A Two-Tiered Internet

A American telecomms oligopolies are at it again, trying to line their already obese pockets with yet another piece of legislation that would be detrimental to the whole world other than themselves. They want to create a “two-tiered” Internet, where they can charge businesses not just for the bandwidth that they use (and charge for already), but also for the privilege of having their data carried to customers.

So customers pay the carriers to hook up their PCs and surf the web, businesses pay the carriers on their end for the bandwidth they use, yet the telecomms companies want more. Their big idea is that unless the businesss pay extra to use their “premium” routes, their packets will be sent to customers on slower, more saturated connections where nothing is guaranteed. One good analogy I read was that it’s like building two roads to every house in the country, one a well maintained smooth road that’s a pleasure to drive on, the other a dirt track. The road authority would then charge supermarkets for the privilege of letting their shoppers travel on the better roads.

What do I think of this? It sounds like nothing more than extortion to me, and I seriously doubt such a scheme could work. Unless all of the telecoms team together to put such an idea into operation (cartel, anyone?), people will start flocking to those carriers who do not do this.

Now you may think this won’t affect people outside the US, but let’s remember two things: everyone tends to copy US law for some obscure reason, and guess where most of your favourite sites are located? So if the people who run those sites don’t pay up, you’ll be paddling the web, not surfing. Fun!

One thought on “A Two-Tiered Internet

  1. It is a daft idea, like you say both the site operator and the consumer pay for the service they receive already – why should either be charged again? It’s unlikely that the extra income would go directly towards network improvements, more like go to the systems which manage the tiers.

    If this route was adopted, who’s to say where it would end – could there one day be a 10, 100, or 1000 tier internet?!

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