What is it?
A two-lane Internet will result from a business model in the provision of broadband service that includes a fee on Web sites to enable their customers to reach them more quickly.Currently, Internet service providers are already charging difference prices based on the speed of the customer's connection to the Internet.
More established Web site with financial resources that pay for fast-lane access will be able to squeeze out smaller, emerging Web sites. Unfair competition? The change would affect Internet openness and accessibility, the conditions that have contributed so much to the economy and our way of life by making the Net a 'wellspring for innovation'.
Who's proposing it?
Executives at some telephone companies.
Why it might not happen?
Market competition in the delivery of high-speed Internet access. However, market competition in general is only likely to be effective when a market is served by 3 or more providers. Many consumers are up against a duopoly; a single telephone company and a single cable company are the sole broadband providers in most communities, as in the case of Singapore with Singnet (Singtel) and Starhub (SCV).
A better way to prevent the emergence of the Two-Lane Internet? A firm principle of network neutrality which includes 2 rules:
- broadband providers would be prohibited from blocking, interfering with, or impairing the ability of Internet users to access lawful content, applications, and services on the Internet.
- the broadband operators would be prohibited from favoring themselves or their affiliates in the allocation, use, or quality of Internet access services.
Whose idea is this?
Rick Boucher. He represents the Ninth District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. A Democrat, Boucher is the co-founder and currently a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.
For a report on the politics in pushing for the two-lane Internet, see http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6055108.html