We are the Web

August 23, 2006

If ‘Net Neutrality!’ needs promotion, then this is one way. Spread the word song and dance.

Much of the ‘crisis’ over the the prioritising of data packets is understandably a technical concern. Both the Wikipedia entry on the subject and the cited website by Tim Wu are worth studying. The economics are focused on giant technology players gleaning preferential treatment (or not) on the Internet. What doesn’t seem to be discussed is the relationship to Information Theory.

Every network has operational concerns and external influencing obstacles ranging from terrorism to tollbooths; the Internet is unlikely to ever to be free (as in problem free) as it too takes on the same dynamics as any transport networks.

Just as with the above Internet celebrity song and dance routine, the amount of data actually required, not desired, should be the focus of improvements to the use of the Internet. Networks like efficiency and if the Inernet fails to deliver to the users then the users will find another system to adopt. From canals to railways to roads, different forms of networks bring specific results and problems. There’s no such thing as a free-way.

At present, with the rise of video distribution, this has kept the Telcoms excited – lots of data being moved around. With the attraction of VoIP, a realtime data exchange, the arguements arise over what needs priorotising. If Microsoft Office ever gets to realtime business being contucted over the communication networks (as opposed to document writing and sending), then yes – you’ll see commerce ‘bunging up the tubes.’

But this is mapping the current use of media over a system and expecting the processes of communication not to be refined. Look at txting, emoticons and rss feeds. These light data communications are the effecient forms of transfering information and they’re capable of being rich in personal expression.

Just as the transport networks in London are plagued by overcrowding, the rise of the cyclist has increased commerce where it didn’t exist before. Cyclists find a freedom in being able to go anywhere and more importantly stop anywhere – this leads to bars and cafes and shopping areas being accessed by new customers thus creating new communities.

What has been realised with the Internet is that ‘the communities are the network’ and the relationships between participants will be maintained by their own needs not regulations that support commerce that is no longer persued.

I’ll finish with the post with a documentary-in-the-making called ‘In Your Car No-one Can Hear You Scream!’, that investiagtes London’s traffic. Both the documentary and the comments posted on the YouTube page are worth reading and relating to our Internet neutrality debate.

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