The Internet once used to be one massive open expanse of content, where there were no roadblocks towards accessing content. That’s one of the defining attributes of the early Internet, and it was the attribute that enthralled us.
A few decades later, the Internet is no longer what it once was. Greedy corporations and closed-minded governments have resulted in a fragmented Internet. No longer can a person in a country like Iraq say that they have the same access as a person in the United States.
Governments have been asking ISPs to block sites in their countries, and no country does this better than China, which has the Great Firewall. Everything you do on the Internet in China goes through the great firewall, and if you access a site that is blacklisted, tough luck.
Then there were the online services that segmented users according to region, and either outright didn’t allow them access to content, or allowed access to a limited library of content. This was primarily because of greedy media companies, who wanted to coerce these services into buying licensing rights in every country, rather than buying rights once and being done with it.
The only savior to the people in these countries was the VPN, which looked like the gateway to an open internet. It allows you to mask your true browsing location and look like you are browsing from any country you want, thus removing all roadblocks and access the Internet as it was meant to be: A vast open atmosphere with no one telling you what content to consume.
And now, Opera has annnounced that it is integrating a completely free VPN in the developer version of its browser, and that heralds a lot of possibilities. For the first time, we have a free and reliable VPN for the masses. There were free VPNs before, such as the ones by Hola, but they were more than just VPNs: They infected your PC and slowed it down.
Now that a player like Opera has entered the fray, VPNs have become much more accessible. No longer is your wallet a barrier between you and the open Internet. For Opera, it means a unique leg up that would enable it to attract more users, which it truly needs considering that it is far behind Chrome and Mozilla when it comes to the size of its userbase. For the users, they now have a free VPN. A win-win situation.
What do you think?