As much as I wish for the Internet to remain the open, accessible, neutral, distribute platform it has been since birth, I’m often faced with the reality that net neutrality will lose, in the grip of the powers that be. You see, the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and other powerful corporate actors in the world do not want it to be open, they want to be able to meter anything people want on the Internet, and maximize revenue, and mimic the existing power flows that exist in the regular world.
I feel like the Internet as it occurred was an accident. Something that these corporate giants didn't notice until the Internet was going full tilt, and had become part of the mainstream consciousness. Now that they have their sights set squarely on generating revenue from the Internet, things will change. Some of these evolutionary events being high profile shifts, while most of it will happen silently, put into legislation without anyone noticing, and occurring behind the boardroom doors that the public doesn't have access to.
We have the technology to work around this, we just need the will, and ultimately I believe in humans, and the power they wield in being able to work around roadblocks and challenges put in front of us. The AT&T, Verizon, and Comcasts of the world will be busy building their fast lanes, charging access on both ends, ensuring their partners content and data are visible, and making sure every possible dime is squeezed out of customers. As technologists, we need to continue building out our version of the Internet, using mesh networks, and other emerging alternative network technology.
While the motivation for large corporations will be money, and they will build networks to meet this vision, our motivation will be based upon the affinity we have with our family, friends, and professional networks. We will need to build out nodes to support our agricultural networks, music communities, and the numerous other levels in which we share affinity. We need to encourage our networks to become network nodes, and ensure our packets, bits and bytes traverse only these networks, unencumbered by the corporate traffic cops that will be spread around the globe in coming years.
Just as Tim Berners Lee, and other grandfathers, and grandmothers of the Internet did, we will have to innovate, and work hard to develop the next generation Internet. One that evades the gaze of our corporate Sauron, and stays one or two steps ahead of the corporate interests that may think they are good, but do not have the collective Internet, or world in mind.