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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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September 14, 2007 9:22 AM

Meet Rich - Verizon's 100Mbps Man

Don’t know how I missed this: earlier this month Verizon allowed regarded tech columnist Om Malik to send questions to a Verizon employee named Rich who’s been wired for 100Mbps access to his home to discuss how it’s changed his life.

The full transcript for the questions and answers can be found on Verizon’s Policy Blog. And Om’s writeup about it on GigaOm.

Long story short: Having 100Mbps doesn’t make all that much difference as nothing on the Web is optimized to take advantage of all that capacity.

Truth be told, though, Rich probably wasn’t the best test subject. All he used that capacity for was watching some video, doing a little VPN, and other basic web surfing.

What I want to know is what would someone from a younger demographic think about having it? The ones who are gaming, downloading multiple movies from BitTorrent, making videocalling, and so on.

Also, while Verizon’s tests are notable and prove their commitment to pushing the bandwidth envelope, they’re far from alone in achieving the FTTH Council’s goal of a 100Mbps Nation.

I’ve spoken with Paul Morris, head of UTOPIA, on many occasions about how he uses the 100Mbps connection he has at home. He’s a big proponent of videocalling technologies like VSee and TVBlob. And he’s an avid user of Slingbox while on the road. In fact, the use of applications like these has resulted in him now uploading more bits than he’s downloading.

And 100Mbps isn’t even the ceiling any more. At the Broadband Properties Summit I had the opportunity to catch up with Phillip Clark, head of Paxio, a FTTH provider that’s offering 1Gbps connectivity to its customers.

What I found most interesting about all of this was reading through the comments to Malik’s article.

While many people were excited about the possibility of having 100Mbps to the home, there was a strong sentiment questioning the need for all that bandwidth. Most of them felt that if they could only get a symmetrical 10-20Mbps connection that they’d have all the bandwidth they need right now.

Of course, 100Mbps to the home is more about future-proofing the network than supplying bandwidth to meet current demand levels, but I find it interesting to think about the fact that while the FTTH industry is racing towards this 100Mbps goal, perhaps there isn’t all that much demand for that level of speed. And if that’s the case, why focus our attention on achieving it in the near-term?

That said, demand is building, as evidenced by this comment that describes how one person uses the Internet:

“…I spend a great deal of time online in Second Life hosting events that requires streaming audio as well as multi-tasking with other graphic apps, playing iTunes, downloading music (legally of course!), chatting on Yahoo, Gmail, MSN and answering the odd Skype call all within the same time frame. If having a 100 Mbps FiOS would make these tasks any better ….. then hey.” - digitalfemme


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Comments (1)

Hey Geoff:

The Verizon guy is completely a reflection of Verizon's mass-market viewpoint. Which is: shut up and keep paying for whatever services we've decided to give everyone. What's good enough for your neighbor and 20 million others ought to damn well be good enough for you.

Offering 100 Mbps today would totally cannabalize their plans to slowly increment bandwidth over 20 years while retaining maximum ARPU.

The only way out of the mess is private Internet access networks, privately financed. When the community owns the infrastructure they can decide for themselves how fast (as fast as the pipes go), for how much, and then to each his/her own. In other words, what's good enough for my neighbor (driving to Blockbuster) may NEVER be good enough for me (HD downloads, HD VTC, in-home servers) or vice versa.

Communities should get to the Internet as fast and as economically they can (this will vary widely based on location)--with the barest minimum of intermediaries. Once there, the fullest bounty of quality and cost service alternatives (ultra-fast Google, kick-ass iTunes, and hundreds of yet-to-be-invented services that cannot be killed by incumbents)awaits!

Posted by Mark Premo on September 18, 2007 8:35 PM

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