Bonkers for broadband

bonkers_1A couple of developments on the broadband front: AT&T and others have shut down their bandwidth meters where customers were charged based on how much they downloaded, with penalties for overages included. I can’t think of a better way to kill demand than by putting a throttle on the Internet.

Let’s face it, huge bandwidth increases are going to have to combine with hugely more efficient compression strategies to get us to where the Internet is going. And where is that?

Well, the pipe will be feeding data 24/7 with all digital content coming over IP, servicing huge live networks of interconnected cloud-based appliance and household management systems from security to maintenance and smart grid energy management, to cloud-based SaaS applications with five or six active computers online at any given time in each household including gaming, educational delivery and grocery inventory control.

How will this monster be fed? Who knows. Customers won’t pay for all these services becasue the pain threshhold on monthly bills for communications is in the process of being exceeded right now.

And that leads us to the dark side of broadband access and development – and that is treating it like a utility with all the attendant regulations and government oversight that comes along with it. There’s plenty in that scenario to retard the web’s growth too.

The FCC is making a play to regulate the web and broadband as we speak. The agency promises a “light” touch – but that just doesn’t seem likely in the current political environment.

So what’s the answer? Who the heck knows. Washington State is looking for, or has hired, a broadband evangalist who will go around and promote broadband. Well, that’s great – but what do we promote? A prayer for a magic fairy to come lay fat wires all across the land for free?

It’s about as good as any other idea out there.