I was on a conference call yesterday about the Future of the Internet. There’s been unsettling changes in underlying laws which threaten network neutrality. If this trend continues the telcos and cablecos could, and indeed want to, institute a multi-tier system where only those who can afford it will get top service. This would destroy the Net as we know it. For example, great blogs like Crooks and Liars that do videocasting would not be able to afford top-tier prices and thus would be relegated to a slower-download-speed lane (if they weren’t blocked altogether.) Technology exists now, in the form of new routers, for this to happen.
Speakers on the call included Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, Mark Cooper of Consumer Federation of America, Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy and Ben Scott of Free Press. I’ll be blogging about this on a continuing basis, here’s some intro information
From their main site, FreePress.net
Until now, the Internet has been governed by the principle of “network neutrality,” which allows independent voices to try out new ideas without having to pay extra or ask for permission.
But net neutrality is in danger. Major communications companies are planning to discriminate against the online content and services that they don’t yet control. If successful, their scheme would forever alter the free flow of information and ideas in the blogosphere.
Congress is now debating the future of the Internet. Unless bloggers and their readers get involved, our elected representatives could allow the Internet to become a “walled garden” and shift the digital revolution into reverse.
Send the telcos an email and let’s mobilize the blogosphere on this.