05/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Internet's Love Affair with WebTV

Information is a commodity. It's an article of trade that is valued above all other products and services. Information has always been coveted but controlled by those in authority. The World Wide Web has irrevocably changed that paradigm and democratized information. Evidence of this democratization can be seen today in the form of the social web. Information is no longer controlled by those in authority - it is now openly exchanged through user generated content (UGC) such as micro-blogs, blogs, podcasts and video podcasts.

One of the most disruptive UGC platforms is WebTV. This is a platform where independent TV programming is made available and specifically tailored for the online community. The increasing popularity of WebTV is in no small part due to the popularity of the Internet. According to Nielsen, as of August 2009 there are 227,719,000 Americans online and watching online videos is up 12% from last year.

From those numbers, it's rather easy to understand how services such as Hulu, Boxee and Apple TV have become so popular. You also have services such as Koldcast that are producing some incredible independent programming; such as Tyranny. Additionally, the leading TV manufactures are producing the next generation TV's which are Internet ready.

Capitalizing on this WebTV phenomenon is Google, Intel and Sony. According to the NYT Google is working on the next generation TV -- Google TV. This is a well calculated move for Google. It now becomes painfully obvious why Google is working the "Google Net." This is an ultra-fast broadband network that would have a downstream of 1Gbps; to the home. The Google TV partnership with Intel and Sony would benefit substantially from the ultra-fast broadband network.

As WebTV and other broadband technologies become more common -- the National Broadband Plan and Net Neutrality become that much more crucial. Unfortunately, opponents of Net Neutrality are pushing for a metered Internet and don't believe that the FCC should interfere. It would appear that the battle for who should control the last mile will be a hotly contested debate.