25 August 2008

US voters will decide our online future

There may not be much distance between US presidential candidates Obama & McLean in the polls but there is a wide blue ocean of open water between their policies on the Internet.

It's mostly about 'net neutrality' - a huge talking point in the geekosphere. I'll summarise it as snappily as I can: the big telcos who carry all this digital traffic on their wires would like to charge not purely by volume but by content too, offering a 2-speed highway with a premium service for big corporations and ordinary speeds/bandwidths to everything else.

McLean says (roughly) it should all be left up to the marketplace. ("an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent against unfair practices").

Obama says he will prevent the telcos from creating"a two-tier Internet in which websites with the best relationships with network providers can get the fastest access to consumers".

Government manderins and corporate fat cats have been cursing the gods since that fateful day in 1989 when an academic published his ideas for a World Wide Web. "Why couldn't it have been a commercial visionary? One of us!"

This could be their chance to turn the Internet from an open-access social network to a commercial one.

...pity we don't all get a vote

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