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Web-based Start Ups may be stymied by FCC uncertainty on Open Internet

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home office stock

I am excited about the future and about being able to exploit the internet economy and build a business from scratch. I am optimistic and doubly elated that digital and online publishing presents wonderful opportunities for people like me who come from underrepresented and traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds.

A challenge for up and comers has always been funding. For people building their dreams in new media and in a way that traditional funding sources like Banks are still uncomfortable with, curating various platforms for funding is always a tough haul.

Compounding this difficulty is the fact that when you are a new enterprising business making your living online, there are only but so many ways to monetize your presence. It can be done effectively if properly planned and executed. With the assistance of third party funding from an angel or venture capitalist, a small blog can turn into a mini media conglomerate sort of like the one I’m trying to build.

You can hire a small staff, engage third party search engine optimizers, buy access to content promotion platforms, paid for sponsored content, acquire an affiliate manager and a publicist. You can revamp your sites, secure more sophisticated content delivery network services and upgrade your web securities. The possibilities are numerous.

Of course, getting financing is easy to get if you are already part of an entrenched media company and are a spin-off and have proven your success. Notwithstanding, I’ve been monitoring trends and happily took note of the fact the funding market has been getting favorable for other less well-known sites that are without  a celebrity cache.

Then came last week’s announcement from FCC chair Tom Wheeler who decided to flip the script on the path he was traveling on Open Internet. Wheeler announce plans to impose Title II regulation of the Telecommunications Act which was created to govern monopoly landline telecommunications and certainly nothing as dynamic and rapidly changing as the Internet.

I’ve been a fervent advocate of letting rising online and Internet businesses get opportunities to succeed in the same environment as their predecessors like Google and Amazon.com.

But with the announcement to alter an existing thriving and well-oiled and working machine, I am perplexed and disappointed that we’ll be forced into a new paradigm.

Just like the, we are guaranteed litigation because there is no way the various interests who feel they may be detrimented by this decision will not sue the agency. The absence of finality and abundance of certainty will likely scare away investors from considering nascent and rising web-based start ups.

It’s easy to discuss these wants in the abstract but there are so many nuanced variations and factors that will make it all very challenging to circumnavigate and place a cloud over the industry.

I did take note that the cable and telecom stocks rose after Wheeler’s announcement because he claimed there will be no rate-regulation, but forbearance is still not finality.

Newer biz need finality to court funders.

Indeed, there is a distinction between established and entrenched infrastructure-base businesses and web-based ones that are still too nascent in the eyes of funders.

It’s still a risky market and it isn’t clear that all of the back and forth between FCC, the White House and Congress will make it a more attractive sector for investors to explore.

We are back to square one…

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