13/02/2013 By Dirk 0

Future Internet event – A Glimpse at the Future of Free Access to Come?

I am at one of these Future Internet events, organised by a European research project. The agenda looks interesting but nonetheless there’s an issue that occurs often at these events, which makes me wonder.

While this event is about the ‘future of the Internet’ to come, the situation at the organising venues makes me wonder how this future is going to look like. Internet access is controlled (as standard nowadays) through a landing page, needing an individual (per device!) access code. There aren’t enough of these codes around here. I was lucky enough to get one (for certain reasons I won’t get into), finally getting to the Internet.

Is this the sign for the future? Internet everywhere but gated and restricted? The mid of the past decade saw a wave of ‘free Internet’, which seems to have faded. Business interests even in the very edge access seems to have overpowed this wave. While major content clearly is charged (often more than once), it is even the plain access that is controlled/charged/restricted.

When I got into Internet research many years ago, I hoped that the free access to the Internet would become the norm in a few years. We are going in a totally opposite direction, it seems, by restricting the pure access more and more, regardless of the content you want to access. It is a shame that so-called ‘Future Internet’ events are presenting a stage that continues this trend. I would have loved to see different.