* As the "public junctions" continue to clog, companies like MCI and Uunet are investing in alternative "private junctions" with the companies that "host" company Web sites--such as BBN Planet, which hosts the The Times site. That means the arrangements for fast, unimpeded data exchange will be developed--and paid for--on a case-by-case basis. There will be a bill for this kind of negotiated settlement that will find its way to the ISP companies--and eventually to the consumer.
* Despite all the talk about cable modems, wireless transmission may ultimately be more important. As the costs for Internet services rise, wireless services will look more economically feasible. Wireless will be the wind generator or solar panel of the next Internet generation.
* Another wild card is the possibility of changing government regulations. The government's push to extend wiring to schools and community centers, for example, may result in a required community contribution.
Hopefully, consumers who have begun to see what the Net can provide at its best will not start turning away as a result of the traffic problems. Already, it's clear that intermittent failures in service on the Internet or on AOL are no longer inconveniences; they are major interruptions in commerce, in research, in telecommuting.
Before we all just roll our eyes because the damn machine is taking too long, we ought to remember that so far, we've gotten a bargain. Making the speed match our expectations is going to touch the pocketbook.
In the meantime, I'm planning a side business in small books to be read while waiting for the appointed Web site to appear magically on my computer screen.
Terry Schwadron is deputy managing editor of The Times and oversees latimes.com, the Times Web site. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com