By 2005, today’s version of Internet service will be replaced with a new model, the Internet utility, according to a February Forrester Research report. But getting to this point will require work on the part of both technology providers?and the government.
The report, “The Ubiquitous Internet,” paints a picture of a future that includes on-demand, reliable and affordable service penetrating nearly every aspect of people’s personal and business lives. And this new service will be treated much like we treat traditional utilities, such as water and power, today, only this utility will provide bits over a network instead of water through pipes or current through wires.
As a result, employees will use the Internet to drive their careers?and their companies. Employees may use their personal devices such as PDAs for business purposes. Salespeople will have competitive research available instantaneously, anywhere. And workers will be able to pursue “just-in-time training” from home, office or on the road.
But the vision faces hurdles?both technical and political. The report notes that technology providers must still perfect the building blocks of the Internet, making them easy, reliable and secure. Forrester also predicts several roles for the government: The increasing importance of data will necessitate increased digital diligence by federal law enforcement agencies. The federal government will also have to evaluate local legislation that may arise as smaller government bodies attempt to tax the Internet and protect citizen privacy. And, the report states, the government must promote full access to the Internet?much as it already does for power, telephone and mail?guaranteeing that lower-income households are not left behind.