I have listened to a BBC Radio 5 Live radio broadcast that was available on-demand from the BBC Website about how we will benefit from the next-generation broadband Internet technology that is being rolled out now.
The BBC Radio 5 Live interview compared the current situation with what happened 10 years ago when broadband “hot-and-cold running Internet” came on the scene. At that time, the primary method of connection to the Internet was dial-up, typically with a second PSTN phone line for Internet use. The primary personal Internet applications were emailing and Web surfing, with some instant-messaging thrown in. There were questions about whether we needed the higher bandwidth of the always-on broadband services or not.
Nowadays, the norm for Internet connectivity is an “always-on” broadband service of at least 1Mbps, more like 2Mbps and we are doing more with these services. Here we are using the Social Web, with services like Facebook and Twitter; as well as multimedia-driven computing applications like YouTube and IPTV / Web video. It would also include IP-driven telephony applications like VoIP including Skype; where you benefit from low-cost long-distance telephone calls, FM-grade voice telephony and the arrival of the videophone which was only thought of in science fiction.
This is although there is a persistent group of naysayers who continue to doubt the need for next-generation broadband. They would reckon that the current technology would satisfy current usage needs. Personally, I have seen the effects of Moore’s Law where the capacity increases and the cost decreases for a technology, thus opening up new applications or enhancing the experience of current applications.
One main application group that the broadcast talked of as being feasible with super-fast broadband was health and well-being applications mainly in the form of telehealth services. This included the idea of “independent ageing” which I would see as a reality as people live longer and the age-associated degradation takes longer to set in.
Personally, I would find that as the next-generation broadband Internet services light up in many neighbourhoods, it will be more about an enhanced and rich Internet experience.