2.1 Issues with Current ISPs
Some of the most burning issues are:
- Global inequality and the world of ‘two speeds’ Covid-19 pandemic and Russian invasion on Ukraine has exposed drastic inequalities between 2 groups of people: online, offline. Only the first one can fully expedite basic rights such as access to unbiased information, news and global digital knowledge. Nowadays, many people would find it difficult to imagine that they can’t ‘google something out’ (e.g. figure out how to change their car wheel). Yet it is estimated that approx 33% of the global population in less developed countries have never used the internet at all.
- Censorship and resulting alienation There is no compromise when it comes to human rights, yet countries nowadays are more and more tempted to filter the content accessible by their citizens. For people living their lives in countries where the only news is fake news, it means living in a fake reality and alienation from the rest of the world.
- Oligopoly of ISP corporations Even in countries with relatively free and unbiased access to the internet, that freedom is ruthlessly monetised by companies capable of meeting local ISP (eng. Internet Service Provider’) regulations and covering the cost of access point infrastructure. The global internet service access industry size is estimated to be approx $1.1 trillion dollars, yet most of that value concentrated under a few ISP giants like Comsat Corporation (approx. 278 billion USD in market cap or Verizon Communications (227.69 billion USD market cap), other companies with more than $100B in market cap are: AT&T, T-Mobile, China Mobile, Charter Communication and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. In total, all of the abovementioned corporations own more than 95% of the global ISP market.
- Abusive policy of internet providers Have you ever got banned by your ISP because you’ve replaced their wireless router with your own or added a few new ones to extend the coverage in your house? Or maybe you tried but for some reason that option was disable and unlocking it would require hacking the in-built router software? The reason it’s so hard is because ISPs do everything they can to ensure you’re not reselling your bandwidth or sharing it with other people in exchange for cost participation. Adding to the above, ISPs often charge the same fixed fee for the offered connection, regardless of the actual uptime and quality of the data received, allowing for incidental discounts only in case of more serious internet access disruptions.
- Looking at internet coverage from profitability perspective Imagine a rural region with low population density, little GDP and poor infrastructure making it hardly accessible. In many cases the cost of extending the nearest ISP infrastructure to that region would be way over expected profits. Simple manner of profitability is often a decisive factor when it comes to the future of thousands of people. If someone is born in a place where free access to news, information and knowledge is a fantasy, it’s hard to sustain the thesis that ‘everyone starts with equal chances’.
- Rapidly growing demand and inability to address that demand by traditional organizations As the world advances in technology, the availability of the internet and staying connected with anyone and everything is crucial. There has been a massive rise in the Internet of Things (IoTs) that require infrastructure that can connect 10 times the devices we have connected to the internet today; some of which are going to be super privacy sensitive. Traditional organizations are less suitable to cater for these kinds of demands, as we're basically talking about homes, businesses and public places connecting all their smart devices/tags to a network; and having a fine level of control over that.