Two tier net – reality or corporate dream?

Not being a techie, I don’t know what to make of this, whether PC World is authoritative or not or whether this writer is known for his hysteria or not.  However, here it is:

The free, unrestricted internet as we know it is under threat. Britain’s leading ISPs are attempting to construct a two-tier internet, where websites and services that are willing to pay are thrust into the “fast lane”, while those that don’t are left fighting for scraps of bandwidth or even blocked outright. They’re not so much ripping up the cherished notion of net neutrality as pouring petrol over the pieces and lighting the match. The only question is: can they get away with it?

I’m well aware that the two tier net has been on the drawing board of many of them up there but how far along it is – no idea.  So this post is in the nature of a request for information from you techies, on the current state of play.

3 comments for “Two tier net – reality or corporate dream?

  1. Rossa
    January 27, 2011 at 08:11

    I’m assuming that it means that access through your ISP is controlled so the sites that have paid show up, others “disappear”. AOL users have had that for years where they only saw a subset of the ‘net approved by AOL. And China does the same or tries to do so as there are reports that those that know how can circumvent the censorship and controls.

    If you’re with an independent ISP like mine then this shouldn’t be an issue. Seems it’ll be mainly the big boys that supply domestic users rather than business users like me.

    I guess the answer is, more small independent providers. I pay more for my service than I would to a provider of bundled services i.e. TV, telephone + ‘net etc. but then I don’t like having the proverbial eggs in one container.

  2. fake
    January 27, 2011 at 09:57

    This already exists.

    Some ISP’s restrict bandwidth to certain websites, Like BT and I player.

    BT argue the BBC should help pay for upgrades, the BBC rightly point out that we pay BT to provide a service, they should sort it out themselves.

    I don’t have an issue with this, this is the free market at work. Some ISP’s will do this, others will advertise they don’t (watch the virgin media ads, they either say so or put text at the bottom saying they don’t do what BT do).

    As long as the goverment stay away from this, and customers bother to check who they sign up to, the markets will prevail.

  3. January 27, 2011 at 16:10


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