End of the Internet?

2006-01-08 2-minute read

I saw an interesting article reposted on Portside. The original article, by Jeff Chester, warns of the threat we are facing because Internet Service Providers like Verizon and the cable companies will start restricting content. For example:

Consider what would happen if an online advertisement promoting nuclear power prominently popped up on a cable broadband page, while a competing message from an environmental group was relegated to the margins. It is possible that all forms of civic and noncommercial online programming would be pushed to the end of a commercial digital queue.

My question: what do you mean consider what would happen?? This has been going on since the beginning of media. I’m not sure this is really the best way to understand the threat. Consider instead: I use optimum online at home (provided by Comcast Cable). They already decided, in the name of stopping spam, that I am not allowed to send email directly from my laptop unless I use their email server (in other words, send all email through their servers),

Similarly, in the name of spam, entire providers (like all of AOL) regularly block all email sent from an entire server. This blockage is done both by humans, but more often by dumb software that has to be fixed by humans when it blocks the wrong server (which happens regularly).

Also… Chester talks a lot about the threat of tiers of service. I will be curious to see how broad open wifi networks affect the whole broadband connection market, especially considering the new wifi standars being experimented with that extent wifi access from hundreds of feet to miles.