Friday, July 25, 2008

Internet in the corporate crosshairs

By Libby Spencer

I see Carol already flagged this story in an earlier post but I want to highlight it more fully because it's that important. Via Avedon some troubling news from Canada. At ICH, a report on a proposed test run of de-neutralizing the intertubes in the name of corporate profit.

In the upcoming weeks watch for a report in Time Magazine that will attempt to smooth over the rough edges of a diabolical plot by Bell Canada and Telus, to begin charging per site fees on most Internet sites. The plan is to convert the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and then pay to visit sites beyond a cutoff point.

So in other words, just like cable, you pay for a package with predetermined channels and if you want to visit something not listed, it's a pay for view extra. I don't know about you, but I might visit over a hundred sites in any given day when I'm looking for information. I would be priced out in matter of hours. Not to mention, return visits to sites I visit daily for updates. And then there's the other side of the equation.

And this is where the Internet (free) as we know it will suffer almost immediate, economic strangulation. Thousands and thousands of Internet sites will not be part of the package so users will have to pay extra to visit those sites! ...

There are so many other implications as a result of these changes, far too many to elaborate on here. Be aware that we will all lose our privacy because all websites will be tracked as part of the billing procedure, and we will be literally cut off from 90% of the information that we can access today. The little guys on the Net will fall likes flies; Bloggers and small website operators will die a quick death because people will not pay to go to their sites and read their pages.

And what about people who conduct business through the internets? Small entrepreneurs would be out of business. Comparison shopping could cost more than you save. In short, everything that is good about the internet would be gone. This is why we have to fight now to preserve neutrality.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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