ISP's and Tunnel Vision

2019-11-11

I raised a concern recently on one of the mailing lists at Internet Society. The issue was about ISP's allocating free data bundles to popular apps (WhatsApp, Facebook etc), it turns out that this is a well known issue and ongoing debate it even has a name ZERO RATING.

Zero-rating is the practice of providing Internet access without financial cost under certain conditions, such as by only permitting access to certain websites or by subsidizing the service with advertising.~ wikipedia

The problem is that ISP's are now acting as tunnels leading to their own desired locations, they are acting like television broadcasters feeding us what they see fit, which defeats one of the core principles of the Internet which is the freedom to choose. By doing this the ISP's are shrinking the size of the Internet to a few apps.

Today allot of people cannot differentiate between Facebook and the Internet and this is a big problem that is being amplified by ISP's. ISP's should be neutral allowing us to access to the entire world wide web they should not act like tunnels leading to a particular destination rather they should be like the sky, without walls, everywhere a worthy destination.

Monopoly

Zero rating allows for internet monopolies to exist and makes it hard for small websites/ internet destinations to be discovered. It is like if a Supermarket told the road builder to build all the roads in his direction thereby cutting out the small markets because no roads lead to them.

Network Effect

Zero rating allows for a large number of people to use the free service, this can cause a network effect which is the indirect value the free services gains as more people use it and this makes the internet that much smaller and the chance of discovering new desitnations goes down.

Reality

With Zero Rating mass manipulation of society is easy, ISP's are essentially in the position to shape human reality. I am of the opinion that human reality is much better if we have allot of diverse interactions and consumption of information. When everyone is sharing the same things and consuming the same things, our reality is much more poor and there is a lack of creativity in out society which in turn slows down the progress of the universe. The pure internet allows us to express and explore diverse resources.