Hope and despair about the future

It’s rare that I write anything on this blog that I think is really important for you to read. Today is an exception.

What I’ve written in this post isn’t the important part; it’s the links that I have provided that I think are important. So I encourage you to read them all, in their entirety. If you do, you’ll have devoted a considerable amount of your time to following my suggestion, but you’ll be rewarded, I think, with a better understanding of the issues facing the future of the Internet.

First, let me begin with what I think is the hopeful part. David Isenberg posted an editorial, written by the Managing Editor of the Falmouth Enterprise, Janice Walford, on November 8, 2005, about the establishment of a municipal wireless network by a town in Massachusetts. I recommend you read all of it, but here are the first few paragraphs …

Just as many families are taking a hard look at their monthly expenses for cell phones, Internet access, and the like, small towns and large cities are also seeking ways to trim their “communications? budgets.

The town of Pepperell, for example, with a population of 11,000, hopes to save $30,000 a year on its Internet access and cell phone bills, which equates to about 60 percent of its communications budget.

This savings will be accomplished by switching from the broadband service, offered by cable and telephone companies, to a wireless computer network, owned and operated by the town.


Who is David Isenberg, you ask? Well, here is an introduction for you from his bio page …

In 1997, David S. Isenberg wrote an essay entitled, The Rise of the Stupid Network: Why the Intelligent Network was a Good Idea Once but isn’t Anymore. In it, Isenberg (then a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Laboratories) examined the technological bases of the existing telecom business model, laid out how the communications business would be changed by new technologies, foresaw today’s cataclysms, and imagined tomorrow’s new network.


Mr. Isenberg’s 1997 essay, which is easy to read and understand and provides an excellent foundation for what follows even further in this post, begins with this blurb …

Why the Intelligent Network was once a good idea,
but isn’t anymore. One telephone company nerd’s
odd perspective on the changing value proposition

Stupid Network

On November 16, 2005, Doc Searls made this comment on his blog …

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks writing an essay that just went up at Linux Journal: Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes. It’s probably the longest post I’ve ever put up on the Web. It’s certainly the most important. And not just to me.

The Doc Searls Weblog : Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And in his lengthy, but in my opinion important, post on Linux Journal, he lays out the three scenarios he foresees, in which he makes a call to actions that I support …

We’re hearing tales of two scenarios–one pessimistic, one optimistic–for the future of the Net. If the paranoids are right, the Net’s toast. If they’re not, it will be because we fought to save it, perhaps in a new way we haven’t talked about before. Davids, meet your Goliaths.

Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes | Linux Journal


4 thoughts on “Hope and despair about the future

  1. Colm Smyth

    Hi Perry,

    Just caught up with your blog – thanks for highlighting this significant and unsettling trend. I’ve just blogged about it too, trying to broaden the context to our means of communication in general.

    PS. Words are hardly adequate but I send my best wishes for you and your wife, I’m so glad her radiation treatments are nearly complete. Time with our loved ones is always so precious.


  2. perry Post author

    Thanks for your note, Colm. I saw your post and appreciate your take on it too.

    Thanks as well for your comment about Carole’s progress. None of us can ever have too many people pulling for us. I appreciate your good wishes.

  3. David S. Isenberg


    I am gratified that you think Doc’s work and mine are important enough that you have made the effort to call it out to others. Thank you! My only request is that you spell my name right. Please lose the capital E. My name is Isenberg. Thanks very much.

    David I

  4. perry Post author

    Mr. Isenberg. My sincere apologies for having misspelled your name. I have now corrected that error, and I thank you for pointing it out. Perry


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