Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Net Neutrality - It's The Economy, Stupid

So, I wrote my Congress Critter (Sen. Feinstein) and gave her an earful about the need for Net Neutrality. I didn't bother with any freedom of speech bullshit as I knew every other email she's been getting is on that topic. I expect she's got that message. Instead, I talked about some dollars and cents issues.

Small companies, like the ones I and the spousal unit have worked for over the last decade, are able to function because of the cost effective nature of the Internet. Software delivery has been revolutionized by broadband. No longer do you have to have shrinkwrapped products and a physical distribution channel - and that is a huge reduction in business expense. Web sites are incredible coporate assets. It is marketing, customer care, and sales all in one cost effective package. You can be a few bozos in a garage, but the web makes you look like a major coporate presence. I work for a medium sized IT service provider. They brought me on specifically to oversee revamping their web properties because they understand the positive effect good web operations have on the bottom line.

It's not just politics and the left who are endangered by a loss of neutrality. Large numbers of small and medium businesses are facing an unknown jacking up of prices if they want to remain competitive. The little software company the SO works for can't get bulk discounts on their connection rates the way the big software companies can. So, if you want to kick the shit out of the tech economy by imposing additional burdens, go right ahead. Go make it so much more cost effective to offshore our invention engine. If they can't come up with the blackmail fees (and, believe me, they are already paying up the kazoo just to get the connection point to the Internet) for ordinary delivery speeds, there's a lot of people who will simply fold up shop.

Given the slowdown in the US economy we are seeing, with the incipient bursting of the housing bubble, it's not a good idea to go sticking it to the small business sector. I emphasize tech companies because that's my industry, but this will hurt any small business with an online presence.


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