Unless the recent findings about the massive fraudulent comments sent to the FCC result in delaying the vote on Net Neutrality, it is likely that December 14 will be the beginning of the end of Net Neutrality in the USA.
The main concern with lack of net neutrality is of different speed lanes and the effect it will have on startups that do not have the resource to pay for faster lanes. A study, published in September 2016, by Double Click, a Google subsidiary which develops and provides Internet ad serving services, found that slow loading websites frustrate users and this had a negative impact on the content provider. The study showed that websites which load in 5 seconds against 19 seconds witnessed 25% higher ad views, 70% longer average sessions and 35% lower bounce rates. So content providers who are on slower lanes will miss out to rivals who can afford to pay for the faster lanes. Net neutrality provides a level-playing field to content providers and startups.
Or, as defined by Educause:
“Net neutrality” is the term used to describe the concept of keeping the Internet open to all lawful content, information, applications, and equipment. There is increasing concern that the owners of the local broadband connections (usually either the cable or telephone company) may block or discriminate against certain Internet users or applications in order to give an advantage to their own services. While the owners of the local network have a legitimate right to manage traffic on their network to prevent congestion, viruses, and so forth, network owners should not be able to block or degrade traffic based on the identity of the user or the type of application solely to favor their interests.
The boom in localization market growth in the USA is largely linked with online content, and is likely to be directly affected by the end of Net Neutrality, as content providers will have to decide on whether to allocate their online budget to increase their online speed or to localize content.
In view of the prohibitive penalty in terms of viewers retention when upload speed is slowed down, it is likely their priority will go to maintain broadband speed rather than add more languages.
Or maybe, if it matches their business model, they will opt for expanding their outreach towards Europe and other territories that maintain Net Neutrality.
At this stage, it is impossible to properly evaluate how the decision likely to be taken on December 14 will impact the localization market, but if the FCC cancels Net Neutrality, the effects will certainly be felt one way or another in the following months and years.
One of the most talked about potential impact of the end of Net Neutrality is on video streaming speed, and video streaming services, and, as the rise of video consumption has been touted as a major growth engine for localization services in the near future, the localization industry would do well to keep an eye on the domino effect of the upcoming change of legislation.