Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What is so outrageous about a limit on broadband internet usage?

In a recent article on ProPinoy.net, blogger Cocoy Dayao laments the implementation of volume caps on internet usage in the Philippines by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Before we fly off the handle here, I believe we first need to step back a bit and ask this more fundamental question:

How exactly does increased access to high-speed internet for the average Filipino consumer make her "more productive"?

Everyone keeps saying that more access to the Net at higher speeds "benefits" people and makes them more productive. But I read this OECD paper he cited, "Broadband and the Economy" (which, by the way, can be more easily accessed here) and so far as I understand, the paper:

(1) lumped computers and info tech under "general purpose technologies" (GPTs) which is a broad class that includes the steam engine, movable printing, etc); and,

(2) cited how progress with GPT's in general correlate to general improvements in economic output and quality of life.

As such, the paper does not cite any specific causal relationship between consumers' increased access to high-speed internet and their personal prospects for prosperity. Much of the potential productivity gains cited relating to high-speed internet access are mainly in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

But Cocoy's blog post, is trying to make a case for maximum access to the Net at maximum speeds for consumers. However, there seems to be no specific and tangible relationship between an individual's earning capacity and his/her access to the Net -- except perhaps in the case of truly creative individuals who add original content to the Web that command a premium from a broad base of consumers (meaning not only their friends and family members).

But guess what, in the case of the majority of people with access to the Net, much of what they contribute (upload to the Web) is junk or at least relevant only to a small circle of friends and family members. And much of what they consume (download from the Web) is junk as well, representing more of productivity loss -- time wasted looking at -- or perving on -- pictures of their friends' drunken escapades on Facebook, watching "scandal" videos on YouTube, etc.).

Where is that much-touted productivity gain supposedly to be realised by consumers' increased access to the Net?

One industry that is clearly emerging as the undisputed winner in a world of universal individual high-speed access to the Net is the porn industry. And in the Philippines, specifically, our renowned outsourced services "prowess" is stepping up to meeting the demand...
They say cyber pimps are offering cheap services via the Internet in a seedy mutation of the country's sunshine outsource industry in which call centre work and other back-office operations are done for companies in richer countries.

Where are the results?

That question remains a head-scratcher when it comes to the dubious promise of prosperity supposedly to be delivered by universal access to broadband internet.

3 comments:

  1. Homebased KPO workers need cheap, reliable and uncapped connections. Especially those that work with large files (web designers, graphic artists, video editors, transcriptionists etc.)

    Also a large uncapped connection facilitates reliable Video streaming. Which is a good way of weaning pinoys from local TV.

    IMO local ISPs should work on reliability and speed before they start capping data volume.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Faster, better, and cheaper. That demand for all those attributes in one product is what is turning our planet into the shithole it is becoming...

    ReplyDelete
  3. benign0 let's put it straight and simple!
    There is no technical issue to limit the internet in any way!!! So forget about the personal user limits bull. Decades ago the technology as well as the users where limitted. It worked fabulous. It's the same today but some dickheads cry out because theyr limmits. IT promissed anybudy massive data floods. Did it fail?

    ReplyDelete

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