Posts Tagged broadband

High speed Internet? Are you high?

I got a call over the weekend from a telemarketer that wanted me to switch to their “high-speed Internet” service.  He said he could save me a ton of money if I’d just sign up with him.

“How fast is high-speed?” I asked. 

“Up to 3 Mbps,” he replied, smugly. 

Let’s leave aside the hilarity of the “up to” part of his answer and focus instead on the raw speed.  Is 3Mbps fast?  Well sure, compared to dial-up; but seriously, is any serious Internet user still comparing their experience to dial-up?   What can you do with 3Mbps?  And I wonder why he didn’t mention upload speed?

I can’t imagine trying to squeeze all the things I need to do through a soda straw like 3Mbs.  Between the video conferencing, Slingbox media stream, surveillance webcam traffic, ftp uploads, RSS downloads, media downloads, email, messaging, gaming, not to mention the Internet habits of the rest of the folks in the house, it seems to me that the link to my house would be bulging like a worn out garden hose on a hot summer afternoon.

Which brings me to the next bit of gristle in the sandwich – fair access policy (FAP) enforcement.  You see, I’ve played this game a time or two.  I sign up with a service that promises “up to” a certain speed only to find out that they cap the usage of folks who actually need the speed the most.  And the company that called is one of the best at playing Whack-A-Mole with their most demanding users.

So I passed.

Just curious; what kind of broadband speed do you get?  What speed do you need?

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Be careful what you wish for with broadband

An old proverb bids us, “Be careful what you wish for; you may get it.”  Such might be the case with broadband.

Investment in broadband infrastructure is being discussed in the economic stimulus package being wrangled in the US Congress.  but a thought-provoking missive by Bob Frankston cautions us to think differently about our desire for connectivity, lest we get further trampled by the telecom and cable providers.

The priority should be making it simple to make connections (relationships) between devices and other end points. Instead we spend all our time trying to navigating dark twisting passages and feeling frustrated by how much time and effort we waste and how little we accomplish.

Bob warns us that unless we begin to think differently about what simple connectivity actually represents, we’re likely to be investing a lot of money into a set of technologies designed to deliver the applications we already have, not building a foundation for the promise of the future.

So, what do you really want?

Roger Farnsworth

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