|Chapter 1:||A Global, Low-Cost Network Thrives|
Mobile Devices Seen as Key to Global Connection
Hal Varian, dean of the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California–Berkeley and a Google researcher, generally agrees with the scenario. “I think this could easily happen,” he wrote. “Of course, some of the mobile access could be shared access (à la Grameen Phone) but, even so, I would guess that most people in the world could get on the network if they really wanted to by 2020.” John Browning, cofounder of First Tuesday and a writer for The Economist, Wired, and other technology/economics publications, sees many improvements in networking and devices in the next 15 years. “[The system won’t be] perfected and perfectly smooth, but certainly more, better, and deeper than today,” he wrote. “The biggest change will come from widespread and reliable identification in and via mobile devices. The biggest source of friction will be copyright enforcement and digital rights management. There will be much innovation in devices to match form and function, media, and messages.”
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, wrote, “The infrastructure for low-cost communications will be in place. Consumer products, particularly electronics, will be very cheap. But there will be widespread Net ‘brown outs,’ and gossip and advertising will overwhelm news and public debate.”
—Jeffrey Branzburg, educational consultant for National Urban Alliance, Center for Applied Technologies in Education, and other groups
Michael Reilly of GLO-BAL-WRITERS, Baronet Media LLC, predicted that “mobile technologies facilitated by satellite” will reach out to all people.