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The Future of the Internet

There are forces at work that could change the Internet as we know it. We're looking at what could happen to the Internet in the future.
A crystal ball

The Internet is one of the most fundamental and important tools of our time. Never before have we seen such opportunities for human empowerment, technical innovation, social development, and economic growth – opportunities that span the globe and touch everyone in its reach.

But we can’t afford to take the Internet -- or its future -- for granted. 

At the Internet Society, our mission is an open, global and trusted Internet everywhere, for everyone. Around the world, there are many uncertainties facing the Internet. There are actions, decisions, and events taking place today that may change its course forever. 

The way in which various forces of change evolve will have a profound impact on current and future Internet users of all kinds -- and society.

What might the Internet be like in the next 5-7 years?

What may be at risk? What could be impacted? It’s time to take a fresh look.

In 2009, the Internet Society started in a scenario planning exercise to uncover events that could affect the health of the Internet.

We are embarking on a collaborative exercise with the members of the extended Internet community to envision multiple creative (yet plausible) scenarios for the future of the Internet.     

Over the next 18 months, we will look at the trends and uncertainties impacting the Internet’s future, the issues of greatest concern globally and regionally, how various future scenarios could impact different uses of the Internet, and recommendations for creating the future Internet we want.

Here’s the draft timeline:

  • A look at the forces of change impacting the future of the Internet – Quarter 3 2016
  • Analysis of top Internet trends and uncertainties globally and regionally – Quarter 4 2016
  • Draft of Future Internet Scenarios for Global Input and Comment – Quarter 4 2016
  • Release of Revised Future Internet Scenarios – Quarter 1 2017
  • Discussion papers on top Internet issues – Quarter 2 2017
  • Recommendations for creating the future Internet we want – Quarter 2 2017

Your views will help us define what the Internet could look like in the not-so-distant future and what this could mean when it comes to all the things an open and accessible Internet could bring us. 

Thank you to everyone who took the survey! Watch for more details as we examine the forces of change you shared with us.