It’s the End of The World (Wide Web)

Posted by CJD on December 4, 2012

The International Communications Union are meeting this week in Dubai for the World Conference on International Telecommunications. This is a BIG DEAL not least because it only happens once in a telcom apparatchik’s career – about every 20 or so years.

But there are big concerns about this meeting because there are now fears that “something bad is about to happen.” This is because the last one was in 1988 which was before the internet and mostly before telecoms became digital.

Vint Serf – normally described as the father of the Internet and now Google VP – describes the conference as an important moment in the history of the Internet because “it may introduce practices that are inimical to its continued growth and openness.”

Conspiracy theories abound with suggestions that Russia is trying to change control of the internet. And it’s true that Russia has proposed that “member states have a sovereign right to establish and implement public policy , including international policy, on matters of international governance and to regulate the National Internet segment, as well as the activities within their territory of operating agencies providing Internet access or carrying Internet traffic”

In other world, it wants to censor the internet.

Google has set up a petition to collect signatures for a free and open internet combining with arch-enemy Microsoft in an attempt to prevent the death of the World Wide Web as we know it

So what’s the fuss really about? Well, as always it’s about money. Who pays for the internet anyway?

The telcos, whilst providing the wires for the web feel that they have missed out and are not paid enough for them. They see the likes of Google, Facebook and YouTube generating enormous quantities of traffic which they don’t pay for. Some telcos – France Telecom, Deutsch Telecom, Telecom Italia – are campaigning for content access charging. These telcos say that without charging for content, they will not be able to afford the investment in the networks necessary to sustain its growth.

But never fear, Mr Hamadoun TourĂ©, Secretary General of the Telecommunications Union, has said that all that is nonsense and that the main aim of the meeting is to spread the internet to the 4.5bn people that don’t use it at all yet.

Yeh, right, as they say in Moscow.

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