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Who Stands To Profit From Net Neutrality?

Who Stands To Profit From Net Neutrality?
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Net neutrality is the concept that Internet providers must treat all webpages equally, allowing them the same broadband width despite their size. It's making waves in Congress, where a Republican majority is looking to do away with regulations protecting this concept. 

Who Could Win?

Service providers, like Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) in particular, have been hard-hit by users’ switch from traditional broadcasting to watching TV on the Internet. 

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However, the ability to make deals with websites like, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) could provide extra revenue and make their services more lucrative. Without any regulation, Internet service providers could increase the speed at which consumers can browse certain websites if those companies pay a premium. 

Who Could Lose?

Practices like that could also be detrimental to streaming services like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), where customers rely on Internet speed in order to watch TV.

Tech startups would likely be hit even harder, as a lack of cash and popularity may make it impossible to compete with already-established rivals.

Advertising revenue for major businesses like Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG), for example, may also feel the squeeze if net neutrality is eliminated. If service providers choose what types of content are displayed at fast speeds, companies may start spending more to affiliate with broadband companies.

What's Next?

Democrats and Republicans in Washington have been divided over whether or not the Internet should be regulated to protect net neutrality, but it could be a hot topic this year as cyber-security concerns are pushing lawmakers to move quickly on Internet regulation.

The latest hacking attack against Sony Corp has Congress working to find a quick solution, with new legislation expected as early as February.

Image credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia, Flickr

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