The Internet Is Not Free

Mar 26, 2009 by

Never was, never will. In fact, we spend more now than ever on news/entertainment/information thanks to the “free” Internet.

And you can factor in whatever inflation measure, GNP index or slideruler you want.

Obvious? Obviously not.

The whole mantra that the Internet is free, and must remain so, is a crock. And it bothers me when people go skipping through some field of wildflowers releasing ballons shouting “keep it free, keep it free.” The Internet is not air.

I love the Internet, it is an incredibly powerful tool. Yet like anything, it can be abused and become the biggest “where did my day go” waster of all time.

It also is absurdly expensive.

Start with access – minimum dial-up. But most of us go for cable or DSL or XRP or QRS or whatever alphabet soup is next. And dude, gotta have the premium download/speed package. How free is that. Oh, and per month.

That’s just the access point, and yet someone will point out they rely on “free” WiFi. That’s free WiFi with a $5 cup of coffee.

Hey, I love WiFi  – got it in my house so I can write just about anywhere. Of course, that meant I had to buy a wireless router. Oops.

But back to accessing that free WiFi at the coffee shop/hotel/bar/airport. We do it with a (fill in your dollar number here) blackberry, smart phone, internet tablet, netbook, laptop, computer, etc. And let’s not forget those monthly mobile charges.

We pay for access; and we pay for the equipment to access that access. I hope that last sentence was accessible.

If that’s free, I’d hate to see paid.

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