Baring all the politics and complexity of net neutrality, one of the things that I think is important to note is: people (the companies that run cables) are very nervous that if they’re not able to monetize the people who need faster traffic or more traffic, than the internet will break. …If I can’t charge them more to use more bandwidth, then it’s going to break the whole thing.
The internet was built to survive a nuclear blast, so I think that’s a little dramatic.
They say you study history because it will make you a little informed about making decisions going forward. People don’t do that. Well, the internet also has a history and this is not the first time this issue has come up. There used to be a program called ‘Point Cast’ in the early days of the internet (around 1997) and it was not always guaranteed that you would have a network connection. Point Cast was a custom browser that would let you go cache the internet and put it in the browser. So, when you hopped on a 4 hour flight you could still cruise around the web….there’s still sort of a need for that. But anyway, there was a big panic that this company – through it’s crawling and caching – would crush the internet.
That never happened. The amount of bandwidth they were consuming then looked enormous. Today, it looks kind of silly.
So, the big concern right now is movies – Amazon and Netflix. The thing is movies are really well defined and well behaved. You know when people are watching, you know the list of movies, and you know what size they can be. There’s a pretty confined footprint. Not only that, movies DON’T GET BIGGER. They are a known entity.
And if people were really in a jam, they could develop a little bit better technology. So the top movies or the recommended movies could be sitting in your box waiting for you, so in the times of low utilization they could pre-send you the movies. Better yet: they could send you the first 15 minutes of the movies. Because movies are so known, they’re actually easy to work with.
So why would you ‘close’ the internet? If you don’t keep the internet open, you will keep the next set of innovators from utilizing the internet to create the next thing. You have to remember that all these giant, mega companies started out with a couple people in the basement. Because they were small they didn’t need as much approval and if they had needed approval, they probably wouldn’t exist.
There are a lot of bigger things coming:
- Holograms. How huge is a hologram? Three dimensions compared to two dimensions – they’re going to make movies seem silly.
- Big data. Who cares about a 5 GB movie when you have a terabyte or 10 terabyte dataset?
- Self-driving cars. They run on a lot of sensors that send and received tons of data.
- Home automation. When your house is wired up – smart appliances, TV, security – where do you think all of that data in going to flow over.
When you think about movies, they look big now but compared to things that are coming – in the near, near future – it’s not that significant.
Given that new companies will rise with better innovations and in some cases use more bandwidth than what’s being used today. It’s kind of silly to be so concerned about the perceived amount of bandwidth that today’s companies are using.
All that being said, I really do miss Point Cast.