Home > Computers and Internet > Of Business Plans and Net Neutrality

Of Business Plans and Net Neutrality

Lately I’ve been pondering the odd situation of supply and demand that Internet Service Providers are in. ISP’s provide a great service which enables anyone to be able to access the world wide web. The system was designed where anyone (with only technical limitations getting in the way) could host content and anyone could access that content. So obviously ISP’s want there to be content on the web that people want to get to, making those people customers.

Hypothetical situation: there’s no longer is any content on the web that anyone wants to access. Everyone would stop paying the ISP’s. This isn’t good for them. But the business model of the internet is that people hosting websites (content) pay to have their content accessible on the internet. It’s worth it for many business websites because they end up making money from sales or by some other means, from people going to their websites. The end result is that ISP’s are getting paid at each end of this connection. I think it would be interesting if a business model evolved where ISP’s would start paying websites. That way the websites would be able to exist, and consumers would pay the ISP’s to access the website. For some reason though this isn’t the model that evolved.

I’ve been thinking about this because of the current “going on’s” with the FCC and Comcast and Congress, many commentators have mentioned that it could lead to a world were people would have basic internet service only to the ISP’s data, and a premium price for the rest of the internet. The world could reenter a phase that I’m going to call the AOL phase where for a period of time most people on the internet didn’t know there was a difference between AOL and the internet. I personally think it would be very sad if the internet fragmented like that again. But with the way the situation in the US is headed it looks like that might just happen (in the US anyway).

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