6/01/2006

Network Neutrality: A Retarded Blessing in Disguise

Network Neutrality is so fundamentally stupid that it's almost not worth mentioning. The telecoms' entire argument is predicated on the notion that sites like google should have to pay for priority delivery for their packets. This is dumb because they already do pay for this in the cost of bandwidth. Unfortunately, it's difficult to legsilate against because it would mean telling individuals how they can and cannot configure their firewall. I'm not particularly interested in getting into the guts of the issue since it's already been covered to death by sites like boingboing, but I've been intrigued by the opportunity it may present. There is an easy and obvious solution to the "problem" that will satisfy both sides, and that solution is government funded development of fiber optics infrastructure. Network neutrality issues stems from the ISPs operating near capacity due to the changing habits of their customers (i.e. bandwidth heavy use like downloading movies) and their inability (or refusal) to keep up with the changing face of the internet. Adding bandwidth would lower costs and make the argument moot; why argue about bandwidth when it's cheap and available? If ISPs weren't such retarded profiteers they'd recognize that the future of computing isn't individual processor power, but bandwidth, and they'd better get on board or get left in the dust. I'd prefer a free market method of developing infrastructure that didn't rely on government (read: taxpayer) funding, but that's just not going to happen unless the telecoms get their act together, which they won't because they're telecoms. This is something I think consumers (especially the technocrati) should get behind. It would prevent the ISPs from bullshitting up the internet with their money grubbing, and the implications for free bandwidth are amazing. The future of computing is not processing power, but bandwidth.

The next step for home computing is the merging of the browser and the operating system into what is essentially a souped up web portal. Users will use services like Microsoft Live or Google's suite of applications to build personal web portals that integrate most lifestyle applications. As a result, bandwidth will become as important as other typical benchmarks such as processor speed or RAM, as large amounts of data that would normally be processed on the home computer will now be processed on computers accessed through personalized portals and streamed live back to whatever machine the user is accessing their portal from. Free bandwidth could very well push most serious computer parts manufacturers out as consumers shift to simple portable machines configured specifically for web browsing. Personal storage space will become outdated as more and more personal files are stored externally and accessed through applications such as Google Desktop. We've seen cheap computers capable of browsing the web and not much else on the market for years, but this will be the first time that they're really feasible for the savvy user. I'm really looking forward to it; imagine the possibilities made available by the combination of free bandwidth, the $100 laptop project, open source, and the next wave of user portals. It's going to be a real humdinger. I'll write more on this subject later as it's pertinent to the seminar on business technology management i'm taking.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Brad said...

4 things:

*Good call, infastructure is a much better investment than a lot of what this country spends money on.

*But you should never expect government to do anything that makes sense for the people & the future, especially not now, and forget about government properly providing a service. They'd have to run a business, which is very difficult.

*The timid ISPs may be scared because they remember the internet bubble. I forget the specifics, but companies like Global Crossing laid lots of optic cable across the oceans, expecting the bandwidth prices to increase...when in reality the increased supply reduced price, maintainence became a nightmare...and -then- the bubble burst.

*Pandora's Box- If the government provides internet service, that gives them direct access to all those people's information. Second, wouldn't ISPs fight a gov't supply of infastructure because once again prices would have to drop? I may be missing something obvious here.

6/06/2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger mingster said...

Youre right about the problems with a government run ISP. I guess I wasn't clear in the post, but the developed fiber optic infrastructure would essentially be handed over to the ISPs. It'd basically be a huge handout to the telecoms, but I think it would be worth it. Better a taxpayer funded handout that results in service improvements than service crippling alternatives like network neutrality. The fact is that their current business model isn't viable without a change, and while i'd rather have no handout at all and for them to develop the infrastucture themselves with no network neutrality I just don't think that's likely. You have to treat it like an arbirtrage situation and play both ends against the middle to maximize utility, which I think this does.

6/06/2006 5:32 PM  
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8/15/2006 9:36 AM  

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