Beware The Dark Net

Posted on May 24, 2006

The BBC reports that Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee believes there should be only one internet, not one or more internets.

Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not "part of the internet model," he said in Edinburgh.

He warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier internet, the network would enter "a dark period".

Sir Tim was speaking at the start of a conference on the future of the web.

"What's very important from my point of view is that there is one web," he said.

"Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring."

The BBC says Berners-Lee's comments support the Net Neutrality campaign which opposes any new laws that would give telecommunications companies more control over the Internet. Net Neutrality has been backed by bloggers; MySpace users; Internet users; big corporations like Microsoft and Google; web retailers like; and celebrities like Alyssa Milano.

The BBC says the telecoms want a two-tier system.

But telecoms companies in the US do not agree. They would like to implement a two-tier system, where data from companies or institutions that can pay are given priority over those that cannot.

This has particularly become an issue with the transmission of TV shows over the internet, with some broadband providers wanting to charge content providers to carry the data.

The internet community believes this threatens the open model of the internet as broadband providers will become gatekeepers to the web's content.

Providers that can pay will be able to get a commercial advantage over those that cannot.

Berners-Lee was optimistic that a free, open Web would prevail and prevent the creation of a Dark Net. At the WWW2006 conference Berners-Lee said this about the Internet: "I think it is one and will remain as one." The MIT's Technology Review describes what a tiered Internet might look like.

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