After reading a lot of marketing hype on the concept that the Internet is falling apart and becoming a “splinternet”, I have to respond:
The Internet is not just simple access to web sites, it’s not your ability to use Skype on your AT&T smart phone, and it’s not IPv4 and IPv6. It simply is a network of networks that use a common underlying protocol (TCP/IP). The web is simply one of thousands and thousands of other applications that use their own protocols over IP. To some the Internet may simply be email, others chat. Even TCP/IP can be (and is) often filtered, yet it’s still a network of networks.
What a country, corporation, or network decides to do with the way their networks function is really up to the policy of that network owner and the majority of its users. It always has been that way. Fourteen or fifteen years ago corporate America figured out that they can control what their users see and do, governments figured it out, and so did network providers.
I’m not an advocate of network filtration, control, and restrictions — it’s repugnant. However, how a society polices itself is up to that society and does not dictate that the Internet is broken.
In recent tweets I have seen companies push their products with comments such as, “How we broke the good old Internet, and why 90′s were simply better.” The link goes to their blog then shows how they fix the broken Internet. Marketing people, I don’t know if you remember but in the 90’s we had AOL and Prodigy and if anything resembled a “broke” Internet, it was that! Oh yeah… and broadband was measured in Kbps not Mbps or Gbps. Internet today is functioning fine, we may have a concentration of users on apps like Facebook and Twitter, yet the entire protocol stack is still available and by no means has the Internet fractured or splintered so badly that it is broken.
If anything we may have outgrown a 30-year-old protocol that resembles a 1970′s used Cessna aircraft that has duct tape holding on parts of its interior, but just like the 70′s Cessna the Internet still works and does what it was built to do.
I’ll accept a term like Splinternet when there really is a network that’s unique and separated from the Internet for public consumption. Maybe it is time a for a bunch of people to organize a world wide wireless network that cuts out all corporations and really have it splinter off the Internet. However, I would rather hear that called the Alternet (for nostalgic reasons) than a Splinternet. Yet, eventually this alternative network will join with the Internet and it will basically be… The Internet all over again.
P.S. stormdriver.com can you please fix the credits on the image you are using. I have no idea who Matt Britt is but I made the image you are using for your marketing purposes. The original image is here