What if world-wide Web was free?

By Kristopher Genther
November 13, 2008

The Internet is a staple in the lives of nearly all Americans. Living in today’s world almost demands that you have access to the Internet. Students of all ages, from grade school all the way through graduate school rely on the Internet as a primary means of learning.

Businesses and professionals the world over rely on the Internet to facilitate the sharing of ideas and the information. Communication has been enhanced and expended beyond our wildest dreams. It is now possible to communicate instantly with anyone who has the Internet, via the Internet, virtually instantaneously. The Internet has changed the lives of people for the better so drastically in such a short period of time it is impossible to imagine a world without it.

As with all technology, the Internet is constantly evolving and improving. In a very short time span the Internet has gone from dial-up speeds to 3G broadband, enabling people to download and share massive amounts of information in very short periods of time. The one problem with all of this is that it does not come free. If you want to subscribe to the higher speeds, you can expect to pay accordingly. One of the reasons for high prices is the equipment and installation necessary to provide these services.

However, there are people who argue that the Internet should be provided free of charge. These people are of the belief that open sharing sharing of ideas through the Internet are basic rights that people should have. However, how would we ever improve our technology if there was no competition?

If we were to put the Internet in the hands of the government would it evolve and advance as fast as it has been now?

Should the government be given control of the Internet what would happen from there? The government works in a slow laborious manner, things take a great deal of time to get done, especially when it comes to technology.

The Internet is evolving so fast in today’s world that it seems like every day there is something new being produced, this, in all likelihood, would not happen if the Internet were placed under government control, as some people want. Internet service providers are always looking to stay ahead of the competition, creating a very competitive and highly advanced technology market. When the government decides to spend money on newer technology, they are essentially betting that it will take hold and make their investment worthwhile.

The Internet service providers, on the other hand, have competition and so they are not really gambling, rather they are making carefully calculated decisions in an attempt to gain the upper hand in an incredibly competitive market.

This competitiveness is also helping to bring broadband speeds to rural areas because of competition. These Internet service providers are constantly looking for ways to get ahead of the competition and the easiest way to do so it to expand the number of people subscribing to their service.

The single greatest area in which these companies can increase their sales is in rural areas where high-speed Internet is not yet readily available. If a company can find a way to provide such services to these people at low cost to both the consumer and the provider, everyone wins. If the government were to be given control of the Internet, in all likelihood there would be no incentive for them to find a quick and easy way to expand broadband service to all of the American public.

In the end it comes down to competition, more so than basic rights. The Internet is something that is not absolutely necessary, as people can still function without it, but if the Internet is left in the hands of Internet service providers then the likelihood of it making its way to everyone who wants it at the best possible price is much more likely to happen than if it were to be put in the hands of the government.

The small price people would have to pay for the most advanced Internet possible is a better bet for people everywhere.

Kristopher Genther

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