Information Super Highway (Traffic Jam Ahead)

In the 90s, the Clinton/Gore adminstration spoke of building the Information Supper Highway. That is before we all realized that we had a highway, The Internet.  In those days, I was busy building the on and off ramps by developing and investing in residential broadband.  There is an interesting speech in 1996 by Reed Hundt the FCC chairman at the time.  And he even quotes me as saying ”

  The greatest obstacle slowing the development of the
Internet is the limited bandwidth available on the last mile, or
the bike path at the end of the information highway as Avram
Miller of Intel refers to it.  There are great hopes that the
competition stimulated by the telecommunications legislation will
help bring down the prices and increase the bandwidth to the

Well competition in the USA did not do its job.  The last mile is still pretty much a bicycle path. And the highway is anything but a supper highway (you have to go to Korea or Japan to get that).  And we are about to go into a pretty big melt down as video moves to the net.  It can all be fixed but it will take time and it will take money. And the uncertainties of regulation will slow this down even further.  The broadband ISP’s (cable, Telco and BPL) have to invest in all aspects of their networks to provide the quality of bandwidth that we all want.  But they can only do this if they get a return. I believe in an open system where any company can reach any consumer.  So I would not like to see the broadband ISP making special “bandwidth deals” with content suppliers.  I do not want the internet turn into cable TV.  But we also need to have the bandwidth and that means you and I will have to pay for this.  But why not.  We are saving money on phone calls, TV etc.    But we are also going to have to be smart about how the net is used.  Right now it does resemble a highway which is pretty much empty most of the 24 hours but tied in knots during peak hours.  It would be nice if the P2P guys kept that in mind.


You can get a nice bandwidth monitor here.

By the way, these opinions are mind and not necessarily the views of the companies on whose boards I serve.

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