Everyone is under the impression that this whole Web 2.0 thing that has a narrow section of the Internet world all a flutter is about freedom of data and living on the web full time with absolute transparency. The advocates of this electronic hippy movement float around the world content in their ideological bliss that everyone wants to share everything everywhere and all the time. Whether they be swimming in the river of news or paddling around tidal pools of noise while hooking themselves into the great world wide web talk show there is a shadow starting to drape itself over our illusions of electronic equality.
Without even paying attention to a world outside of their cozy terms of social media and incessant 140 character quips of their daily lives they don’t realize that there is a movement afoot that will slap them back to their electronic ashrams to wonder what went wrong. This movement is the real and breathing North American Web 2.0 and it is going to be run by those gatekeepers to the Internet – your local cable company and their brethren the equally greedy telcos.
While the rest of the world might glory in unmetered and constantly increasing speeds of their broadband lifeline here in the U.S.; and if it happens there trust me it will happen north of the border as well, we are seeing cable companies beginning to experiment with metered access. As well others since they got caught with their fingers in the traffic shaping cookie jar are now calling it protocol agnostic bandwidth management. Up here in Canada Bell just calls that deep packet monitoring and shaping but in either case it all boils down to the same thing – making the most amount of money for the least amount of service.
This is all happening at a time when the web is under the illusion that everyone has fast cheap access to the Internet 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It is through this imagined ubiquitous connection to the new world of electronic freedom that they believe things like free web software and common meeting grounds will change the world. Well it must be an illusion because we are being told by the real power of the internet that unless we are willing to pay up in increasingly larger amounts for even lesser access we can forget this dream world.
As this rolling wave of greed moves across the landscape there are many folks calling out for change suggesting that the web is now no longer a luxury but rather a utility that we can not live without. Others suggest that this model is nothing more than the death knell for cable companies going down that road and will fail. There are those that suggest that users will become pissed off because they have to constantly figure out what they have used and what is left.
The reality is as my fellow Canadian Mark Evans suggests that none of these moves should come as a surprise and that like Michael Arrington; along with Mike Masnick, believe that this move will do nothing less than kill off any future innovation. I have written before how I feel that the current idealistic version of Web 2.0 culture is something that will never happen as long as the cable companies and telcos hold the power over the very access to that new world.
That view is re-enforced on an almost daily basis as I see moves like the ones from Time Warner, Comcast and our own Bell to further erode the ability of all people to be able to access what has become the new utility. The real Web 2.0 has shown its face and it’s not about all the goodie two shoe nonsense being spouted around. No .. the real version is all about power and money.