Start-up companies fear for future after net neutrality ends

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Starting today, net neutrality is dead. The Federal Communications Commission voted in December of last year in favor of the Restoring Internet Freedom order. But now, some local tech start-up companies fear it could mean trouble for their businesses.

Chris Reade with LookFar, a startup studio in New Orleans, said repealing net neutrality is all but a death sentence for the kinds of companies he works with.

"Starting a company is hard enough. To try and start a company and play on an uneven playing field against the larger players - that's even a greater disincentive for startups to happen," said Reade.

One way you can think of net neutrality are the fast lanes and slow lanes of a highway. Repealing net neutrality means you might have to pay more to travel in the fast lane, leaving the rest to travel in the slow lane.

It's hard to pinpoint the exact effects that will come from repealing net neutrality, because it's never happened before. The effects likely won't be noticed overnight. But Reade said long term, it won't be good for the tech companies of the future.

"There's no argument there will be more start-ups because of this. There are only arguments there will be less," he said.

Nam Nguyen, CEO of C3 Security, said major internet service providers may not immediately exercise their rights to charge or limit your internet access, but they now have the power to do so.

"Without net neutrality, what could happen is they could limit - the internet service provider could limit the speed to a certain service or application you're trying to use," said Nguyen.

Whether you're the customer or a tech company trying to break the new big idea, the internet has now changed.

"You would not want unequal access on the highway or your telephone lines, why would you want that for internet access? Why would you want large companies to tell you what you can and cannot see and how fast you can get it?" said Reade.

There is a motion in the United States House of Representatives to reinstate net neutrality rules, but those in favor of repealing net neutrality say it will increase innovation and competition among internet service providers.

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