The general experience in the United States is that we pay an amount usually between $20 – 75 a month to get a bandwidth speed of some 50 MB (megabytes) per second. We don’t necessarily like to pay that much, but for those of us that remember the old dial-up years of Internet 1.0 we have a relative sense of speed and it makes us feel good. We can quickly upload pictures to Facebook or watch a video on YouTube. We now complain when the “Internet is slow” or that the connection is not up to our current standards.
Now, in comparison to some other countries we really do have a reason to complain about the slowness of our connection, even if it is what we have come to experience as fast. In Hong Kong, and in South Korea there are new services that have come on-line (pun intended) that provide one gigabyte per second speed for downloading and uploading. One gigabyte per second! That is 20 times faster than the 50MB speed most of us have in our connected homes.
Of course, once something like this happens, it makes anything else seem not only slow but allows us to question that slowness. Our relatively current sense of speed has now been shown to be slow and outdated. We are behind the times. The cutting edge is elsewhere, we are slower than others in the world.
This also begins to make us question why we are paying so much for such slowness. If, for the sake of argument, you pay $50 a month for roughly 50MB download/upload speed you are paying $1 per month per MB of speed. One gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes (MB). The relatively new Hong Kong service is charging $25 a month for one gigabyte per second speed. That translates into $.025 per MB, or 2.5 cents. Reflect on that for a minute. At $50 per MB you are paying 2,000 times as much for your bandwidth speed as someone subscribing to the new service in Hong Kong.
The next time you hear your Internet service provider talk about their great deal or suggest they might have to raise prices or monitor amount of bandwidth used, call them up and ask they why they are charging you 2,000 time more than is available elsewhere in the world. [If you do, I would love to hear what they say. Feel free to email me at email@example.com with their comments.] Internet providers want to call us data hogs? Compared to services in Hong Kong and South Korea they are slow bottlenecks!
In the realm of broadband speed, America is now the land of the slow and the incredibly expensive.
David Houle is a futurist, strategist and speaker. He has always been slightly ahead of the curve. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment. Most recently, David is a featured contributor to Oprah.com. Check is out here www.oprah.com/davidhoule. David can be contacted at David@DavidHoule.com.
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