Hi 81 / Lo 73
|Volume 71, Issue 143,
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Access tiering opens up can of online worms
If a college student were asked to list the necessities of higher education, Internet access would more than likely be at the top of that list. It has quickly become the primary source of media, research and entertainment. However, the speed and freedom of the Web could be in jeopardy if the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006, which failed to pass through the U.S. House of Representatives last week, does not pass through the Senate by the end of this month.
Access tiering could soon effect one of America's truly uncensored institutions. The concept, which has been proposed by communication companies such as AT&T, Verizon and NYNEX, would potentially require Internet domains to pay a fee to make their sites accessible at a faster rate.
Supporters of the Freedom Preservation Act feel that access tiering could be detrimental to the Internet it because the communication companies previously mentioned would be able to control what is seen on the Internet, much like Viacom controls what is accessible over the radio or television.
Who cares? As long as it does not result in us having to pay more on our bills for Internet connection, what's the problem? As long as companies/sites that have previously not charged for access don't start adding fees to view their information, there is no need to worry. It's about time that Internet providers figured they could make more money off of the countries largest information outlet.
American consumers are always faced with the decision of paying more money for better service or higher quality merchandise. Now internet domain creators will be faced with the same decisions. More popular domains that have the ability to draw in large amounts of advertising should have no problems paying for faster information transfer if the prices set by the communication companies are not too high.
However, that is a big "if." If the price tags are high for premium accessibility, huge sites such as ESPN.com, CNN.com or ign.com could no longer be free, which would pose a problem for surfers. Smaller sites could have problems, but that's capitalism for you.
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