Contrary to what you may think, the longtime hot-button legal and political debate on net neutrality is far from over. The decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to overturn the rules on Net Neutrality that were established in 2015, came as a surprise to advertisers and publishers.
Unfortunately, the repeal of the Network Neutrality rules leaves internet users are at the mercy of the ISPs, who have now gained complete control over the flow of digital content.
What the Repeal of Net Neutrality Regulations Means for Publishers
The new regulations on the net neutrality that went into effect 23rd, April 2018 are bad news for the publishers and advertisers. Net neutrality is a state whereby all internet data becomes open, free and therefore accessible to all. ISPs were supposed to treat all internet traffic equally. They’d not charge the online users any extra fees, or discriminate against any content website or platform.
The invalidation gives the ISPs the power to charge for different types of content and even discriminate against online content by halting, slowing and also interfering with the data transfer.
Worse still, some ISPs may present/display content belonging to certain publishers as part of their bundle offering. That way, consumers won’t pay to access such content but will have to incur to access everything else.
Small independent publishers without cash to pay ISPs for preferential treatment have to bear the blunt. Their visitors and consequently the revenues will dwindle substantially.
Besides, the pillars upon which the internet was built- free speech and open exchange of ideas, will just be but a wish.
The Next Cause of Action for Publishers
All is not lost for publishers, and there’s still some flicker of hope. If you’re a publisher, the following could help;
Write to or call the congressional representatives and senators reiterating your support for net neutrality. Although the odds are still low, a slight chance exists for the Congress to invoke the Congress Review Act to overrule the FCC.
Independent publishers can also join an online moment such as Battle for the Net to make the process easy and their voices heard. Other than the efforts to protest the repeal of regulations on net neutrality, publishers can still take a few measures in preparation for it.
First, seek to maintain or increase the quality of your content. Your audience will still be dying to read your content if you’re passionate and enthusiastic about your interests.
Secondly, optimize your website, so it’s lightweight and loads faster. That way, you can counter the impacts of ISP throttle slightly. The secret lies in cutting clutter. Avoid cramming ads and maintain one or two per page.
The overturn of net neutrality is a massive blow to publishers. But the fight to overrule the FCC shouldn’t end. As we protest, let’s up our content quality and optimize our websites for fast load times.