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Is the internet a free-for-all?

The internet's breakneck expansion poses questions for its future

By Tom Chatfield   July 2011

Underlying the virtual palaces of the internet lies a physical infrastructure, tended to and monetized by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Each of the world’s more than two billion internet users derives their service, directly or indirectly, from ISPs, which in turn plough much of the money they make into ensuring the net is able to keep up with its users’ demands. And the central demand of almost every internet user, whether they know it or not, is for rapid, clean bandwidth: for a connection reliably able to send and receive an uninterrupted stream of data as fast as possible.

The…

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