The Effects of a `Gated Internet` on Small Business and the Web Hosting Industry

February 1, 2007 by Jonathan McAllister

Imagine this: You have a killer idea for a new online business. You spend months developing your web site, you make it SEO (Search engine optimization) friendly, you sign up for web hosting, and you start about the rigorous task of promoting your new small business venture, but no one in your target market comes. You soon discover that many internet service providers are forbidding their customers from viewing your site, so your new internet venture and months of hard work, is now effectively "dead in the water".

The above scenario is not a reality yet, but could become many business owners, and small web hosting company`s worst nightmare. The stage was set last year when various phone and cable companies successfully reversed the FCC regulation requiring network owner`s to provide nondiscriminatory communications services, and rates.

How does this affect the web hosting industry? If internet service providers (ISP`s) are not required by law to be neutral, in the content they provide the American public, it would allow them to block sites they don`t have a partnership with, or impose a surcharge for viewing a competing company`s web site. For the hosting industry, this would mean a drastic slow down in the creation of new entrepreneurial, and personal web sites, which would in-turn mean a smaller customer base, and lost profits.

The reality of a corporation controlled internet has hit home for many Skype voice over IP (VOIP) users. Prodigy Communications LP has closed the consumer internet ports that Skype and other VOIP services use in an effort to curve bandwidth usage. The blocking of VOIP services is small scale example of the FCC`s internet deregulation. If the Net Neutrality law is not passed the general public, small business owners, and hosting providers could see a radical change in the content they send and receive to internet users.

In the 21st century internet web hosting, has exploded and has sparked a new wave of entrepreneurial success for many small business owners. Net Neutrality prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast from deciding which websites will work, based on who they are affiliated with. If something is not done, web hosting providers, and developers, will have a harder time getting their content online and making their mark on their targeted audience.

Article Copyright 2006
Jonathan McAllister
Dimension Servers LLC 

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