Monday, January 16, 2006

Internet as a Public Utility

Reading one of the posts on the blog made me think about the future of the internet in America. While I've been searching for an ISP (internet service provider) for my parents, I came to the conclusion that companies like Comcast, Time Warner, etc - are make a substantial profit at the consumers expense providing a service that is rapidly becoming essential for communication and the sharing of information.

In much the same way as the basic television airwaves (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc) are free, or maybe in the way telephone services and electricity have become utilites, the future in my honest opinion must have the internet becoming much the same. While I'm not advocating a requirement that everyone have 3Mbps (megabytes per second), I do believe that basic access to the internet for citizens should be provided for.

I've found an interesting discussion on NPR that can be heard here.

Also check out what the city of Philadelphia has attempted here.

Interestingly, rural America may be a step ahead of urban America, which has faced stiff resistance from ISP's who do not want to lose out on the substantial profits they are currently enjoying from. Read about all that here.

What will the future hold? Will wireless internet be a public utility? I certainly hope so, then I won't have to pay up 19.99 for the first month and then 39.99 for the next 12 months. Instead why not have the internet cost me just as much as I pay for my water.


Blogger Edward Lee said...

We may talk about this topic more in Class 4. Go over to Panera bread and get free Wi-Fi, or sometimes in airports, or obviously on campus, and you do get the sense of what a world would be in which internet access were "free."

9:09 AM  
Blogger Syed Ali said...

You said, "I do believe that basic access to the internet for citizens should be provided for."

If you are a student at OSU and you have a phone line in your home, you can get free dial up internet. This would probably consitute "basic access to the internet."
If you are not a student at OSU, you can still get dial up internet for as low as $9.99/mo, if not less. That is less than I pay for water every month. (Of course, I am probably getting shafted on my water bill every month.)

You aren't advocating free high speed internet, are you?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Ashik Jahan said...

I understand what you mean Syed, and I'm not advocating free high speed internet.

Essentially, I envisioned two different options.

1. Basic dialup internet is free, (like the basic TV channels are free), you would just have to pay a little more for higher speed access (like you pay more for cable).

2. The internet is a public utility, where you could pay for either your amount of use or speed of use, or both- not entirely sure how that would work but it seems plausible to me.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, dial up Internet might not be a viable option once you are accustomed to using DSL or cable modem speed. I've spent last summer away from home and tried to use an improved version of dial up Internet service(NetZero 3G). 80% of the time I was waiting for the page to load. The content of an Internet web page can so abundant that it is close to impossible to surf a website with dial up connection. It is an option but it often is useless.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:40 PM  

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