Thursday, July 03, 2008

Is broadband saturation necessary?

I can understand the drive by internet content producers and providers to push for complete broadband saturation - they get more money from either fees or advertising. But I think that misses the point entirely. The push for broadband saturation seems like an issue of vanity for the tech crowd. I was listening to a podcast a couple of weeks ago where the commentators were lamenting that US broadband usage is 'so' low. When I think about it, not everybody needs broadband - nor do they want it. If all you do on the internet is check your email and the weather, then broadband isn't really cost effective. Or perhaps keeping dial-up access is a way of limiting yourself from attachment to the internet. Either way its a good argument for not getting broadband access. On the other hand, if a person in the US wants to get broadband then they should have access to it - this is the only good reason I can see for pushing for broadband saturation. If we push for broadband saturation simply because we want to compare better with other countries then we've totally missed the boat and are not using our resources efficiently.

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3 comments:

BowHunter said...

My brother is living in northern New Hampshire. He NEEDS broadband for work and for online classes and can't get it. He has to go to the next town over and sit in star-bucks to do his work... The only option for him is satellite internet which has terrible upload speeds and costs a fortune.

Nomad said...

The problem is of chicken and the egg. Your grandmother only uses the internet for e-mail and to check the weather, because - in part - her dial-up connection can't handle any more. The lack of supply leads to a lack of demand. I have met NO ONE who has gone to broadband and voluntarily has gone back to dial-up for the simple reason that broadband transforms your experience. YouTube, Flickr, etc. are all virtually useless on dial up and until you use them, you simply do not "get" the value of them.

Keep in mind also many of the health and safety options of ubiquitous broadband. Some cities now use it to monitor traffic lights, monitor sensors for radioactive or hazardous material, use it to track traffic patterns, etc. None of these are possible without complete broadband saturation.

We won't ever have 100% broadband in this country because of the large tracks of undeveloped land, unlike Japan or England. Cellular service can provide some of that, but not all. But the more we do, the more value we will see in it and the more demand there will be to expand it.

CRCHAIR said...

Broadband internet should be like Cable TV. Available almost everywhere, but not required to be available everywhere. The internet is the new Telephone/cables lines and is almost a necessity to be part of our modern society. We would all think it was pretty weird if someone had no phone (wired or cell).