Monday, February 06, 2006

The Internet's future

I've written several times (most recent -- go to bottom of post) that I see a looming debate about information policy in this country -- a debate that will fundamentally affect all of us and might well end up setting how much minimum information we are entitlted to for free. It is a debate that so far I have seen few journalism organiztions express an interest in, and yet one that could change their business forever.

Now, Jeff Chester writes in The Nation:

The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

It is well worth reading.

Here is what Comcast CEO Brian Roberts had to say about such things (Via Internet Stock Blog, pointer from Paid Content)

Let me answer the question on net neutrality, if I might. We continue to believe that proponents of the so-called net neutrality are pursuing a solution in search of a problem. Neither Comcast nor any other major cable operator has ever blocked access to my knowledge of customers to any websites, and the competitive market, in fact there are multiple ways to access broadband and the high speed internet, and the internet in general, continues to be the ultimate governor of conduct in this context. But we do also recognize and try to advocate for our right as a network manager, to manage the network, to make sure that the customer experience does not get degraded, due to outside influences like spam and other things. And finally, we have not had any discussions with content providers with respect to any charges directly from such providers, and that’s an area that at this time, that’s where we’re at. So we don’t believe that this is the right policy. I don’t see it at the moment, having a lot of, it is a regulation of the internet, and we’re certainly going to try to fight anything like that.


At 2/6/06, 1:05 PM, Blogger chris said...

Can't really blame the cable companies, they're trying to fight back. But they're losing.

This latest move is like standing in the middle of the Niagra falls and trying to stop the water flowing down. The most likely result is that you'll drown.

At 2/6/06, 1:56 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Yes, but I'd feel a lot more sanguine had I not read recently where oour "highspeed" speeds are significantly slower than other parts of the world at least in part the result of our lack of competition.


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