A Cartel Masquerading as Anarchy: Internet Governance revisited

Last year I blogged on evolution of the Internet into one of the most concentrated mediums the wrold has ever known. Whether it is operating system, browser, search engine, landline or radio modem, most of us have a realistic choice of less than half a dozen suppliers for our access channel and many have none. The approach of Karoo to Internet policing as reported by the BBC illustrates the possible conseqences  

It is interesting how Ofcom it has come to assume that this is a natural state of affairs and that it should act as a setter of policy and regulator of  standards in a controlled market – rather than try harder to open up the market and protect consumers against abuse of power by dominant players – until such time as growing competition causes them to lose that dominance.

Meanwhile who is looking at the consequences of routing our communications infrastructures through a shrinking number of single points of failure?

The effect of the recent two day power cuts across in South East London on the fixed and mobile communications of the area illustrate the consequences.

In looking at Internet Governance we need to look at the overall governance of the on-line world, not just the cleansing of the domain name system. Vital though that is.

Over the past two days I have been copied with a stream of e-mails from parliamentary candidates as to the Information Society issues on which they would like EURIM to organise briefings.

Socially inclusive access to the Internet is a common thread. But think beyond notspots, narrowband and poor/unknown quality of service. Think also the new (and old) access channels that are not available unless the local dominant player(s) have them as a mainstream offering. Remember that around 30% of the population (increasing with an ageing population) cannot use a conventional screen and keyboard.

The Chinese will soon provide us with the answer. Cheap IPV6 mobiles, controlled by a mix of pictographics and voice, designed for the elderly peasants who control the village communes of rural China, will probably sweep the world, including inner city and rural England. But was that what our technophiliac enthusiasts had in mind for the future of the Internet. .