Be Informed As Change Is Afoot
"Despite the constant reminders to the contrary, we tend to live our lives as if everything basically remains as it has always been."
On my morning walks, I've been listening to a course via my iPod, The Future of the Internet, coordinated by Ramesh Johari, from Stanford's iTunes University.
You can listen to the course lectures on iTunes at this link. You can visit the course web site at this link. I highly recommend it to every educator as a great place to get started building some understanding of what has become such an essential part of our professional and personal lifestyles--the internet! I was naive to assume it would always be as it is today! Below is the course description from the website:
The Internet today has evolved a long way from its humble beginnings as a federally funded research project. As a society, we find ourselves increasingly dependent on the Internet for our daily routine; and yet, the future of the Internet remains a matter of vigorous political, economic, and academic debate. This debate centers around ownership: who will own the infrastructure, and who will own the content that the network delivers? Unfortunately, most of this debate does not involve a substantive discussion of the “architecture” of the network, or the role that architectural design will play in shaping the ownership of the future global network.
This course provides a non-technical introduction to the architecture of the Internet, present and future. Students will be taken on a tour through the inner workings of the network, with a view toward how these details inform the current debate about “network neutrality” and the ownership of the future Internet.
I had no idea how ignorant I was (am) about what the internet actually is and how it came to be. I am even more perplexed by the policy issues swirling around where it should go from here. I very naively had some vacuous notion that the internet was so completely democratized: everything freely available to everyone and everyone freely sharing their voice in this global theater. Even more foolishly, I assumed the internet would always remain as it is only with faster access and transmission protocols and voluminously expanding content.
I guess when so much money is at stake, the stakes are very high, and the stake holders want more say over how the network is used, built out, and monetized. The article from Wired Magazine excerpted below turned on a yellow light for me. After reading the article below, listen to the course above to get some sense of how complex and important these issues are.
Feds OK Fee for Priority Web Traffic
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department on Thursday said Internet service providers should be allowed to charge a fee for priority Web traffic.
The agency told the Federal Communications Commission, which is reviewing high-speed Internet practices, that it is opposed to "Net neutrality," the principle that all Internet sites should be equally accessible to any Web user.
Several phone and cable companies, such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., have previously said they want the option to charge some users more money for loading certain content or Web sites faster than others.
The Justice Department said imposing a Net neutrality regulation could hamper development of the Internet and prevent service providers from upgrading or expanding their networks. It could also shift the "entire burden of implementing costly network expansions and improvements onto consumers," the agency said in its filing.
Such a result could diminish or delay network expansion and improvement, it added.
The agency said providing different levels of service is common, efficient and could satisfy consumers. As an example, it cited that the U.S. Postal Service charges customers different guarantees and speeds for package delivery, ranging from bulk mail to overnight delivery.
"Whether or not the same type of differentiated products and services will develop on the Internet should be determined by market forces, not regulatory intervention," the agency said in its filing. ...
Source of above excerpt: Wired News - AP News