January 7, 2003  ·  Lessig

Matt wonders what one does with 100 mbs. Great question. In Korea, where, as I was told, copyright laws are “immature,” they are free to stream TV to their computers. That uses chunks of bandwidth, and creates great new competition for video. (If only we (or Canada) could be “immature” again.)

But remember Mr. Gates’ thought about how much memory a PC would need: 640k. Give us bandwidth, and we’ll find a way to use it.

  • Chris Yu

    The real throughput for these services is nowhere close to as advertised. I recently upgraded my NTT DSL connection here in Tokyo from 1.5 Mbps down/512Kup to 12Mbps down/1Mbps up. My real throughput went from 880Kbps down to about 1.4Mbps down and 300Kbps up to about 800kbps up. All the broadband services say that everything is a ‘best effort service’ meaning that they’ll advertise whatever they want but your milage will vary. Still, it’s better than when I had verizon in Seattle a few years ago. For a laugh, check out the details on how you get 100 Mbps complete with construction guidelines (for easy math assume 100 yen=$1).

    So what do I do with the added speed? Well, nothing I couldn’t do before. Downloads are faster. Yay. Video chats (to compensate for the ridiculously high per minute charges for mobile phone calls) with other tokyoites with broadband are a smigin smoother. VOIP to send/receive calls with the USA work great but they worked fine before too. Remote control via VNC is smoother. And streaming video from a desktop PC is totally cool but lots of compression work before you can publish it. Video games–probably some benefit. Too bad little of this stuff is easy enough for the masses. Now controlling my home heating so that my house is inhabitable by the time I get home from work in this insulation starved country…that would be progress!

  • Chris Bratlien

    I totally am with you on the videoblog concept. I imagine having my RSS aggregator search for newly posted video links–the way I collect news links these days.

    And what if a consumer of content turns out to be a damn
    good producer of content as well? Everyone benefits.

  • http://www.agblog.com Danny Silverman

    Well, Aron is mooching from archive.org. I have plenty of music that I’d like to listen to myself via NetJuke from where ever I am at the moment. I have a 180GB hard drive that I’d like to backup off site. I have a large picture gallery, and I’d like to easily move 1MB pictures back and forth.

    At school we have 10baseT (10Mbit) in the dorms because the admins feel its too costly to upgrade to 100Mbit, it would saturate our already-strained internet connection, and what do you really need with 100Mbit anyway? For my job I was working on some photos, and I wasted a lot of (paid by the University) time just shuttling a couple hundred megs of photos back and forth. 10Mbit isn’t really 10Mbit, there is always overhead (assume 20%) and lag and latency.

    Give us the bandwidth, we’ll figure out how to fill it.

  • http://ryuujin.blogspot.com ryuu

    And what if a consumer of content turns out to be a damn
    good producer of content as well? Everyone benefits.

    except the ones who’s actually selling content now ;)

  • http://ryuujin.blogspot.com ryuu

    hmm, my [i] [/i] didn’t work.

  • http:/www.newzealandstory.com/ Berklee

    Nobody likes a smartypants, but isn’t the Gates quote a myth? Link: Netizen on the subject

  • http://a.wholelottanothing.org/ Matt Haughey

    Well, I knew full well when I said “what do we do with all that bandwidth?” I might sound like (probably misquoted) Gates in the early 80s, but I think the question still stands. To go from a ~1Mbit DSL line to a 100Mb is mind boggling.

    Personally, I’d be streaming music in full CD quality (instead of downsampling it to a 96kbps to work on my tiny 128kbps upload pipe) to myself, I might run my own music server featuring nothing but CC-licensed music (which allows for rebroadcast, free of ASCAP fees), I’d probably run my MetaFilter server at home instead of on its own expensive T1 line, and I’d feel more at ease putting up larger photos and short videos. But then I’m not an average internet user, I’m someone that actively creates lots of content.

    I’d love to see 100Mb lines in the US (with lots of upload speed), as it could be a real boon for people to create content. Gone would be the worry about paying for bandwidth usage on a normal webhost, and it could spark a real renaissance of content from regular folks. Also gone though, would be a lot of hosting businesses someone like RackSpace does. Why pay them hundreds of dollars a month when you could throw a linux box in the closet and get nearly the same thing at home?

    Though I knew all this when I made the post, I asked the question on my site to get ideas and spark what if conversations, which it seemed to be successful at accomplishing.

  • http://www.newzealandstory.com/ Berklee

    Alright, let me rise to the challenge, here’s what I think: just as RAM might someday replace hard drives (through some merging of the technologies), what about internet as a hard drive?