Having an even online playing field is an ongoing topic of conversation – okay, more like fierce debate – when it comes to content companies paying for preferential treatment.
While paying for preferential treatment is common in many practices, in the online world it holds the potential for completely shutting out startups because they can’t compete with the major players that currently dominate the market. Consequently, the FCC has been looking at net neutrality in an effort to set rules that will help prevent discrimination.
While the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules have not yet been issued, the Wall Street Journal reported that they are planning on creating a two-tiered system designed to “better serve the market.” This announcement came as quite a shock to many, as it seems counterintuitive to net neutrality. Apparently “commercially reasonable” terms can be negotiated to provide paid for preferential treatment.
While the current major players are celebrating the official announcement of this two-tiered system, many young companies and startups are less than pleased. However, not all major players are happy either. The concern is that if today’s major players are able to purchase preferential treatment, it will decrease the likelihood of new and innovative players being able to make their way to the forefront.
Representatives for Netflix, for example, recently commented that this impending move will create “very weak” net neutrality. In fact, the two-tiered system will actually make it more challenging for new players to achieve online success because the playing field is far from even.
What are your two cents on this increasingly controversial topic? Please weigh in with your thoughts or comments below.