If you haven’t been keeping up with the times, a federal court just signed away net neutrality in favor of allowing broadband providers to segregate data types and provide preferential treatment as they see fit. Many experts, (myself included) are very concerned about the implications of this decision. Up until this point, the rules of the internet have basically stated that “all data is created equal” and that ISPs cannot legally give preference to one form of data over the other.
Now however, that’s all gone out the window. ISPs now have the ability to interfere with their own network and client base and give preference to whomever or whatever they deem fit. There are some very good reasons for ISPs to want this ability; however it can also be the figurative Pandora’s Box as ISPs can just as much use this for good as they can for a semi-monopolized profit.
Imagine if you will, an extra fee to be able to stream videos, or play video games online, or even access your favorite website. Basically, if they wanted too, an ISP could treat your internet service like satellite television, restricting access to certain parts of the web unless you pay for the more expensive package.
On top of that, it also paves a path for preferential treatment of websites. Imagine if a company paid an ISP to give their website faster connection speeds than their competitors. Suddenly, not only does a company have to worry about their SEO value, but how much they are willing to pay ISPs to actually let a web-surfer visit their website.
Whether or not this will actually happen is up to the ISPs, but I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we started to see certain websites or services disappear from the view of certain ISP users. As mentioned, in some cases, this is probably a good thing. But, we can only hope that it is not used in a malicious manner.
The big question for us right now, is how this will affect email marketing. We can only speculate right now, but let’s all cross our fingers that we are not affected by these changes.