Most of us may not remember the term “dial up”, i.e., accessing some remote service via a telephone line. Internet usage within societies was then deemed a fragile consideration, where information access via a computer (and a computer ONLY), utilizing ‘dial up’, was either too slow, or possibly too technically vexing to function and add value to the average user. Long gone are those days… as with the advent of broadband communication through simplified wired and wireless technologies. Continuous technological advancements now allow users to experience more stable high speed internet performance. Access to global information has never been easier. This revolution in data communication pathways, coupled with the ongoing enhancements in mobile devices has caused possibly the single most monolithic change in human social behavior on a global scale.
Technology has always lead to numerous developments in how we have lived, throughout every aspect of life; but now the internet has seemingly become the bedrock on which modern civilizations exist.
With that said, it should be accepted, that careful thought should be given to how the issue of net neutrality is addressed, relative to successive impacts on the average internet user and more specifically for the Caribbean region. Net neutrality essentially means equal weight is associated to all content found online. Now this realistically applies very little worth to the final consumer of internet access, at this time, as you browse the web with the ease of your nearest device. Where new rulings of ‘net neutrality’ may become visible, is at the Internet Service Provider’s level, as providers can monetize ‘high valued’ content, based on user demands. This can be done by injecting additional fees, resulting in the consumer being charged more money for access to specific sites that might have not incurred any expense previously. This is a primary concern given the new terms of the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality decision as standardized rates can increase due to the types of content you wish to view. With online consumers in mind this is a financially stressful time.
It is without question that we live in the age of online service invention. The startup culture, where a business idea, even here in the Caribbean, can begin online for minimal initial costs, appears threatened. The growth potential where the idea can transition into a trustworthy brand, earning its way based on organic online awareness, can now be limited to deriving minimal returns. The new rules make nuance players have to not only be competent from an online awareness standpoint, but from a financing standpoint if they want to remain accessible. Possible downturns of otherwise lucrative earning potentials for regional online business prospects could result.
From a holistic standpoint, an Internet Service Provider can be seen to have essentially reached the status of a ‘utility provider’ / ‘information highway gatekeeper’, simply due to the high demand for access to online resources. Taking another perspective, think of the impact associated with lack of information access, as many services now rely on the electronic pathway to the internet for effective operations. See related stories online at: