Long Island tech companies and entrepreneurs could benefit greatly from the new Internet regulations adopted recently by the Federal Communications Commission.

The federal agency’s ruling imposes “net neutrality” on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which means they can no longer block or slow traffic to the websites of companies that anger them or refuse to pay an extra fee. This regulation can help many local start-ups and content providers because they often don’t have extra funds when starting their businesses to pay the telecomm companies for preferential treatment. Previously, content providers such as Netflix paid ISPs extra money to ensure that their videos downloaded faster than other companies’ videos. Some websites that didn’t pay extra saw their video downloading speeds slowed down considerably.

Additionally, other potential benefits will accrue under the new regulations. For example, ISPs will now be regulated as a public utility, thus the FCC could theoretically require telecomm giants such as Time Warner to open their lines to competing ISPs. If that happens, local start-ups who want to get in on the growing demand for Internet service would be able to use existing cable and phone wires to offer a competing service. This development would not only create opportunities for new ISPs but the resulting competition could lower prices and improve service for all businesses using the Internet. At the moment, a handful of big corporations control Internet access for most of America, resulting in Internet service that is slower and more expensive than that offered in many other countries.

Reliable, affordable Internet access is essential for doing business these days. The FCC’s new policies help ensure that entrepreneurs and small businesses will be treated fairly and that they can better compete with the big corporations.

Mark Grabowski is a lawyer who teaches Internet law at Adelphi University. For more info, visit markgrabowski.com.

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