[HOT] – Rollback of Net Neutrality Has Small Businesses Worried

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David Callicott must be online to run his small business, GoodLight Natural Candles in San Francisco.

Dozens of orders from wholesale customers such as Whole Foods and Bath & Beyond Bed are relayed online each day to order processing warehouses, which send Mr. Callicott's paraffin-free candles. The GoodLight website accounts for 15% of its sales, which could reach $ 1.5 million this year; the Amazon e-commerce giant accounts for 10% more. And many of the company's business documents are stored in cloud-based datacenters.

But the costs of doing business on the Internet could be about to increase.

The Communications Commission would cancel the so-called network neutrality rules that prohibit high-speed Internet service providers from adjusting the speed of delivery of websites and imposing additional charges on customers.

Without these regulations, GoodLight and other small businesses are fearing a level digital playground to compete with industry giants with deep pockets that could pay for having a length of time. 39, advance online.

"For such an analog product, we rely heavily on the digital world and the Internet." Mr. Callicott, who helped found the company almost eight years ago, now works with three other full-time employees. "Internet, speed, our whole business revolves around that."

The regulations, established by the FCC in 2015, have heavyweights on both sides of the debate Internet giants like Google and Amazon say net neutrality preserves freedom of expression Telecommunications titans like AT & T and Verizon warn that existing rules are putting a damper on the free market. In a blog post on Tuesday, Comcast CEO David N. Watson wrote that his company "does not block, limit, or discriminate against legal content."

Internet services say that the proposal would lead to u do best variety of services for online customers and more innovation in the industry.

For small businesses, dismantling could fundamentally change the way they do business and if they do. Many started online or turned to e-commerce to expand their thin margins.

"Things are already pretty tough as it is for a small business," said Mr. Callicott. "You're busy enough to just run your business, try to grow and succeed or just stay alive, that you do not have the resources or the time to think about how to get ready for something like that. "

In the United States, 99.7% of all businesses have fewer than 500 employees, according to government statistics. Of these, nearly 80%, or more than 23 million businesses, are one-man businesses.

More than a quarter of small businesses said they planned to expand their e-commerce platforms in 2017, Small Business Association

In August, the American Sustainable Business Council and other small business groups have issued an open letter to the FCC on behalf of more than 500 small businesses in the country. Weakening or undoing the protections of internet neutrality would be "disastrous" for US companies, according to the letter.

"The open internet has allowed us to rely on a free market where each of us has the chance to", wrote the groups

. Many entrepreneurs feared that without Net neutrality provisions, internet service providers are exercising their increased power of control over how businesses manage to control their affairs. reach consumers.

Consumers in line is a demanding crowd, research by a Google subsidiary suggested that visitors who wait more than 3 seconds to load a mobile site will abandon their search 53% of the time.

FCC critics the proposal, Internet service providers could manipulate traffic speeds to establish a kind of "fast lane" or block or block access to certain sites, charging fees in. to lift the restrictions. Small businesses would struggle to pay, which would disadvantage them commercially, they say

Independent contractors like Clayton Cowles, who works in upstate New York, could also be vulnerable. Cowles draws text for comic book publishers, including Marvel, DC and Image, and has worked on Batman, Star Wars and other popular series.

Every month he pays Spectrum, his internet service provider, $ 90.70 for the company. Most powerful service package, which is supposed to allow him to send huge digital documents in seconds. Instead, his records sometimes take up to 15 minutes to be delivered, he said.

Spectrum's most deeply deregulated is one of his "biggest fears," he said. monopoly, "he said. "I'm stuck with them."

Changes in the regulation of net neutrality could also affect freelancers, franchisees and temporary workers who make their living doing odd jobs in the so-called concert economy. Nearly a quarter of American adults made money last year using digital platforms to take a job or task, sell something online or rent their properties using a website. house sharing like Airbnb.

A fee-based Internet system could also pose a problem for Codecademy, an educational company founded in 2011. Its services include courses on topics related to technology such as data analysis, design of websites and coding language.

But Zach Sims, general manager of the company, said the students, many of whom are budding entrepreneurs, would suffer the most.

"They will perceive this as an unfair playground". 'Every technology is facing an obstacle, the barrier to entry is to know what technology is and how to implement it, but it adds another level of confusion, which makes participation even more difficult for normal businesses. "

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