Blow to Net Neutrality Could Pass Expenses to Advertisers

Marketers already pay to have their ads on the web, but is the next step guaranteeing that the bandwidth bill gets paid for?

The fact is that HD video and other data-intensive content are clogging up the Internet, and broadband providers don’t want to foot the entire bill themselves. They would rather pass on as much of the damage as possible to users or advertisers. To prevent this, the Federal Communications Commission (or FCC) came up with the idea of net neutrality, which would make ISPs regard every form of online data equally.

An appellate court recently dealt net neutrality a blow, however, when they ruled in favor of Verizon® over the FCC. The verdict was that the FCC can’t tell Verizon (or by extension, any other ISP) what to do when it comes to data-intensive content. For example, if Verizon wants to make a site load slower or block sites that they think include “illegal content,” then there’s nothing the FCC can do to make Verizon obey the net neutrality principle. Unfortunately, the principle apparently doesn’t have enough legislation to back it up.

So what is the alternative to net neutrality? AT&T® is already allowing advertisers a way around bandwidth issues. The advertising company can pay for the bandwidth needed for a data-intensive ad so consumers don’t need to use up their precious data allowance on the specific application.

On the other side of the coin are increased subscription fees and the potential for more sites to charge a monthly subscription. The monies would then get passed on to ISPs to keep data transfer lanes open despite heavier data usage. In effect, data-heavy sites would be paying ISPs an online “land tax.”

Ultimately, while much of this may never come to pass, the recent court ruling has caused concerns such as these to arise for consumers and marketers alike.