Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Net neutrality: what it means for your business.

At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, our business relies heavily on the speed with which crucial data can travel from the cloud to our customers. As such the issue of net neutrality is important and one we're monitoring closely. In the last part of our two-part series on net neutrality we provide arguments from both sides of the debate so you can decide where you'll stand. You can find the first part of our net neutrality series here.

In case you need a refresher net neutrality is the idea that all content is created equal and internet service providers should treat it as such. Regardless of where content originates it should be delivered with the same speed. Recently the idea of net neutrality has come under attack by some ISPs. They want to install a two-tier system where in companies essential pay tolls for different speeds.

Source: SkyPlanner
Net neutrality supporters cite the recent skirmish between Netflix and Comcast as proof positive of the dangers of the proposed system. During negotiations Comcast throttled Netflix's bandwidth. That in turn caused Netflix subscribers to complain to the company about long download times and low picture quality. After the two companies came to terms Netflix's download speeds returned to normal. The communications giant flexed its muscle and showed just how it could force content providers to submit to any payment plans. If ISPs can hold a company like Netflix hostage then much smaller companies stand little to no chance.

Conversely, those in favor of a tier-system see the issue as an extension of common practices in the realm of communications. They believe charging companies for differing internet speeds is comparable to the cable television business model. They also argue that net neutrality will also stymie innovation if companies foresee no reward for investing in research and development of new technologies. Finally, critics of net neutrality believe that the free market will control prices and any intervention by the U.S. government is price regulation. Arguments can be made that price regulation is an early step towards government control of the internet leading to eventual censorship, and history shows that that is never a good thing.

While both sides offer good talking-points it should be noted that some companies like Google and Netflix that would seem to benefit greatly from a tiered-system have actually expressed their support of net neutrality. Regardless of your stance we encourage you to stay on top of the issue. We will be doing so at SkyPlanner as we see how any changes will affect our Salesforce CRM customers in Miami and the rest of South Florida.

Sources:
1. Leung, Stuart. "What Is Net Neutrality? What Businesses Need to Know." Blog. Salesforce.com, 22 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.
2. Litan, Robert E., and Hal J. Singer. "Why Business Should Oppose Net Neutrality." Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review, 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 22 July 2014.