Monday, March 15, 2010

Broadband changes

Came across this article regarding the changes to broadband speed and two particular items stuck out:
1) "...the FCC would propose in the plan a goal of 100 Mbps speeds to be in place at 100 million American homes in 10 years. The current average is less than 4 Mbps."
This raises questions of cost, how government involvement in our internet speed will affect usage and how this will affect items like bit torrent and file sharing.

2) "The plans could also touch off tensions with television broadcasters, who will be asked to give up spectrum to wireless carriers who desperately need it for their mobile devices, such as the iPhone and Blackberry."

I think that the era of television broadcasting as it has been done for the past 60-70 years is seeing its twilight. Referring to the post below this in regards to laptops in classroom Vaidhyanathan is quoted, I'm paraphrasing here, that our dependence on screens is what is at stake in the classroom. As these screens are more portable, more affordable and more shows stream online there is less of a need to structure schedule around the broadcast's schedule which is in part one of the draws of the show that it is limited in its offering. However with sites like Hulu, and even YouTube, being bound by time to a particular show has been removed by the fact you can port these shows around on an iPod Touch or any other device that has a screen and a browser. AppleTV is another example of this. There is a couple that I know that has cancelled their cable and runs everything through AppleTV. If there is a show they would like, it is purchased through the device. This is cheaper than 'renting' cable. Granted there are some DRM issues involved.
There are very few situations where, I think, television broadcasting is essential that is not being, or can be, duplicated in some way online. While the digital divide still exists for financial, location and age reasons as screens become a directly integral part of the zeitgest and even the bildungsroman there will be less of a reason to flick on your TV.

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