Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
In commenting on a common question I get - Can I combine two internet connections to get a faster connection? - I mentioned that my own connection was still basic DSL - 768k bits per second down, and 128k up, and that my telephone company can't provide DSL any faster. I also live in an area without cable, so my broadband options are quite limited.
A few years ago, when I got that connection, I remember feeling like it was blazingly fast. Certainly faster than the 128k ISDN connection I had before, and naturally way faster than dial-up which connected at about 33k.
But today that 768/128 feels ... slow.
A reader responded by pointing out that where he lives, while those kind of speeds are available they're not the norm and that what I have is considered quite good.
And I certainly realize that. In many areas even DSL is not an option, and dial-up is the only way to connect. Broadband speeds - say anything over 56k dialup - are most certainly not available, or affordable, everywhere.
So beyond the "digital divide", we have what I guess I'd call the "bandwidth divide". Those that have high speed internet and those that do not. It presents a challenge for website developers as feature rich interactive websites now pretty much rely on broadband speeds for full functionality. Heck, even simple concepts like Youtube or Google Video are simply beyond the reach or patience of dialup users.
The reader asked "When will people be satisfied with what they have?"
My response is simple: never. Internet use naturally expands to exceed current capacity, no matter what that current capacity is.
5 years ago things like YouTube and Google Video didn't exist. iTunes wasn't in the picture. And I wasn't trying to remote-manage my wife's business computers from across the internet. Now broadband speeds are making all these things, and more, possible.
And while I can do all of that today with my 768/128, I'd do them faster, and start doing some new things, with more speed. With more speed comes more possibilities. As website and other service providers can begin to rely on the majority of their users having higher speed connections, they'll build out new and interesting services that require it. As people see these new services, they'll be clamoring for more speed. It's an upward spiraling circle of features, bandwidth and market bandwidth adoption.
But wherever you are on the spiral sooner or later it won't be enough.
And I'm guessing sooner.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11075 in the go to article number box and leave me a comment. While you're there, search over 1,000 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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