and the vast network of our Cloud-based Technology peers?
In Conclusion: Please Go Research!
This is not a political blog. We don’t want to discuss what this means for the left or the right. We simply want to talk about the future and what the potential outlying concerns are for the complete abandonment of Net Neutrality. We worry about the potential cost of the fast lane, as well as the thousands, if not millions, of beautiful ideas that might get left behind in the emergency lane and those that can't even get on the road in the first place.
Whatever the outcome of the heated Net Neutrality debate might be, we hope the internet continues to offer a fair playing field to those kids in the classroom right now and the web program they are carefully crafting that might spark the next Amazon or Google.