jueves, septiembre 11, 2008
The Internet in Intensive Care
The Internet in Intensive Care
Some players want to violate net neutrality
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
Published 2008-09-11 11:40 (KST)
In the late 1960s, the US Defense Department began the Internet. The network quickly grew to include scientists and researchers across the country and schools, businesses, libraries and individuals around the world.
The Internet consists of thousands of networks connected together that exchange information, but no one organization owns or controls the Internet. There is no government regulation and no one censors the information made available.
Is the Internet exhausted? This is not a naive question, because that is what some experts say. The main lobbyist for AT&T, James Cicconi, recently warned there is the possibility that the Internet will reach the "limit of its physical capacity in 2010."
Cicconi and others argue that this justifies charging a premium to very active users, and does not want new laws to prevent AT&T from doing this.
Service providers are interested in creating the impression that the capacity of the Internet is a scarce and expensive resource. Richard N. Clarke, an executive of AT&T, argued that the cost of unlimited Internet services to some residences may reach US$416 per month and to efficiently manage their networks they need to monitor what their customers are doing and even control overuse or impose surcharges to those users.
With all traffic on the Internet remaining more or less like it was two years ago, the previous claim seems very exaggerated. Traffic grows each year by 35 percent to 50 percent as demonstrated by a study of the Minnesota University and an investigation of Cisco Systems, and Andrew Odlyzko pointed out that there are no signs that there is an explosion in Internet use. But Cicconi has predicted that traffic will grow five times more until the year 2015.
The truth is that technological advances have enabled a massive increase in the capacity of data networks. But with the prices in the fall of fiber optic cables and routers that characterize the Internet, the predicted lack of capacity seems unlikely in the next two years.
If the major providers are exaggerating, their opponents are equally exaggerating, said an emphatic Stephen H. Wildstrom of BusinessWeek.
Consider the following link on this matter: http://www.savetheinternet.com
This blog warns that communications companies want to tax content providers to ensure fast transmission of data.
These companies are said to want favoritism for their own search engines, Internet telephony and video transmissions, but on the condition that their competitors are blocked.
This blog also maintains that: "Big phone and cable companies are trying to eliminate net neutrality, the principle that protects our ability go where we want and do what we choose online."
"More than 1.5 million SavetheInternet.com supporters are fighting to keep the Internet free and open for everyone."
Putting filters on the Internet is another of the wishes of some authoritarian politicians, such as the new Venezuelan Communications Law, in addition to controls in China and Cuba.
The Internet is a powerful means of communication and some players are afraid because the Internet has an impact on their own business interests.
With the emergence of new technology like Web 2.0, there is greater interaction between actors and the possibilities for comment and participation as citizen reporters.
We must remember that freedom of the Internet is integral to an uncolored research environment where everyone is allowed to voice their point of view and ideas without censorship.
At the second international seminar on journalism online in Brazil, guests discussed the use of the Internet in election campaigns, the importance of journalistic generated content and social networks in search of audiences through blogs and felt that the Internet is a means of neutral communication, which is so important.
We will have to pay very close attention to this issue, and in the up-coming presidential election, net neutrality is essential to free speech, equal opportunity and economic innovation.
As noted by one participant at savetheinternet.com: "This fundamental change would end the open Internet as we know it. It would damage my ability to connect with others, share information and participate in our 21st century democracy and economy".