Net Neutrality: What it Means for Businesses

The term ‘net neutrality’ is one that we’ve heard every so often in the last few years, but following the Trump Administration’s ‘threat’ (as some people are calling it) to reinstate net neutrality regulations in the United States, it’s a topic that has got many British businesses wondering what this means for them.

So let’s look at the basics…

What is Net Neutrality?

Quite simply, it’s a regulation that can be put in place to bring equality to all web traffic, rather than enabling businesses to pay more for data transfer prioritisation. Contrary to popular belief, net neutrality won’t make your business broadband connection faster; what it will do, however, is prevent an internet service provider from offering an internet package that guarantees prioritised voice traffic, for example.

Is Net Neutrality Good or Bad?

There is a very large and very ongoing debate about whether or not net neutrality would have positive or negative effects on the economy. On the one hand, it is a very normal and very mundane task for businesses to pay more to receive a better service; it’s a sales concept that has been around since the beginning of time. On the other hand, government restrictions on public utilities is cause for concern.

Is Net Neutrality in the UK?

No. Differential charges is relatively common in the UK, and has been used by big name internet service providers like PlusNet. Net neutrality does, however, exist in a number of countries around the world, including Chile, who were the first country to bring in these regulations, and The Netherlands, which were the first European country to do so. Recently, it has been suggested that net neutrality could come into force in the United States under a Trump presidency, which has thrust the topic into the limelight.

What Does Net Neutrality Mean for Me?

At the moment, nothing. However, if the regulations are introduced in the UK then it’s worth taking some time to understand how your business may be affected. Business broadband users who benefit from prioritised traffic would be the most affected, and may struggle with high contention ratios.

The good news, however, is that leased line customers are unlikely to be affected by net neutrality. A leased line is a private circuit, and is not considered to be a part of the ‘internet’. It’s somewhat of a loophole; it’s an internet advantage without being a net neutrality infringement. The concept of net neutrality is just one of the reasons why a leased line could help to ‘future proof’ your business.

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