Most internet access for consumers in America is restricted to just a few corporations — and a huge amount of time and money is invested in keeping it that way.
Major telecom players like Charter, AT&T, and Comcast are devoting massive resources toward political lobbies bent on limiting choice for consumers — and the reasons are obvious. With little or no choice, consumers must pay whatever the industry demands. No wonder the industry spent $100 million last year on political lobbying!
Municipal Answers to Internet Access
In the face of such massive lobbying, some have suggested municipal solutions. Rather than allowing for private firms to control who offers internet to clients, governments could even further centralize access. This would provide access to all consumers from a single source.
However, the solution is not moving in the right direction. By increasing the centralization of the services, consumers are left with even less choice of who to use. With no competition whatsoever, innovation and price competition are destroyed. Eventually, municipal internet services will be equally slow and costly.
Can Blockchain Technology Decentralize the Internet?
One possible solution to the issue is decentralization. Blockchain technology has already provided a decentralized immutable solution for currency, banking, supply chain management, and much more — but could it be used to decentralize broadband internet access?
The answer is an obvious ‘yes.’ The centralization of corporations and municipal governments is caused by a desire for profit. Profit, while not in itself a bad thing at all, becomes dangerous when no consumer choice is offered.
Decentralization of internet access over blockchain technology provides a vehicle for peer-to-peer usage. By creating a blockchain system that manages accounts, provides access to services, and requires payment for use, the internet could easily become a decentralized commodity.
This solution would drive profits back into the wallets of consumers. In one sense, this is a similar option as municipal services — but without the centralized and often corrupt government in play.
Do you think decentralized internet is a viable option, or will big telecom companies and lawmakers continue to hold the industry hostage? Let us know in the comments below!