Should Broadband Be As Fast As Possible And Yet Bandwidth Should Be Unlimited?


broadband (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I’m going to write a quickie to voice my view in regarding to what WSJ had just reported… how the U.S. government is now probing the cable companies for their data cap.  Data cap is how we have to put up with the bandwidth prescription as cable companies may either throttle the broadband speed or charge us more if we’ve went beyond the bandwidth limit.  Whether it’s a good thing or not for the government to probe to see if there is an antitrust issue pertaining to how the cable companies have relied on the use of data cap to make profits, I think I should be bias and take the stances that side with customers and innovation.  Regarding to whatever else (e.g., more expensive digital contents, etc…), I think supply and demand will always play a major role in pushing down the prices, and so we should worry less unless something that may be beyond our control will dictate otherwise.  Furthermore, it’s obvious that data cap can allow the cable companies to destroy competitors’ business models (e.g., Netflix, Hulu) and bilk more money from broadband customers.

Look, we’re living in the Internet age or you can say it’s the information age, and whatever is in the way of the progress of this age is definitely an obstruction of everything that this age yearns for.  Albeit, this age isn’t everything glorious, because there are bad things and good things all mix up in the same soup — such as pornographic materials can be accessed by minors so easily but yet humans are more connected digitally than ever before… to allow knowledge to be transfer faster and cheaper.  This age is much more as it’s pushing the boundary of experimentations and summoning forth the innovations.  Albeit that people might consume too much digital goods and lose sight of being moderation, but this age is definitely has changed how people entertain themselves in plethora of ways.  Even more, this age allows transactions to be carried out way faster than before, therefore business can be done faster and so on.  The rises of Amazon, Netflix, Google, Apple (i.e., iPhone), and few other well known today brands that have real impact on the Internet — tell us a lot about the contributions that this age has to offer to humankind.  OK, let us not be so critical even though we know competitive, undercut, low prices of products and services that deal by the brands I mentioned previously may not last forever, but it’s what it’s as now — and the theory of supply and demand will continue to play a major role in easing down the unreasonable pricing of whatever that is hot in the market.

The next obvious step is to allow broadband to make deep penetration into small cities and rural areas.  Nonetheless, not only deep penetration matters a lot, but broadband has to be way more faster.  How come?  If you’re a Youtube user who constantly uploading new videos to your YouTube channel, you’ll know what I mean.  To upload a 12 GB 1080p high definition video, it would take around six hours or more to do so, if I’m not mistaken, with AT&T’s current Uverse upload speed which is just about 3Mbps.  If AT&T and other broadband providers can provide faster upload speed, users who are doing something as uploading videos to YouTube can totally be more productive as they will have more time to create videos and less time waiting for a video to be uploaded.  Sure, you can make the argument that these users can totally multitask their efforts such as using one computer to upload the videos and another computer to create and edit videos, but I still think that users can be more productive with faster upload speed as they can totally upload more videos to their YouTube channels than otherwise.  Instead of just only applying the positive effects of having faster upload speed to the uploading of YouTube videos, we can see that faster upload speed might allow home users to work with all things digital in a much more effective manner.  For an instance, home users can backup their computer data to the cloud way faster!  I can go on and on with this… but…  I don’t even want to address about how having faster broadband download speed is just as important as having faster broadband upload speed, because it’s obvious that so many nowadays applications are definitely data intensive than ever before (e.g., video streaming, teleconference, video gaming, online education, online data intensive project collaborations, data restoration from the cloud, etc…).

Technology is all about efficiency and progress.  If U.S. is struggling to keep up with world broadband standard, then we should push for faster broadband immediately.  If we keep on being slow in this market, we might too be left behind in other important markets.  After all, many markets nowadays are evermore depending on fast broadband penetration.  Of course broadband isn’t everything, but it’s a very big deal.  How big?  (OK, I admit I do not see the difference between broadband and mobile types of Internet connection, because in the end it’s all about how fast and how soon and how much data can travel from point A to point B!)  Soon, there will be even more people who will demand for even more smart phones (e.g., China, India), and so the Internet is going to be a busier place than ever before.  Sure, the future Internet might see the  inevitable rise in mobile traffics, but have we even considered about how our homes will get smarter?  Smarter homes mean more devices within homes will have Internet connectivity, therefore the Internet will get even bigger!  So, we can safely assume the Internet will continue to play a very big role in our future digital lives, therefore more innovations will come into existences soon.  Internet livelihood depends entirely on its own vibrant, and a sluggish Internet won’t be so vibrant.  With that in mind, a sluggish Internet is like an obstacle which obstructs the progress of future innovations.  Let say my view on why we need faster broadband, the one without any bandwidth limitation, is rather bias, but I think it does carry weight in term of thinking forward.  Let us look forward into the future where sluggish, limited broadband will be something of the archaic past.

