“The early Internet was so accidental, it also was free and open in this sense. The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away.”
This is a great open letter from the co-founder of Apple Computers, Steve Wozniak … it’s dated a few years ago, yet go figure that we’re still fighting these same battles, and consequently losing them quite rapidly.
The Internet will be such a different place in the next decade if ISPs are permitted to bill multiple times for the same services like they’re gunning for, and sometimes getting away with, today. Small publishers like myself can’t afford to pay toll charges to Verizon and Comcast and AT&T and Time Warner in addition to the charges that we pay for the same thing to our own hosting providers, and if you think today’s discussions are going to stop at the big players like Netflix and Google, then you’re delusional because once you have a precedence to charge extra for access, why not?!
ISPs don’t have anything to lose if millions of smaller sites simply aren’t on the Internet anymore or not. Pay up or disappear into the slow lanes – it doesn’t really matter to their bottom line once they’re allowed to do it. Give it a few years and for every Facebook and Netflix who gets coerced into paying for subscriber access and how many small sites will start disappearing by the thousands???
Businesses like the telecoms who have built their networks on taxpayer subsidies and short-changed us at every corner are the exact reason why we need Internet regulation because if left to the free market, we’d be back in the days of AOL and CompuServe where networks are isolated and nobody plays together with anybody else and my Internet isn’t actually the same as your Internet because it’s all about dollars and cents.
The Internet is much larger than that, and needs to remain open to all.