Should Bandwith Be A Commodity?

Once upon a time, in an internet far away, commerce and thoughts were available to all, at any speed, no matter the size or depth of your pockets.  It was a fairytale of net-neutrality, and after the FCC’s statement on April 22nd it will remain just that – a fairytale. 

Bandwidth is like hogs and copper – a commodity traded between telecom’s and content providers.  Bandwidth is valuable, and those who can afford to pay for it are rewarded with faster page loads and response times.  In light of the recent struggles between old and new media, St Louis blogger and Search Engine Optimization expert Jaelithe said,

“I think that small businesses and individuals will almost certainly face a harder time getting seen/heard on the net w/o neutrality. For instance, newspapers could pay premiums to get better service from [service providers] than bloggers, to try to drive bloggers out.”

There are many people who believe that neutrality doesn’t exist now, but who, like Jaelithe, support legislation to create an online environment where the free exchange of ideas does not ebb and flow according the pocket depth.  Jason Butler, also a St. Louis blogger and a professional Web Producer, said,

“It’s been like that since the internets began, but as more people use bandwidth, telecom is concerned and wants to throttle it.”

The specific complaint being reviewed yesterday was peer-to-peer file sharing being blocked by Comcast, but as Kevin Martin, Chairman of the FCC, said yesterday, Comcast has

…conceded that the techniques currently used are not ‘content agnostic.’ 

Comcast admits to hampering the free flow of information based on the type of information being shared.  There appears to be an interesting, larger issue of free speech rights and access to information underpinning this issue.

So, what does this mean for bloggers?   You may be forced to start thinking about bandwidth as a commodity that is vital to you as a business in order to effectively reach your readers.  That means that you have to start thinking about yourself as a business too, no matter how big or small you perceive yourself to be.  Realizing that your time and intellectual property are assets that will evolve and will need to be legitimately protected, just like those of big business, will be key as the internet evolves. 

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One Response to “Should Bandwith Be A Commodity?”

  1. For those interested in file sharing, I read about torrentfreedom.com in Wired Issue 16.05this evening.

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