Say goodbye to the Internet you knew

published Jun 14, 2007, last modified Jun 26, 2013

Because your kids won't ever know it. Don't believe me? Here are the two major turning points, all in one week's news:

Yes, we sold you 6 Mb/s... and we sold the same 6 Mb/s to 50 other idiots

Time Warner, one of the largest cable Internet providers in the United States, is now shaping traffic.

Wait, let me put it in another words, so you understand how majorly abhorrent this event is.

Traffic shaping is a fancy computer term that means your ISP (Internet service provider) is deciding which kind of traffic gets to your computer first. In other words, they are now breaking your Internet connection on purpose.

They say it's because file sharing applications have hogged their networks. And that's true, considering that they've oversold their network by a factor of 50. Yes, they promised X Mb/s to each customer, and now they're backpedaling from that promise. And, of course, they won't start charging you less.


  • Do you use Internet phones? Time Warner just might decide you should be using regular phones for that, and sell you some. Does your Internet phone sound lousy today?
  • Do you use file sharing programs? Forget about it. Most Time Warner subscribers are reporting a 100 times slowdown, nearly to the levels of dial-up access.
  • Heavy YouTube user? NetFlix? iTunes? Sorry, you ain't Web browsing, so Time Warner will slow you down.

It's insidious, because they aren't really blocking certain uses of your (already paid for) Internet connection -- they're merely breaking the legs of those things you like to do. Sure they'll work, but they'll work a hundred times slower than before.

So, in practice, your expensive broadband connection now only works well for browsing the Web and using e-mail. Any other use is unavoidably fucked.

You think that's fair? Haha, Big Telco is only beginning, man. Wait till you read about the following event.

Oh, wanna watch that YouTube clip? Copyrighted, sorry!

AT&T (the other big broadband provider in the States) has announced today that they will block copyrighted content in their network.

In other words: unless your use of the Internet is an "approved one", you can forget about actually using it.

You know what that means. No more BitTorrent. No more YouTube. We don't know the true power of their blocking technology, but you can bet it's enough to make you want to go back to dial-up.

One thing we know: their filtering and blocking technology is based on content. This has deep ramifications for the future of the Internet.

"So what?"

Think you can just switch ISPs? That you'll be able to outsmart Big Media and Big Telco? Think again.

This is what is going to happen next:

  • Outright censorship. The same type of censorship practiced in totalitarian states like China. AT&T users are already experiencing this type of treatment when they visit sites like The Pirate Bay.
  • Massive amounts of lawsuits against Internet users downloading music and movies. Especially now that a law criminalizes "intent to commit copyright infringement".
  • ISPs charging "premium" rates for (today's standard) unblocked and unshaped services. Both to consumers (for unrestricted usage) and Web site operators (for content delivery). Don't be surprised if, say, Google slows down dramatically while Yahoo speeds up.

As you can see, they've got the law and the technology to break your legs, then sell you crutches. Big Telco and Big Media have all the bases covered.

Think this is avoidable? Think again.

  1. Now that two ISPs have taken the plunge, it's only natural that the rest will follow suit.
  2. This kind of thing always gets exported from the U.S. to the rest of the world.

Yes, it's all a massive Web of deceit, lies, and extortion from two oligopolies, and you, the end user, can go fuck yourself. Oh, yeah, I was forgetting.. these events took place in the very same land of the supposedly free and home of the supposedly brave. Ironic, isn't it?

Today marks an important turning point for the Internet: the information age is over. It was nice while it lasted; your kids will have a field day mocking you when you tell them how the Internet was when you were young.