When you consider the different aspects of it, the internet itself went a long way over the course of several years. With the development of technology, the internet went from being a privilege to being accessible to almost everyone. It is still not free, however, we have to ask will it ever be? To be able to look at it objectively and realistically, firstly we must focus on the thing that drives the world; money. We need to go back to the basic concept of the internet when thinking of the reasons why the internet is not free.
One of the main reasons for that would be the infrastructure. As long as there is a need for physical hardware, there will be a cost to its maintenance. Secondly, no governing body rules supreme over the internet. The only governing organization is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers which maintains the Internet Protocol addresses (IP) and the Domain Name System (DNS). So, who would buy out all the internet service providers? Who would host the ever-growing data and maintain the service for free so that you can access it on demand? The number of issues seems to only increase the more you dwell on it.
One of the advocates for the free internet is Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook. Alongside several cooperating tech companies, he founded an organization with the goal of making the internet access available to anyone. He proposes that everyone should have access to some essential services at least, even though he did not specify what those services are.
However, remember, if something is free, you are the product. Television programs are free, for the most part, yet the TV stations have ever-increasingly revenue. The catch? The advertisement, of course. And how does a free website such as Facebook make its money? You’ve guessed it— the advertising. So, it raises a question, is that sort of internet actually free?
When it comes to the terminology, there is another definition of the word free. In this new context, we have to wonder about the limitations and restrictions imposed on the internet. For example, Zuckerberg’s idea was strongly opposed by the firms in India for the very reason that his idea is going against the philosophy of net neutrality. In countries like China, Russia or Egypt, the internet is heavily censored. Some websites like Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, are completely banned in China.
It asks a question if the monetary free internet is worth it, if it is at the expense of your online freedom. Even though the free internet is an excellent idea to ponder on, all of it remains a bit unrealistic. For now, at least.