Welcome to the Videodrome. Why High speed broadband is the wrong priority.

Two sources tell us the same thing – we need 100mbs internet links and we need them now. The Broadband Stakeholder Group tells us that future internet use in the UK will flounder without an expensive infrastructure upgrade

There was little evidence that the UK’s existing telecoms infrastructure would be able to bring such high speeds to much of the population

Whilst Om Malik warns the same is true of the US

Every day we twiddle our thumbs, we lose some of the edge when it comes to developing clever ways to use the bandwidth.

For me Om has the problem wrong. The first thing to solve is universal access. Ensuring everyone has their 2 or 4mbps is also going to unleash innovation. Compare it with the problem of clean water. Water to every home is the first priority, but not every home needs an industrial sized pipe. Those that do can and will find ways to get the supply they need.

And vast speeds dont give us more time. Being able to download an entire library does not mean I’ll read it. Downloading a thousand podcasts doesn’t mean I listen to them. If we want the internet to drive innovation and support some social benefit then universal access comes first, better upload speeds to make it easier for people to participate and express themselves next, and only then a more widely available ultra high speed network.

After all the latter is really designed to support the videodrome – as much about the online TV and advertising as it is about innovation which improves lives.

Others: Skuds Eric
Hat Tip Drew B Stewart Jones

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One comment

  1. Pete Ashton says:

    I have these little meters on my taskbar which tell me how fast stuff is coming down the pipe. The max is 400 KB/s and most sites barely reach that. Flickr, for example, rarely tops 150 or so. Google Video often caps downloads to 200.

    Also, the more bandwidth you have, the more you want. I find myself getting annoyed that 2gb won’t download now, which was unimaginable a few years back.

    What I really need is fatter upload pipes. Currently Telewest / Virgin limit me to 45 KB/s which takes forever when uploading photos / video. The current 10:1 ratio assumes we use the net just to consume which isn’t very web 2.0.

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