I was just reading an article (posted a couple days ago) on news.com about how the Bells are hindering US broadband expansion.
Read the article yourself for the opinion – basically, handing the keys to control the broadband doors back to the incumbent Bells will slow broadband use in the US. OK, I agree with the author in many ways, but the article set me off tangentially.
(Don’t you just love it when you’re tangential?)
I was thinking about how I’ve seen, oh, five billion or so ads [print and Web]/TV commercials and so on touting broadband and what it means.
And in most cases, what was really touted as the big deal was the “rich media” experience.
Streaming news/entertainment clips.
Stuff like that – that, before broadband, you could only do on your computer, because even the slowest computer had a much faster CPU/bus combo than 2400-5600 baud. You could only squeeze so much out of that copper before DSL came along.
OK. With broadband (DSL, cable, Dish, I don’t care….) you can do a lot of the stuff as advertised via the Net.
But that misses the whole point.
things about broadband are the following two
points (yes, only
- Always on. With a mature OS (be it a UNIX variant or Win2000; let’s not quibble), you can leave the computer on for extended (week plus) periods and always have the Internet an application launch away (browser, e-mail, whatever). THIS is the broadband killer app. Example: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been watching a movie/TV with someone and gotten into a discussion like “Wasn’t [he/she] in?…” or whatever. So I hit Google or nbc.com or whatever. I get the answers; advertisers get the impression. I would never boot up just for this. NEVER.
- Fast for ordinary tasks. While a distant second in importance, this is a broadband feature that is way undersold. Yes, Yahoo! and Google are optimized to be fast on even the slowest connections. But what if you want to shop at baitAndTackle.com? Think they’ve optimized the site – with the 50K images and embedded WAV files – for narrowband? Nah… The ability to do the normal without a wait is HUGE.
Ever wonder why AOL is losing money and customers? MSN is fighting to get customers?
Well, there are about a million reasons, but one of the things that always amuses (i.e. laugh or you’ll cry) me is how much money is tossed at building these so-called “Broadband Portals.”
Who gives a rat’s ass?
While many people – the timid or newbies – will behave like the Intenet begins and ends with the portal and its proprietary offerings, most have either outgrown this “BBS-like” system or at least get the concept that there is something outside the AOL garden.
Google doesn’t advertise. Everyone uses it; it makes money.
News.com and Slashdot have huge followings. They are not portals.
Ebay and Amazon are totally doable on narrowband (but, obviously to me better on broadband. Just for the speed in and out). But on broadband, I can skate through the sites more quickly. Yes, I may miss some things I may have seen had I had to wait for a page to roll in, but I think – overall – I see more when the pages snap in at near T-1 speeds.
Broadband is good for business: Advertisers and sellers.
Buyers, as well.
Broadband is all about removing the mystique of the Internet (or, at least, the Web), of making it possible to quickly navigate (hence, find more, stumble upon more), of allowing people to move outside the walled gardens of AOL/MSN etc.
This is a good thing. It’s the first step in making the Internet transparent to most users.
Think about it – think about your mom/grandmother – booting up (“booting up?”) a computer and listening to the modem trying to connect with it’s screeches and whines. And frequent and unexpected drops.
The techie gets it; we are part of a very small minority overall.
Isn’t it better to have a computer like a radio or TV (better, because you can put it in sleep mode) that is always just a click away from the Internet. That collects e-mail while you sleep?
Why is that bad?
Why isn’t that advertised more heavily?