But these providers still have a physical provider! Even though a lot of these companies also own a lot of their own infrastructure, they need to lease the physical connectivity to different locations from other companies. In some places they rent dark fibers between cities or larger regions, in other places they need to put down the physical fiber themselves. And it’s just a handful of companies that in turn own most of the international fiber cables.
We need to seriously start looking at this as a problem internationally. We’re all seeing that the control from one single country over most of the internet services we use are troublesome at best. Most of us are familiar with laws from the USA (like the DMCA) because of their influence over our networks. And we’re not doing what we should to make sure that the internet stays international, with national control over national affairs. If a US judge says that a US company has to monitor all traffic in, let’s say Afghanistan or Iran, they have the possibilities of doing so. They might already be doing it, we have no way of controlling that.
In order to ensure that we’re not building an internet that has a single point of failure, it’s time to look at how to build a redundant network. The EU should push for national fiber rings, between big cities in each nation, owned by the state it’s located in. The costs of using these fibers could be done close to self-cost levels. Every time a road or railroad is built, moved or renovated, fiber tubes should be put down in the ground, wherever the road leads to.
This way we could ensure a real public infrastructure, not dependent on the US. We’d ensure that the current fiber owners (and in turn internet providers) would have to adjust their costs to match a public infrastructure. We’d make internet access available for a fair price for everyone.
But most of all, we’d make sure that the control over the infrastructure that we’re building our current and future communication on. The internet is no longer just a playground, it’s not just for entertainment. It’s for real, we’re totally dependent on it.
And we’re not all citizens of the USA.