Monday, September 10, 2007

Will the the Future of the Internet be free?

[Chris Anderson - the author of the "long Tail" and senior editor at Wired Magazine is working on a new book about a new model for business on the Internet aptly called Free. Google and other companies pioneered the concept, but there are now many other examples of how this business is transforming even the delivery of basic Internet service.

For example in the UK and France, because of strongly enforced structural separation (actually functional separation) and unbundling there is a host new companies offering creative bundling of services where they offer basic DSL Internet for free. TalkTalk, Sky, Iliad are examples of this innovative approach. In other cases companies are bundling free music downloads with their Internet service.

One of the best examples of this business model is Inuk networks - They have been working with the UK university research network (UKERNA) to deliver free over the air TV, telephony and Internet to students in dormitories at universities throughout the UK. They make their money by selling "eyeballs" to the over the air broadcasters who then get a direct and exact measure of who is watching their programming.

As UKERNA only operates the network, there is natural structural separation between the network operator and those offering services. Kudos to UKERNA for demonstrating how research networks can showcase new Internet business models not only for academia, but for the larger consumer market as well.

Another good example is the Google Earth Flight simulator versus purchasing a PC based product.
-- BSA]

Chris Anderon's blog

Google Earth Flight Simulator