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Information Superhighway

Information Superhighway - WebCreatify

Its components and various public policy issues while shaping the way.


fig.no.1.Machine design(worldnetwork.com)

 “The information superhighway showed an average person what some nerd thinks about star trek”

What is the information superhighway?

An information superhighway is a telecommunications infrastructure or system (as of television, telephony, or computer networks) used for widespread and usually rapid access to information. The information superhighway or infobahn was a widespread term used through the 1990s to denote alphanumeric communication systems and the Internet telecommunications network. It is related to the United States Senator and later Vice-President Al Gore.

Information Superhighways as the future of information technology.

The information superhighways revolution is bringing people of different backgrounds from around the world into a global information superhighway. The Internet provides a worldwide platform connecting thousands of networks around the world. There is a variety of information available on the Internet for users. It has been considered as a forum for users to share worldwide information resources. The resources are so vast that several of us really cannot grasp or understand the I-ways fully. It has become a ‘global information library’ which allows the users to participate in the group conversation, look for any information, and so on. It can often be considered as a hybrid environment of postal services, citizen's band radio, libraries, and neighborhood community centers where we can spend time with our friends.

Components of the I-way

 

fig.no.2.Components of the I-way(informationsuperhighway.com)

It consists of various components which may be broadly categorized as;

1. Consumer access equipment: - which is at the consumer end and enables the consumer to access the network. It consists of the hardware such as computers, modems, routers, switches for computer networks, set-top boxes for television networks and software platforms such as browsers and operating systems.

2. Access road or media: - provide the communication backbone for the transmission of data and information. The access providers can also be differentiated into four categories: telecom based cable TV-based, wireless-based, or computer-based online systems.

3. Global information distribution networks: providing the infrastructure for connecting across the countries and continents. They include such networks as the long-distance telephone lines, satellite networks, and the internet.

Rewards of the Internet as Information Superhighways.

  1. The Internet provides access to information sources such as e-journals and e-books.
  2. It becomes an effective tool for accessing such an amount of information in a short period.
  3. It gives access not only to pure texts but also audio, video and graphics, and lastly.
  4. It gives the researcher the ability to access web pages and gives the researcher the ease to view citations and supporting data which allows a collective type of research.

 

fig.no.3.Information superhighway(imageconnectedsupplychain.com)

Public policy issues shaping the I-way.

1. Cost:

Who should pay for constructing the I-way? Some favor the interstate highway model with government construction, ownership, and maintenance. Others support the current regulated phone system model.

2. Subsidies:

Developers might hope for subsidies, tax breaks, government business, or other forms of encouragement. What will these tax subsidies subsidize? This remains unresolved.

3. Access to Local Infrastructure:

Local infrastructure within a country is a matter of local policy and investment and is the area of greatest unevenness across countries. The disparity between developed and developing data communications environments is a source of operational frustration to businesses and also effects international connections. In some countries, state-owned telecoms control both domestic and international communications. There, it is extremely difficult to acquire a direct link into a specific site, and often use of an expensive Telco-operated network is mandated.

4. Regulation:

Some free enterprises argue that if a highway is built with private funds then there is no government regulation. Some argue the open competition among highway operators, but regulation to provide public access, privacy, and reasonable tolls. What are the rules? Who writes them? Who enforces them? These issues remain undecided.

5. Universal Access:

Equal access probably means that cable and phone companies deploying upgraded networks going to be required to serve some consumers at prices below cost, and to outspread wires to places where other technologies (like satellite) would make more sense. Some insist that highway operators must provide universal access at a reasonable cost. If the I-way is built and run by private interests without significant government investment, the non-profit organizations might not be able to afford to hook up to the network. Whether universal access is nationwide or international it is still ambiguous.

6. Social and religious barriers: 

Cyberspace is considered to be a representation of free speech and democracy. For many strongly religious, countries where free speech is alien, the Internet presents interesting problems and policy issues. For other countries, where women have been denied a voice and access to media for many years, the Internet causes many headaches (the Internet doesn’t distinguish between sexes.)


fig.no.4.I-way(informationsuperhighway.com)

Drawbacks of the Internet as Information Super Highways.

  • Varied information leads to difficulty in sorting out which type of information to choose.
  • Due to limited search engines and the way how web pages were created, results may be unpredictable and most of the time, it would be difficult to search effectively.
  • The internet tends to miss out on some important information.
  • Web pages are unstable in a way that they lack permanence and eventually disappear at times, and lastly.
  • Some information on the internet is off-limits which requires the researcher to subscribe or register.


fig.no.5.Information superhighway(miromedium.com)

Conclusion

Information Superhighways, thus, allows people around the world to communicate and access information all at the same time. On the other hand, it also has its drawbacks in a way that it sometimes has limited access to millions of information, and due to various amounts of information available, it leads to difficulty in choosing which information to choose. And so, just like almost everything around us is, information way, still, is something that should be used with utmost responsibility and accountability given its strengths and weaknesses.


Meghna Das

Author

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