A Few Things Ill Considered

End of the Internet?

I have not done any checking on this (hey, what are blogs for?) but it is definately plausible and if true very important. It is also potentially avoidable.

What they are saying, if you don’t want to watch, is that they have some inside information on major ISP’s plans to radically alter the way the internet is accessed. In short, by 2012, if this comes to fruition, ISP’s will not offer open internet access, rather you will subsrcibe to packages of popular websites and pay extra for any other sites you want to visit.

Net neutrality is not an unfamiliar issue for most of you out there I am sure, but this is really taken to the extreme. Let’s face it, it is clearly a logical extreme if you are interested in profiting from and controling this medium, but let’s make sure it does not come to pass.

(PS. I saw this but ignored it in a UTube most popular feed I glance through (come on, how often do these videos lead with cleavage?), but I decided to take it seriously because I saw it on Juan Cole’s excellent blog, Informed Comment.

Comments

  1. #1 NoAstronomer
    June 10, 2008

    To be honest, while this is technically feasible, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Even the list of “popular” websites is just too large for the ISP’s to maintain. Plus it’s the “popular” sites that are giving the ISPs fits right now with streaming video etc.

    What *is* likely to happen is that ISP’s will begin placing limits on bandwidth and overall volume, and they will start offering pricing packages accordingly.

  2. #2 bardi
    June 10, 2008

    I agree. At least one isp is preparing test runs to try some sort of meter process much as with utilities. At least here in North America (and I suspect in most ‘democratic’ countries) ISPS are neither for or against netneutrality. What they are in favour of is making more money, pure and simple.

  3. #3 coby
    June 10, 2008

    IIRC, AOL tried something like this before, offering “regular” access packages to their own little AOL-only web and if you wanted you could pay more for access to the actual internet, (many years ago).

    While it is true that the list of popular sites is huge this doesn’t stop it from working. There would be “web neighbourhoods”, large groups of affiliated sites, etc. So while similar to cable packages in the pricing model, the actual packages would have hundreds to thousands of available domains rather than dozens to hundreds like cable packages. Perhaps access would even be controled by server identification protocols to allow a shadow of the dynamicism of the current web. In such a scenario your average web surfer might not even feel the difference.

    WRT what ISP’s want, and Net Neutrality in general, don’t forget that the large ISP’s are sibling companies with other communication corporations. So, for example here in Canada, Telus (a major phone service provider) is also a major ISP for broadband. While Telu the ISP might be happy with simple billing for data volume, Telus the phone provider will not be happy if that data is going through Skype and competing with them.

    This is what the real battle is about. That and the socio-political control that comes with controling access to information.

  4. #4 decrepitoldfool
    June 10, 2008

    I have no problem with metering bandwidth but a caste system for providers would be a disaster. It would certainly be in the interest of governments to shut down those pesky bloggers and this would be a “free-market” way to do just that.

  5. #5 The Ridger
    June 10, 2008

    Karl Weber talked about this for tv a while back – among his other well-thought-out objections was this: “To me there is something fascistic about the idea that we are supposed to know in advance everything we want to experience–and that we should deliberately wall ourselves off from everything else, lest we ever (horrors!) discover something unexpected or new.”

  6. #6 TheNerd
    June 11, 2008

    What I see happening is a hybrid of what has already been mentioned. ISPs will have various “bandwith” pricings, but the sites they wish to endorse will be free from the bandwith restriction. So if, for example, Comcast wanted to endorse YouTube, they would have unlimited YouTube bandwith. When forced between choosing slower service for another site and speedy service for YouTube, which do you think most people will pick?

  7. #7 Elise
    June 11, 2008

    “What *is* likely to happen is that ISP’s will begin placing limits on bandwidth and overall volume, and they will start offering pricing packages accordingly.”

    Begin? Gosh the world is a wonderful place. I had absolutely no idea until this moment that not al ISPs did this.

    Here in Australia the ISPs have a usage limit. Some ISPs will charge you extra for excess usage but most these days will just throttle your speed if you go over a certain limit until your usage resets. It makes it tricky, sometimes, to choose a plan what with choices of different speeds and peak-usage-quota and off-peak-usage-quota and shaping and un-metred sites and minimum-terms and so on and so forth. I guess, without even thinking about it, I assumed that that was pretty much the way it was.

  8. #8 llewelly
    June 18, 2008

    What *is* likely to happen is that ISP’s will begin placing limits on bandwidth and overall volume, and they will start offering pricing packages accordingly.

    All or nearly all ISPs already have per-month limits on how much you can download, which can be increased if you are willing to pay more. Usually these limits can be found in the small print.

  9. #9 Richard Eis
    July 2, 2008

    I can certainly see them trying to apply some kind of tv package deal to the internet, I just don’t see why people would jump at that system after having so much freedom up to this point.

  10. #10 jules
    July 3, 2008

    i wouldn’t take those people to seriously :

    they’re Belgians (just like me) and have a long history of attention-whoring, resulting in p.ex. the polical party Nee (No) with as politcal program : we will vote No to every issue. To promote themself, leading lady Tanja was offering 40.000 blowjobs …

    A later thing they did was making a suicide blog in which Tanja was going to kill herself.

    This thing just fits in their behavior.