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I think we're approaching the End of the Beginning of the Internet.

The current configuration is object/machine oriented software and protocols and based upon ICANN domain name 'root servers'. This architecture is under threat both politically - both in privacy terms and since the US has the 'off' switch - and commercially, through the end of Net Neutrality.

I think the future lies in open source 'subject-oriented' - ie individual-centric - software both on mobile devices (Android, probably), and a new generation of cheap and cheerful generic meshed set top box/ wireless routers/ home servers running Linux.

I also believe that broadcast and internet convergence is missing a simple but radical step to what I call the 'Broadcast Web'.

I worked for two years with a very interesting UK technology company which uploaded encrypted IP TV data to satellite and broadcasted it.

The resulting IP TV was therefore not delivered through the Internet, but was delivered onto PCs by 'multicasting' it onto corporate networks (which meant that unlike Web TV 3,000 JP Morgan PCs could and did use the same bandwidth to watch TV as one PC did). All the hardware that was necessary was a bog-standard satellite dish; a router box (essentially a glorified set top box) and a standard network connection.

The key was that TV permissioning/decrypting did not require a Sky type card, but a proprietary software application and an internet 'back-channel' connection back to the company's HQ. This meant that the company could actually tell the TV channels who were being broadcast exactly how many people were watching.....an advertiser's dream....

Using this tried and tested satellite technology - which was not Rocket Science - I watched the events of 9/11 unfold live on my PC using broadcast IP digital TV pictures. The relevant enabling 'browser in a box'/intelligent router technology is now a fraction of the price it was in 2001.

The point I am getting to is that - even though this realisation never dawned on the company, which made the mistake of partnering with BT, and 'died the death' - there is no reason why in a digital equivalent of Teletext the data comprised in websites should not be continually broadcast and looped/refreshed, enabling web-sites to integrated with cahnnels and to be cached literally everywhere.

Such a 'Broadcast Web' would be a true 'convergence' between Web and TV enabling the Internet to be bypassed for a great deal of IP data delivery, since broadcast bandwidth is infinite.

As for the Internet, we are already seeing plans for 'unofficial' DNS root servers accessible to anyone with a skype type application.

About 10 years ago I wrote an application to ICANN for a 'Dot Market' domain (Dot mkt actually) but the dot com who paid me then ran out of funds and the idea of a market specific domain - which I wrote about here - went no further at the time, although a strange series of coincidences may even allow it to be re-activated.

My proposal is to create domains - where the root server links IP addresses to domain-specific identities - which are neither 'Open' ICANN style nor 'closed' like any proprietary network. This is achievable by using a consensual domain membership protocol agreement for access.

The outcome is a domain which is closed, because only members may use it, but also open because anyone who consents to the agreement may join. Spam becomes a thing of the past, because IDs are known/verified as part of the membership process, and convicted spammers get membership suspended or terminated.

As I realised 10 years ago, there was no satisfactory enterprise model for utilities/monopolies. As I have been saying for 10 years, the enabler of a next generation networked market will be a partnership-based enterprise model that operates 'Not for Loss'. This would essentially be a consortium of domain/platform service providers in a partnership with a consortium of domain/platform service users paying agreed costs. Investment comes from service charges paid forward.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 05:51:21 PM EST

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