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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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May 22, 2008 8:34 AM

Streaming Media Industry Laments Lack of Broadband, Shrugs Its Shoulders

One of the more interesting threads through my conversations with the streaming media elite at Streaming Media East these past few days has been reactions to discussions about bandwidth.

On the one hand, there was a steady stream (no pun intended) of sentiment lamenting the current state of broadband and the fact that many parts of the country don't have high speed access capable of supporting high bandwidth video.

At the same time, very few I spoke to seemed fired up about the possibilities of the rapidly growing fiber industry.

Some cited the fact that they believed wireless was the future, and that once wireless network were delivering DSL/cable speeds that that's the most important thing, not having the ultra-high capacity of fiber.

Many, despite the sentiment that the telcos have not lived up to the promises made back in the 90s, seem perfectly fine sitting back and letting the market sort out deploying capacity. Their attitude is that demand will always fill supply, and that there's already a lot that can be done with today's networks.

Even those who were thinking about a future richer in bandwidth seemed to stop short of embracing the promise of fiber, citing the growing capacity of copper up into the 25-50Mbps as being more than sufficient to support most all of the applications available to use on the Internet today.

To some degree, I understand this attitude. These are all people building businesses and trying to make money off the current system. Sitting around and dreaming about a future where bandwidth is unlimited won't make them any money in the near-term, especially with the market of fiber-connected homes being so small relative to the overall market.

At the same time, I continue to be disappointed by the general lack of enthusiasm I get when broaching the subject of 100Mbps to the home. Either people don't see the value above and beyond current broadband, or they don't think it's realistic that people will have that much bandwidth any time soon, so they don't seem to want to be bothered by it.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some developers who share my enthusiasm about a full fiber future, but we've got to be realistic that without those thought leaders who are innovating and making all the wonderful things on the Internet possible, if we can't capture their imagination, than we're going to be fighting for 100Mbps with one hand tied behind our back.

The reality is there are very, very few applications that demand 100Mbps. Of course, before there will be many there'll have to be more customers with the capacity to use them, but before that we must plant the seed into the heads of everyone working on building the Internet that a future where 100Mbps and beyond is ubiquitous is not only possible but should be the ultimate goal we're all working together towards. Only then will we start to see more ideas and more possibilities open up for demonstrating the value of full fiber networks.


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