Internet Fever Needs A Reality Check

Regarding your article "Planet Internet" (Special Report, Apr. 3), there are a few things that are being overlooked in the current frenzy.

Perhaps the most critical of these is the inevitability of pay-per-usage and its likely impact. The facilities of the Internet are, to all intents and purposes, currently being donated. That obviously can't continue.

Another is the infrastructure issue. The only way that Internet access can become "ubiquitous" in the short to mid term is via telephone lines. But just a few million PCs "reaching into the Web" will shut down the public switched telephone network--there simply aren't enough circuits in the local telco offices to support the load.

Then there's the productivity issue. What is the opportunity cost of the millions of highly skilled and highly compensated hours being blown on "surfing the Net," let alone dealing with voluminous, and frequently vacuous, E-mail?

In short, let's have more reality in prognosticating about the Internet.

Andrew Allison

Carmel, Calif.

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