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Researcher Jorge Bossio poses the questions: Can you imagine a day when there are two kinds of internet networks, one open and public and the other closed and exclusive, similar to free-to-air television channels and cable television channels? Can you imagine only being able to access certain websites or online applications by paying extra for a specific internet access service, like the “premium” channels on television?
These questions, he notes, reflect the debate between two opposing viewpoints: those who want the internet to remain open and unfiltered and those who propose the use of network management systems in the name of making more efficient use of the network.
The implications of this debate with regard to broadband access are numerous. Bossio concludes by emphasising the need for a wide-reaching debate in order to prevent, on the one hand, de facto practices that violate consumers’ rights, and on the other, vertical and hastily adopted legislation that could result in disincentives to investment, higher prices for services and deterioration in the quality of service. At the heart of this conflict are two opposing models of development, one based on the market and the other on the administration of public goods.