Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

Summary: HDTV Internet video, SaaS, and applications we haven't even dreamed of yet.


After my recent piece on the cost of small office/home office bandwidth was published, I heard from many people. Some sample responses to Verizon's new monthly deal of 150 Megabits per second (Mbps) down and 35Mbps up for $194.99 include: "I pay $40 a month now and it works fine, why do I want to pay 5x as much for capacity I don't miss?" "Okay, understand that I do, like 120% of my work on the Internet, I don't think I could justify ~$200/month." And, "You buying? Then yes. Otherwise, ha ha ha ha ha."

OK. I get it. Verizon is going to have a hard row to hoe to find customers willing to pay almost $200 a month for business-class broadband. The reasons Verizon gives for people to want to the deal that "consumers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie (1.5 gigabytes) in less than 80 seconds, and a two-hour HD movie (5 GB) in less than four and a half minutes," and, "Downloading 20 high-resolution photographs (100 megabytes) would take less than five and a half seconds using the 150/35 Mbps service. With the 35 Mbps upstream speed, consumers can upload those same 20 high-resolution photos in less than 23 seconds," aren't that compelling. Well, not at that price-point anyway.

I see compelling reasons coming though. For example, Internet video is the future of television. Indeed, Netflix is already moving from DVDs to streaming. As we move from lossy encoded 720p HDTV to 1080p and 3D TV that 150Mbps won't be looking so much like overkill as it does now.

In addition, video games like World of Warcraft are already available in 1080p. Others will soon join them. I can also foresee shopping shopping Web sites with 3D animations and HDTV.

We're also already seeing more and more end-user programs migrating to the Web. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) used to be a business only proposition. Today, many of us, including yours truly, use Google Docs on a regular basis. Google's Chrome operating system will have a minimum Linux desktop footprint, but will rely on Google applications for almost everything else.

It's not just Google driving this though. Microsoft is also diving into the SaaS end of the pool. While Microsoft wants to sell you Microsoft Office, they won't object too much if you subscribe to their lightweight Office applications on Office 365. There's also talk going around that Windows 8 may be a desktop-as-a-service.

All these entertainment, shopping and office programs are going to need a lot of bandwidth. Besides, there will be other applications we haven't even dreamed up yet that will take every bit of Internet connectivity we can get and more besides.

I know you may not see this happening yet, but I assure you it will. The rumor goes that Bill Gates once said, "640K ought to be enough for anybody" and that Thomas Watson, founder of IBM once remarked that "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Just as we somehow found need for much more memory and a lot more computers. we will find uses for all that bandwidth. Perhaps HD cosplay World of Warcraft gaming? And, after we have dreamed up these applications, we'll wonder how we ever lived without them.

That is, for those of us who will get access to that kind of bandwidth at any price. In 2010, I still have one friend who's stuck with a 56 Kilobit per second (Kbps) modem access. While my updated saying goes "You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much bandwidth," it's also true that while some of us will have access to 100Mbps to 1Gpbs bandwidth, many others won't. We still need to address this issue or we'll be a nation, a world, of digital haves and digital have-nots.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Broadband, Cloud, Google, Networking, Verizon

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  • yeah but video is gen. streamed.. i.e. vs. downloaded...

    meaning, it buffers a bit, then starts playing as it's downloading the rest.. which means that as long as the movie can download in less that 1.5-3hrs (the length of the movie) you're fine.. <br><br>BlueRay's data rate is 42Mb/s max so 1080p BlueRay quality video is possible with about a 50Mb/s service (allowing for some headroom for others to such down stuff on the network) and 150Mb/s is wholey overkill.. and if it's compresses slightly to be basically indistinguishable from the BlueRay original 25-30Mb/s would be fine.. 150Mb/s for video streaming is ridongculous even for uncompressed, 1080p 3D video steaming...
    • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?


      Uverse is all IPTV, I believe it runs at 25mbsp. Their HD looks great and channels are fast to flip.
      • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

        @hfsma UVerse has a limited number of feeds (2 HD, 2 SD) and it's actually less than you mentioned but reserved bandwidth. I have 24/3 Mbps internet with them but my actual line connection is 32/5, the rest is for TV
    • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?


      It wouldn't necessarily be overkill. It ultimately depends on the number of users in your household. A 50Mbps data rate would only allow one bluray quality video to be streamed at a time. If you have teens at home, you'll probably need the capacity to watch at least 2 bluray quality movies simultaneously with some headroom to spare. That's where this sort of bandwidth would come in handy. 150Mbps sounds like a lot, but that's just barely 19MB of data transmitted every second. The price for this data rate is quite high, though.
    • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

      @doctorSpoc <br><br>I'm all for higher speeds. In Australia, we are currently building a National Broadband Network that will give us those increased speeds. It's like the examples mentioned in the blog, you can't see all the possible uses until it's actually there.<br><br>But if it comes to global FPS MMO gaming and to a lesser extent WoW, latency is the real problem. The light speed barrier means there's only one solution to get 50msec ping - bury massive wireless servers at the earth's core.<br><br>So Microsoft, Google and Apple - who has a mole machine?
      • In Australia,......


        isn't anything worth watching blocked? ;-)
    • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

      @doctorSpoc But what about when your wife is watching another 1080p in the bedroom and your kids are playing a game at 1080p in their room and... you get the idea. It adds up.

  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    Personally Rapidshare at my house runs at 2.2 mb per second if I could get that up to 50 mb per second I would be in heaven!! so yes I'll take faster internet anytime.
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    I know why I would want ultra fast broadband, I don't know why I'd want to pay $200 a month for it.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

      @Loverock Davidson

      Is it really that much more? my all unlimited cell phone plan is only 99... what's another 100?
      • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?


        ...still not enough for this service unless you're ditching your cell phone to do it.
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    The obvious, faster is better.
    Some vids would load faster and some downloads would go way fast.
    Not something that I have to have.
    My 3meg is just fine and cheap.
  • At what latency?

    I have zero use for streaming TV, but lag on my X sessions to the office are another matter.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    Couple things come to mind here.
    Firstly, most of the downloads I see are bandwidth restricted at the other end. Unless I'm grabbing a file from a fast server that's near me I'm just not going to get a full speed DL. How is this going to improve my experience, then?
    Then I have a minor correction. Most online video games (MMOs) are not streamed and the content actually resides locally. The amount of data you send and receive in a game like World of Warcraft has no relation to the resolution of the monitor. It would be the same amount of data at 1440x900 as it would be at 1920x1080 or 2560x1600.
    • Re: Fast Servers

      Does Net Neutrality apply here? If the server is limiting my download speed (or blocking my access to content, services, etc.) should they be required to upgrade?
      • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

        @cmollerstuen One hopes you have your tongue in your cheek. Nice try, though. I'll pass that on at our next architecture meeting!
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    I don't.
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    150Mbps is useless if:
    - The server does not allow you to download/stream at a high enough speed
    - The pipe between your home and the server is not fat enough. This is especially the case here, in Singapore. We have NBN rolling out now, at a much more affordable price, but international bandwidth is just 15Mbps. So what's the point?
    - You just plain have no use for that sort of bandwidth. For most web use, this is absolute overkill. The only stuff that needs that sort of throughput is 3x HD video (BluRay quality). Or HD video upstream.
  • RE: Why would you want ultra-fast broadband at home?

    That's coz I want to view the shows in my internet tv software fast with no glitches and such. This is where I got it.

  • seriously?

    you're a technology writer and you think that game resolution have anything to do with with the amount of data send/received from server? buahahaha...