::fibreculture:: Future Internet Scenarios

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Oct 31 07:27:30 CET 2010

Future Internet Scenarios:


What Will The Internet Look Like In 10 Years?

The Internet Society engaged in a scenario planning exercise to reveal 
plausible courses of events that could impact the health of the Internet 
in the future. While obviously not intended to be a definitive overview 
of the landscape or all potential issues, we believe the results are 
interesting and, we hope, thought-provoking.

We are sharing them in the hope that they will inspire thought about 
possibilities for the future development of the Internet, and involvement 
in helping to make that happen in the best possible way.

1. Common Pool Scenario

Positive “generative” and “distributed & decentralised” properties. 
Opportunity and growth abound, with no insurmountable barriers to entry 
for those wishing to take part. 
Disputes and challenges are resolved through competition, as opposed to 
negotiation or inherited rights. 
Constant evolution and features a healthy ecosystem of interlinked 
network operators, developers, infrastructure providers, resource 
management organisations, etc. 
Organisation and operation tends to be “horizontal”, not “vertical”, so 
that the underlying building blocks (technologies, networks, etc.) are 
available to all to build upon. 
The “win” for the Internet is that it remains able to react and respond 
to new requirements. 

2. Boutique Networks Scenario

Envisions a future in which political, regional and large enterprise 
interests fail to maximise the social and economic potential of a shared, 
global set of richly connected networks (the Internet). 
It carries the weight of self-interest brought by factions seeking to 
optimise control in small sectors (political and otherwise). 
It also suggests these fractionalised networks will continue to leverage 
the benefits of existing Internet standards and technology. 
Each proprietary provider draws as much as possible from the common pool 
while giving little back. 

3. Moats and Drawbridges Scenario

Suggests the world of the Internet would be heavily centralised, 
dominated by a few big players with their own rules in “big-boys’ clubs.” 
Conflicts would be resolved through negotiation, not competition. 
Connections between networks would be the result of extensive negotiation 
and deal making. 
There would likely be strong regulation as governments seek to impose 
some public interest obligations and perhaps even controls on the 
equipment users can connect to the network. 
Much content would be proprietary and protected by strong intellectual 
property rights. 
Governments would control the behaviour of networks and network users 
through legal mechanisms and sanctions. 
Barriers to entry would be high, with little incentive to expand networks 
beyond the largest and richest customers or regions. 
Innovation would be slow, only occurring when it would benefit the 
network owners. 
All players would have close political links to their mutual benefit. 

4. Porous Garden Scenario

Sees networks staying global but with access to content and services tied 
to the use of specific networks and associated information appliances. 
Individual (business) viability would triumph over the economic potential 
of the common pool of the Internet. 
Financial incentives for content producers and software developers would 
mean continued innovation within the appliance-based model. 
Control over content, pricing, licensing and other concerns would be 
firmly in the hands of relatively few large commercial organisations. 
Proprietary, closed technologies would abound and exclusive deals with 
content producers and physical communications networks would oblige 
consumers to purchase multiple appliances and associated subscriptions to 
avail themselves of the full range of innovation on the network. 

Have your say

We want to hear from you. What do you think is the biggest threat facing 
the future of the Internet? Share your thoughts by filling out the poll 
below and feel free to leave comments about this question and the above 
scenarios as well.

What's the biggest threat to the future of the Internet?

1 Limited access to content and services

2 Increased government control

3 Limited IPv6 deployment

4 Lack of privacy

5 Increase in Internet security threats

Vote Here (website)

View Results, Share This, Polldaddy.com



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