Paid Prioritization: Leaving Startups in the Slow Lane

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[Commentary] Internet service providers would like you to think there’s broad agreement on net neutrality because everyone agrees cable companies shouldn’t block or slow access to websites and online services. But mention the words “paid prioritization” and you’ll get a much different reaction. Paid prioritization refers to an ISP charging a website or online service for better and quicker access to users, effectively creating internet “fast lanes.” Since studies show that even small changes in web page loading times can have significant impacts on user behavior, a company that can pay to connect to their users faster will be at a huge advantage. Paid prioritization is especially harmful to startups, which are often competing against deep-pocketed incumbents. A startup with just tens of thousands of dollars in funding can’t outspend market giants for faster access to users. Small companies with less funding will be at a serious disadvantage as larger firms use paid prioritization for anti-competitive reasons. This problem will be most acutely felt by the startups who dare to compete with services owned or affiliated with ISPs, like a video streaming service that could replace cable TV.


Paid Prioritization: Leaving Startups in the Slow Lane