Can Comcast Ditching 250 GB Data Cap Be A Sign For A Future Of Which The Old Media Becomes The Radio Of Today?

Picture of a Comcast service vehicle taken in ...

Picture of a Comcast service vehicle taken in an open area from a public street in Macomb, Illinois 61455 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PCMAG reported that Comcast will ditch the 250GB data cap for their customers soon, because Comcast is exploring the option of increasing the data cap beyond 250GB.  When questioned, Comcast refused to say that people needed more bandwidth, instead they said nowadays it simply makes sense to have their customers with bigger data cap since online videos are becoming evermore popular.  In my opinion, I think sooner or later, the ISP industry will get evermore competitive and people will use more data than the data cap allows.  The people who need more bandwidth will just have to leave the ISPs that do not provide bigger data cap.

Google might speed up the adoption of which to abandon the data cap altogether.  Obviously, I’m looking at how Google is providing 100 times faster than today Internet connection speed for Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO.  Perhaps, once Google thinks that they will reap even more profits by providing ultra fast fiber broadband beyond Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO., then the competition will definitely push more ISPs to rethink about data cap logic.

Sure, Google has deeper intention for offering ultra fast fiber broadband.  I think Google wants to make sure they have the experience in providing ISP service, because Google never knows that they might need to roll out their very own ISP service to just about anyone who relies on Google services.  Perhaps, Google fears that one day ISPs will be able to dictate what people can watch and download over the Internet.  If such a day will happen, Google’s ultra fast fiber broadband will be able to aid Google in providing Google whatever services over the web to just about anybody as usual.  Google will always be the master of its own Internet services!

Google is so depending on the Internet for its prosperity, therefore no matter is too small to be overlooked when it comes to how Google does business over the Internet — ultra fast fiber broadband service/experiment is definitely a defensive and possibly an offensive strategy.  I don’t think Google ultra fast fiber broadband has data cap, but I’m not sure.  Nonetheless, I think Google wants to promote a future where data can roam just about anywhere without being restrained by the data cap limitation.  It makes sense, because Google core business relies on unrestrained Internet.  One good example would be YouTube.  Sure, Adwords is what making Google the most money, but YouTube, in the near future, might be the most important medium of which to allow Google to increase its core business might (i.e., Internet advertising — Adwords and Adsense).  Of course, nobody would know for sure that YouTube will play out as we think Google has hoped, but at the rate of everyone is slowly ditching the traditional TV for online media — it’s only a matter of time when online media will rule the world and the traditional media (i.e., TV) has to become something like the radio of today.  So, in order for Google to prosper in the upcoming media order, Google has to make sure that YouTube will become evermore popular and people will want to stream YouTube videos evermore.

Google’s YouTube might be so powerful as to how it will attract advertising dollars like nobody has ever seen something like it before.  How come?  Imagine regular TVs will tune into YouTube channels and not the traditional TV channels.  Such a future is probably where YouTube wants to be!  I think such a future for YouTube is very very possible!  Google is creating and promoting original TV type of contents for YouTube, therefore this sort of actions from Google confirms the importance of YouTube in regarding to Google’s media/advertising business.

Google is probably not the only one who thinks about how important it is for folks to be able to use the Internet without data cap, because there are so many other companies out there whose sole business relies entirely on the Internet.  Especially Netflix, because Netflix relies on the ISPs not to tighten the data cap as Netflix customers need to be able to stream Netflix movies.  Eventually, the old media will see that it’s futile to hold back the wave of the new media, therefore I think data cap strategy is too narrow.  Even the ISPs will be able to profit hugely when data cap limitation will no longer be around.  How come?  Like I had mentioned earlier, people will just have to leave the ISPs that are not providing them enough bandwidth.  Some of you might argue that people might not be able to leave their old ISP, because there won’t be a second ISP within the same broadband coverage area.  Well, I think such thinking will be outdated.  How come?  We can just take a look at Google ultra fast fiber broadband experimentation and know that the future for ISP industry will be a lot more competitive.  I sure hope the future will allow people to have a lot more choice of choosing an ISP, and I think we are heading for such a future anyway.  This is why data cap is just too narrow of a strategy — a strategy which will make ISP industry looks petty and the rest look eager to push ahead for a brighter better broadband/Internet future.

Afterthought:  I don’t think to do away with data cap is to encourage piracy.  People who want to pirate are the people who will never pay for the things that they want to pirate in the first place, therefore forcing onto them with data cap plans is like asking them to be more prudent with what they want to pirate.  Furthermore, people who have great technological knowledge might hack into various networks so they can use such networks’ resources (e.g., bandwidth, storage space) for their piracy activities anyway.  This is why data cap is senseless for a future that relies evermore on a busier Internet/broadband highways.