It’s true that we can get just about any kind of information we want online for free. But there’s one thing that many of us forget, and that is that access to that information is not free. Whether we subscribe to home internet service or visit sites from our phone, there is some kind of price involved to allow that access.
Even the free Wi-fi that’s available in a growing number of locations has a price, which is spectrum. With more consumers demanding free Wi-fi where ever they may roam, carriers are becoming more concerned that there won’t be much real estate left to give them.
But considering that internet is now considered to be a basic necessity by most of the world, access to the internet is anything but free. In the United States, citizens are paying more for less than ever before as far as internet access is concerned. To answer this, the National Broadband Plan was put in place to ensure every American had access to the internet. However, some are saying this isn’t good enough.
Open, Fast and Affordable
Instead of – or perhaps along with – the ideals of the National Broadband Plan, many say, should be the effort to make the internet not only quickly and openly accessible, but affordable to all as well. After all, European and Asian citizens, world leaders for internet adoption, speed and quality continue to defeat the United States year after year.
Revenue Potential Stifling Internet Access Fairness?
It may indeed be true that inadequate policy and pressure from internet providers is what is stifling the ideal of free or at least affordable internet access for all. There are some who feel that in not fixing their broken policies, Washington may have inadvertently made it possible for providers to charge more for service, yet leave some communities without a connection.
Although there are some communities who have become tired of waiting for a connection and created their own internet networks, the creation of others has been essentially outlawed by their states, some say due to pressure by big and influential ISPs.
The Matter of Compensation
Along with the ideal of reasonable internet access for all is the compensation issue. Who is currently receiving the bulk of the money consumers are spending for content access? Certainly not those who created the content, says at least one individual.
In the old days, those who created content for the movies and television sold access to it. But today, there are many places to get content at no cost to the consumer, which begs the question about whether the creators get paid after internet providers and streaming services have taken their share.
On top of that is the opinion that people seem to be willing to pay exceedingly smaller amounts for the online content they consume. While this has certainly created a shift in what kinds of content are being monetized – things like our personal surfing habits – it has yet to replicate the same revenue that was once generated by movie theaters, TV ads and the sales of DVDs.
Are We Short-Changing Ourselves?
Some believe that we are robbing ourselves where it comes to what the internet could be, in favour of large revenues. It seems that many of the nation’s largest internet providers are the same companies which rate low on the scale for several factors by consumers.
But consumers are realizing their power in many arenas. The demand for more transparency in the companies we deal with has resulted in changes being implemented by those companies. In the case of internet providers, many have made the choice to introduce upgraded packaged which contain more customer benefits to give more value to their offerings. But is this enough?
Perhaps the solution to decreasing access costs and increasing the value of what we are currently getting from internet access providers is to continue to demand more from them.