Gibson Law Group February 2018

WILL THE DECEMBER NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL HURT MY BUSINESS?

This response may seem over the top for a YouTube joke, but Amazon’s model works. Last year, Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world, surpassing Bill Gates. The key to Amazon’s success? Don’t wait for complaints. If a package is late, Amazon sends the client a new delivery date. Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet includes a Mayday Button, which encourages customers to contact around-the-clock support the moment they feel frustrated. And, by reaching out after seeing Murrell’s complaints, Amazon is no longer the company that can’t deliver a DVD rack on time. Now, to Murrell, the other panelists, and the channel’s 1.5 million subscribers, Amazon is the company that makes things right. Who wouldn’t want to do business with a company that takes care of them?

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• Intel co-founder Andy Grove, born Andras Istvan Grof (Hungary)

For every famous person listed above, there are countless thousands of others whose contributions have made America great. In 2016, all six American winners of the Nobel Prize in economics and scientific fields were immigrants. Since 2000, immigrants have been awarded 40 percent of the Nobel Prizes won by Americans in chemistry, medicine, and physics. Immigrants have started 25 percent of public U.S. companies that were backed by venture capital investors. Per the SBA, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the U.S. than non-immigrants, and 18 percent of all small-business owners in the U.S. are immigrants. According to the Census Bureau, despite making up only 16 percent of the resident population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, immigrants represent 33 percent of engineers, 27 percent of mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists, and 24 percent of physical scientists. Perhaps not surprisingly then, foreign-born inventors are credited with 75 percent of the patents issued to the top 10 patent-producing universities in the U.S. I truly believe, as Dr. King said, that hatred is driven by fear and fear is driven by ignorance. As one who has had the privilege of getting to know so many wonderful people from all over the world, it is vital to me that we celebrate the role of immigrants in this society. And to those of you who don’t feel safe in these interesting times, know that we are here to help. Just pick up the phone and call me. Even if you don’t, know that I and tens of millions of others across this country are in your corner, offering whatever support we can, recognizing everything you’ve done and continue to do for our country. –David Gibson

In December, the Federal Communications Commission, in a three- to-two vote along party lines, voted to end net neutrality. These regulations, enacted during the Obama administration, were designed to keep the internet fair and equally open to everyone. The FCC reached its decision despite public outcry, including the opposition of 18 attorneys general from across the country and millions of comments from constituents overwhelmingly against repealing net neutrality rules. Luckily, legal challenges have already begun to arrive in advance of the repeal taking effect. But what does this mean for consumers and business owners? Without the protections afforded by net neutrality, internet service providers (ISPs) will be allowed to control how online content is delivered. They can discriminate either for or against the transmission of data by methods such as blocking, halting, slowing, or increasing the delivery speed of certain paid content. Proponents of the repeal argue that net neutrality was only recently enacted into law and was an unnecessary extra regulation imposed by big government. But consumer experience from before the adoption of net neutrality suggests otherwise, as there were already many documented instances of ISPs interfering with the transmission of data for their own competitive advantage. Still, the repeal has not yet taken effect, and legal challenges may further delay any potential changes for ISPs. It may be a while before you feel the impact of the decision. When it does take effect, the biggest shifts will likely be felt by the creators and consumers of online video content. But if your business relies on cloud software or internet-based business applications, there is a distinct possibility these services may be bundled at a higher price by ISPs or blocked in favor of a competitor’s service. And, at the very least, everyone should expect to pay higher prices to access internet content.

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