Internet future possibilities are pretty scary to think about, especially since Republicans and Democrats seem to be consolidating power in Washington and the last two presidential administrations have so enthusiastically backed domestic spying programs. With the fall of net neutrality, things became further complicated, and so you can’t blame us for feeling a little paranoid. This great, wonderful tool we have is in real danger. However, not being total pessimists, we acknowledge there’s still hope. But much will depend on how we handle things from here. These are the five possible futures of the Internet that we foresee.
As the nature of domestic spying comes more to the forefront, it’s possible that more people will take a step back and question the amount of connectivity they’ve got going on in their lives, then take a few more steps to correct it.
Likelihood: 40 percent. The most vulnerable area where this could occur, is with the major social networking sites. Services like Facebook and Twitter are the poster children for social media, and if anyone is going to rethink how connected they are, they’re going to start with these two big players.
Content Providers As Hosts
Google Fiber is already threatening to take some of the power away from current ne’er-do-wells like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. The more these companies try to screw Netflix and Amazon on ISP fees, the more likely you are to see them invest in their own infrastructure or partner with another power player to go independent.
Likelihood: 60 percent. Reed Hastings’ recent outburst on the situation is a good indicator that this could eventually happen.
More Pay-To-Play, Reduction In Quality
As long as the ISPs can get away with price-gouging content providers, they will. We’ve already seen it with Comcast and Netflix, mere weeks after the ruling that struck down net neutrality. Expect it to continue, and as it does, anticipate a bunch of BS excuses as to why the price increases are necessary.
Likelihood: 80 percent. The net neutrality loss was a big deal. Spread the word. The more knowledgeable you are of who the bad guys are, the more likely it can get corrected before too much damage is done.
Rise Of The Wearables
SmartWatches and other wearables are cool to a certain cross-section of people, but the masses are yet to be on board with it. What’s the point in buying and wearing a lesser device when you’ve got a smartphone?
Likelihood: 30 percent.
Internet As Public Utility
Considering the FCC doesn’t like to lose, it’s likely they’ll reprogram the rules in a way that does stand up in court. Rebranding the Internet as a public utility would be great for consumers and content providers and would eliminate the price-gouging practices in which the Comcasts and Verizons charge their customers a price for content delivery and then double-tap content providers, which eventually results in price increases for customers, who essentially end up paying twice for desired content.
Likelihood: 90 percent. As education of who the good guys and bad guys are increases, the general public will fall on the side of net neutrality and eventually demand the Internet as a public utility. In the modern world, a free society requires equality of content so ISPs don’t get to determine what Internet users have access to and what they don’t. Net neutrality favors the public, and as long as government is chosen by voters, this will be the outcome.
What do you think the Internet future holds? Do you believe that it’s heading in the right direction or the wrong direction? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
[Featured image: www.corbettreport.com]