The potential perils of pay-per-use web access

Today I feel like getting out some placards, flying across the pond and picketing the streets of Washington, D.C. The US government could potentially lift the ban which currently prevents greedy ISPs from charging people for the amount of bandwidth they use, instead of a flat fee. Here’s my somewhat disgruntled post about it from the NESTA blog, which highlights the serious implications this could have on the way we live & work online:

Not only is this a backward step for consumers (remember dial-up?), this clearly has societal implications, allowing only the moneyed classes to readily access high-bandwidth content such as video, or to stay online for long periods in Second Life or MMORPGs. But there’s so much more at stake than missing out on YouTube or online games. The entire economy of the internet would change. Would you do your banking, grocery shopping or check-in for flights online if you had to pay extra to do so?

The rise of cheap broadband also opened the door to exponential growth in online social networks and collaborative tools such as Basecamp and Central Desktop, not to mention online meeting tools and VOIP. There are millions of people online every day, collaborating on projects and ideas, sharing knowledge in ways that weren’t possible before, and just plain getting things done… Taxation such as that being debated could kill these kinds of online collaboration.

Read the full post & comment here on the NESTA blog >>

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About the Author:

I work with people and businesses to help them make the most of the dizzying array of online communication tools, techniques and practices. I've been working in digital for the last 15+ years, and I absolutely love it.

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