Is it just me, or is the Internet slowing down? For some time, I have found my connection to be clunky and slow. Files wouldn't zip across as fast as they have in the recent past, it would take ages to load pictures, and so on. Mind you, our broadband access is still so much faster than the old dial-up system.
I put this down to the natural slowdown that occcurs when you have had a laptop for a while - it is now becoming stuffed full of files. However, this might not be the only reason. A recent article by the BBC does suggest that the Internet is slowing down (see article). The main cause of this is the BBC i-Player. This web based device allows us all to watch BBC programmes that we have missed up to a week after their showing. Apparently, people are arriving at work and then dowloading last nights viewing, which is slowing Internet speeds considerably. The ISPs blame the BBC (and want it to invest in network upgrades). The BBC reminds the ISPs that this is their commercial activity.
This raises the issue of who owns the Internet. At present, the cosy relationship that has existed since the 1960s has not been called into question. The matter is likely to come to a head soon if another BBC report is correct and that the Internet will run short of bandwidth in 2010 (see article). It would not be unreasonable to expect those who own the infrastructure of the Internet to pay for investing in new bandwidth. Equally, those who do pay for the investments may want more say than they currently have.
Let us hope that the question of who owns the Internet and who has to pay for the investment upgrades is resolved with as little disruption to the end user as possible. If not, the ICT backbone of globalisation may grind to a halt.
How about that as a Wild Card Scenario?