Geekspin Blog

Broadband to become essential. Just like water and power.

Posted on: June 29, 2006

We are living in exciting times, I sometimes forget the incredible advances that we have made in the last 50 years, its scary to think that the BMW M5 has multiple times the processing power of all the computers involved in putting the Eagle on the moon.

Where will technology take us within the next 5,10,20 years? What amazing things will we have available to improve our quality of life?

The large-scale deployment of IPv6 will see a world where every imaginable (and sometimes unimaginable device) will be IP ready and jacked into the grid, self-restocking fridges will be commonplace, digital cameras will auto-upload to online storage, our TV’s will receive media off the net and VoIP will be king.

For content providers this means the end of dictated content – `user interactive` and `on-demand` become the norm and `broadcasting` becomes old news, the user will control his own usage, the independent content producer will be able to get his content to a much wider audience now and we will really see the effect of the long tail. Yeah, this all sure sounds a lot like podcasting (which is very “now”), except it will go through a series of changes before ultimately becoming mainstream, podcasting is still very edgy today and it stands out from other forms of user-generated media only because of the time-shifting aspect, i.e. download while you sleep.

I expect that the rapid adoption of municipal WiFi/WiMax/Mesh type technology will accelerate and soon entire cities will be blanketed with always-in internet, this will become an essential service and not a luxury. Blanket WiFi will change the face of technologies like podcasting and devices like the iPod, why have a hard drive if you can just download what you are watching on the fly and it costs next to nothing? Do you even need a hard drive on that device? Already services like are hugely popular as they are so well tailored to your taste and it helps you find good content all for the price for a bit of bandwidth.

Another thorn in the side of local storage applications, especially video ones, will be the rapid consumption of disk space, imagine having to cache anything approaching a healthy collection of HD-DVD/TV content on your local machine. Now all of you are going to shout at me and say that disk storage is cheap but history has told us that while the amount of storage on the “standard” drive of the day keeps multiplying (Moore’s Law), the fact is that the number of disk hungry applications also follow that trend and it has really never gotten much cheaper to physically buy that standard hard disk. Example: My 512Mb , 2 Gig, 20 Gig, 40 Gig, 80 Gig etc. drive purchases over the last few years have always been roughly as expensive as the one before it (twice the storage at the same price) and if I need to buy a few of them it still hurts my wallet 🙂 No, off-site/remote hosting is key.

Our digital persona’s will be irrevocably intertwined with our real lives, already we have seen the rise of the so-called MySpace generation, the next gens, they will demand unlimited access to blogging and social networking sites and to them being disconnected for any amount of time will be like hell.

Most of our personal computing will move onto the grid, take Gmail for example, I already can’t operate without it and to that reason network connectivity will need to become much more reliable with more fail safes and alternates in case something does go wrong.

We will track the movements of our loved ones with RFID and even the traffic department will use RFID to bill you for using a toll-road. Don’t make a mistake, big brother will be able to track you!

All-in-all I look forward to huge changes in everyday of life via new technologies, but I do find myself fearing that in South Africa we will be left behind due to the slow movement of the broadband glacier in this country due to socio-economic complications and plain old greed on behalf of the powers that be.

Luckily there are some people out there with vision! Just this evening I met someone attempting to start up a new WiMax based operator, he really seems to “get” broadband and realises that you cant retain customers by contract but rather by good service.

Lets back our local innovators, lets make our voices heard. Lets liberate our broadband. Recently heard someone mentioning the `Bandwidth Liberation Front` in jest, but seriously, has it become time for the “Broadband Liberation Front”? I already see developed countries like the USA grumbling that they are getting left behind in the high-stake game of Ultra-broadband, jeepers.


7 Responses to "Broadband to become essential. Just like water and power."

Nice to see you flexing your knowledge muscle bro. Let your voice be added to those who are increasingly expressing concern that we need to move faster and invest more in broadband-wireless as a country.

This “problem” in South Africa, wrt Broadband, can be summarized by two concepts: “supply and demand” and “Market Intervention”. Majority of people in SA don’t understand the Internet therefore they don’t see the need. The government intervenes too much in this market. So give it 5 to 10 years. Anyway like where you going with this – your own work, so to speak.

TYFYC, agreed that education is a large problem, its a chicken and egg situation, people don’t see a need for something unless they have been exposed to it, but at the same time, how do you get exposed to something that is by definition a scarce resource in this country?

[…] Most of us haven’t a clue where the web is leading us and the concepts of web 2.0, MMORPG’s, SEO or even blogs (what’s that?!) are not even a reality to a major chunk of humanity. But nonetheless our global consensual reality is under construction & the developers>> yes, the GEEK shall inherit the earth 😉 […]

[…] Make a prediction, and state your reasons. This is a good way to flex your knowledge muscle, and possibly spark debate among your readers (e.g. Broadband to become essential…) […]

Really nice post. The thing that worries me most about the tech world today is that I believe the devide between the tech haves and have-nots will accelerate to such an extent that it will leave whole countries and cultures – specifically in Africa – in the middle ages with no way of catching up. The effect of this is going to be much more significant than what we can imagine today – and will just increase poverty and suffering around the world unless we find ways of taking eveyone with us (and I mean the whole world). The future is not bright. Max, the GEEK will be killed in tech wars.

[…] Yip, even Geekspin knows that broadband is a basic utility. If you need ADSL installed at your business give Liveweb’s Giovanni a call, you wont have to call Telkom, they’ll call you. Only thing you’ll have to do is wait 6-8 weeks on Telkom like the rest of us. Read the Broadband Internet is a Basic Business Utility article on IOL Technology. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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