News Feature | July 8, 2014

The Fight For Net Neutrality And How It Affects VARs

By Cheryl Knight, contributing writer

Net Neutrality And VARs

Net neutrality has become a hot topic among politicians and those interested in a free and unfettered Internet. According to a govtech.com article, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is accepting public comment on a proposed rule that would exchange the Internet’s current data neutrality, “allowing prioritized traffic in instances where it is deemed ‘commercially reasonable.’” Businesses could pay Internet service providers (ISP) to have their content delivered at faster speeds.

Opponents of so-called pay-for-play Internet tiers say that such a setup could severely damage innovation and entrepreneurship, as smaller companies who cannot afford the faster speeds will fall behind in their ability to compete with larger businesses that can pay. One category of those small businesses could include VARs who often rely on the Internet to market their solutions and services.

The Online Competition And Consumer Choice Act Of 2014

Politicians in states including California and Vermont are fighting back — introducing legislation entitled the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2014. The bill would prohibit the practice of paying an ISP to deliver content at a faster speed.

According to a Washington Post article, Senator Patrick Leahy, one of the primary supporters of the bill, says, “Americans are speaking loud and clear. They want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider.”

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