View Thread > Development and the Internet > Architecture, Question 2 > Discussion or Deposition?
Are you persuaded that interconnection is a serious problem in developing countries? Where would you place the development/establishment of IXPs in the context of other measures that are capable of bridging the access divide? Given what you know about how the Internet works, and the players involved, what do you think should be done to improve Internet connectivity in developing countries? What sort of initiatives would you support and who would you expect to undertake them? Why? Do you think your answers are tied to your responses to the difficult queries posed in Discussion Question 1?
Excuse my sarcasm, but this is six questions in one. It must be an attorney thing...
Long question, short answer: IXPs are good. Local servers can cache www content. Portals can organize the locally-relevant content. It's a strategy that is relatively cheap and speeds up connectivity. Schools and local municipalities need to do it.
It is obvious that IXPs are good. The tough question is how can you get them built when there are established interests that stand to lose as a result.
In a way, it is similar to the question of online music and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) which is in the business of distributing CDs. Getting the message from point A to point B does not require middleman C. But middleman C is going to lose lots of money if he isn't in the middle. What's the solution?
I have some ideas, but that's on a different thread.
Before one answers "tough questions" it is important to analyse the structure of the "digital divide" vis a vis "solutions".
With respect, your second paragraph, to my mind misunderstands the value of getting the foundations right and more critically, exposes an incomplete insight into a very complex area.
I am not familiar with your ideas, but if they derive inspiration from the analogy with RIAA and the modalities of copyright, I would be a little concerned.
What is "in a way"? A little more precision would be helpful. I am relying on you to be clear and particularly to get the facts right. The RIAA is the Industry's Trade Association. It is the music companies that are directly affected by the prevalence of peer sharing files. This aside, conceptualising the controversy in the music industry in terms of "intermediaries" overlooks the complex issues of scarcity, incentives, the corporate business model etc.This however, is a separate debate and presupposes your awareness of the issues embedded in this complex area. Finally, you are not suggesting that the "digital divide" can be included in the "copyright" debate, by reason of complementarity of issues/arguments? Surely not on the basis of the presence of an intermediary?
This transparent oversight of the complex issues/arguments and the resulting argumentation, means that at this stage I remain content with not answering the "tough" questions.
I'd like to make some further clarification of my earlier post because I'm afraid it may have been misunderstood. Unfortunately the written word is often not the best way to communicate. But, it's what we've got here, so let me try to clear some things up.
The idea of intermediaries with interests opposed to the end points is real here. Please refer to the required and recommended texts.
Businesses that distribute CDs are in the music business, but they aren't really musicians. They find musicians. They take encodings of the musicians' creations and distribute these encodings to music listeners. In my analogy, the musician is Point A, the listener is Point B. Businesses in CD distribution are the transport mechanism from Musician to Listener. IP is potentially a much more direct transport mechanism than CD distribution(like running traffic through an IXP versus running it over a series of satellites and criss-crossing the earth). Like monopoly telcos in the developing world, distributor of CDs feel threatened by technology that might bypasses them and reduce their revenue streams. This does not presuppose any position on copyright. I don't believe that analysis of complex copyright issues is appropriate on this thread.
Looking back I can see how one could read my post as saying Point A and Point B are both listeners exchanging illegal copies of a music encoding. That is not what I meant, although I could see how someone might read that. I can also see how someone might want to disregard everything I said because I mischararterized the RIAA, but I think that would be a mistake.
I'd like to hear thoughts on the tough issues at hand and make my thoughts understood. Please share!
This is a welcome clarification. BOLD organizers might wish to draw from this the importance of including in the 'Invitations to Respond'- the context of the previous response - so that it ensures accuracy of interpreting/evaluating the comments.
The addendum by PIMBURGH does raise an important issue about "control of the supply chain" of information. We have, if I have understood PIMBURGH's note, a potential ideological conflict between a global commons of information networks and a private commons which appropriates both the "code" and the "architecture".
I now include myself as the possible recipient of the same concerns identified in the earlier note [which was in reply] to PIMBURGH!