If you haven’t reviewed the GigaOM White Paper: The Facts & Fiction of Bandwidth Caps, do it now.
As of Wednesday this week, Comcast, the largest provider of broadband and DSL for Internet access in the United States is going to be restricting your data transfer levels to 250 gigabytes a month. According to Om Malik:
With this move, the cable company will become the symbol of a new Internet era, one that is both monitored and metered. It is an era that threatens to limit innovation and to a large extent, the possibilities for new startups.
Many bloggers are part of online businesses and startups as well as suppliers of video, podcasts, and downloadable and uploaded files across the web. As web designs and WordPress Themes become more graphic and code dependent, increasing our bandwidth access levels, these limits impinge upon that grown and that access.
While WordPress Themes, Plugins, and Widgets account for very small levels of data transfer, what about a new WordPress user who wants to download and experiment with a lot of Themes and Plugins? Downloading more than a gig or two of WordPress stuff is rare, but if you add that to their other file downloads, like software, instant messaging, IRC, email, flickr, YouTube, podcasts, music, news, television, VoIP, and all the information and data that enters our world through our computers – those numbers add up fast.
I just moved from a satellite connection with a 17 gig limit. We hit the limit all the time and we weren’t downloading music or shows. I didn’t even download podcasts until I went on a trip. There were three of us using the web for our work. Download a few software programs, update your computer’s operating system, test out some Plugins, and it all adds up fast.
According to the White Paper, “today’s power users are tomorrow’s average users” with a predication that by 2012 we will be paying about $215 a month for Internet data access. Malik and others are fighting back with words in hopes of changing this “walled garden” limitation. I hope you join us in spreading the word.
The Web Must Be Free
The timing of this announcement comes the same time as the announcement of the new World Wide Web Foundation was announced. In the welcome statement, the founders, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, stated:
The World Wide Web Foundation seeks to advance One Web that is free and open, to expand the Web’s capability and robustness, and to extend the Web’s benefits to all people on the planet. The Web Foundation brings together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, and experts in many fields to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale.
One of the focuses of the World Wide Web foundation is to investigate, in its Web for Society program, how to lower the barriers of accessing the Web for people who are not able, today, to find accessible and usable information.
While I’m totally in favor and support breaking down communication and language barriers, as well as all social, cultural, and technological barriers, the biggest barrier we have to fight is greed.
It’s getting harder and harder to find free access to the web. Someone has to pay. With belts tightening around the world, will Internet access be only for the rich?
The Internet was originally started and built on lines abandoned by the phone companies, the same companies who struggled to find ways of charging for that access after they realized they were missing out on the financial possibilities of connecting via the Internet and web. They have been looking under every rock to find ways of making money off this “web thing” ever since.
Yes, we must pay for the continued growth and access to the web, but restricting bandwidth and data transfer hurts an economy already showing the flashing red danger signal.
Be warned, be aware, and let Comcast and others know that you do not want this. Fight back with your voice. Spread the word.
I remember when Arthur C. Clarke predicted that long distance telephone calls would be free by the end of the century. I thought it odd since he was a very intelligent man and he lived in the same world that I did, one where corporate greed controls everything. I couldn’t see such a thing as being possible, but with the web, it became possible. Will that freedom continue or will corporate greed continue to slip into our pockets?
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