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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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April 9, 2008 2:33 PM

Lack of Bandwidth Hurts Internet Innovation in America

Joost is an Internet TV platform that delivers high quality video using P2P technology.

Unlike BitTorrent, a P2P technology primarily concerned with the downloading of large files, Joost leverages P2P to deliver instant-on video, creating a TV-like experience over the Internet.

Joost's founders were some of the same people behind the multi-billion dollar success of Skype, the P2P chat/voice/videocalling communications platform. It was easily the most hyped product over a year or two ago, promising to have a YouTube-like impact on the delivery of high quality content.

Only they ran into a problem: not enough bandwidth.

P2P delivery systems rely on the bandwidth of its users to distribute content. So once you've downloaded a piece of video your computer essentially becomes a server helping distribute that video back out to other users.

Because of this P2P is very reliant on having robust upload capacity in order to send data back out from users after they've downloaded it. And this challenge was even more acute for Joost as it attempts to enable that instant-on experience that is much more sensitive to latency than the typical BitTorrent where users know it's going to take a while to download a large file like a high quality, full-length movie so they'll just turn it on and walk away.

As it turns out, despite its huge promise to introduce a new paradigm for P2P delivery, America just doesn't have enough bandwidth.

There are many other reasons cited for their disappointing performance, as listed in this article and the articles linked therein, but the underlying one really seemed to be that without sufficient bandwidth they can't deliver the level of service their technology holds the potential to enable.

Color me officially frustrated that the US's lack of big bandwidth connectivity, especially upstream, and the lagging adoption among the mainstream public has now clearly led to constraining innovation on the Internet.

I and others often talk about the ability to greater capacity to drive greater innovation. Now here we clearly see an example where the opposite is true as well: the less bandwidth you have the less innovation you'll realize.

(Lots more to come from Lafayette, but taking a brief break after three straight nights of not enough sleep, too much fun, a string of speeches, and meeting a ton of great people...and I haven't even mentioned the food!)


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