The question therefore becomes – is it time we look beyond the ‘internet’ as it exists, to newer models of communication? The ‘models’ I refer to here are not absolutely novel – nothing under the sun is. These models still rely on the TCP/IP protocol, still use parts of the ‘internet’, still use the network laid down for it – learn from it, and improve it. These models, in fact, bring to mind the original image that was created of the internet, so much so that we can actually call these models of communication the legacies of the ideas of the ‘original internet’, challenging the dominance of the ‘neo-internet’. So is it time we focus on these models, develop them, and mark the decline of the ‘neo-internet’? Continue reading Meet the New Internet, Same as the Old, Old Internet – except its not the Internet (Part III – the Future of Networks)
I’ll start with a side-note. In public debate, somehow, Network Neutrality ends up being represented as an absolutist concept, as “ISPs should perform no discrimination between the data travelling on their networks”. Now, as welcome an ideal as that is, the problem is that that is not practically possible, mostly because of Quality of Service (‘QoS’) concerns. This, of course, does not mean that Network Neutrality should not exist – there exist multiple proposals that reconcile these concerns with Network Neutrality, an example of the same being the application-agnostic discrimination, put forth by Barbara van Schewick.
Now, for the core argument, the concerns are a bit technical. A corollary of the Schumpeterian theory is that each and every innovation that breaks a previous monopoly ends up itself being monopolised in the long run. This is what happened with the telephone, the radio, the television, and cinema. This has not technically happened with the Internet (I elaborate on the “technically” below) in some places, an exception that Network Neutrality is credited with. Continue reading Meet the New Internet, Same as the Old, Old Internet – except its not the Internet you know (Part II – The Tangled Wires)