I saw this on Slashdot today: In Lawrence, Kan., about 40 miles west of Kansas City, Kan., a local ISP is building an affordable fiber network. Pricing is a little higher than Google, at $70/month for 100 megabit and $100/month for gigabit, but that’s still better than what you typically see from the local cable/phone duopoly.
The cable/phone duopoly won’t build this, so it’s going to have to be upstarts who do it. Meet the new revolution: Same as the old revolution.
The cable/phone duopoly didn’t flock to the Internet in its early days. In 1994, if you wanted to get on the Internet and you weren’t in college, you had to buy dialup service from small companies who specialized in it. Eventually the existing online services like AOL and Compuserve started offering Internet access as well. The large companies didn’t get involved for a few more years, once it started looking like this Internet thing wasn’t going to go away after all. Then eventually broadband came, and it wasn’t until then that most of the smaller operators retreated into doing web hosting, or sold out to the bigger players.
High-speed, fiber-based Internet is a risk. I think it’s a calculated and very worthwhile risk. Some 30 years ago home computers were a risk too, and now we can’t imagine life without them. For many people, a home computer isn’t enough. Now it’s common to have multiple computers at home, and carry a tablet or smartphone away from home too.
Ultra high-speed Internet connections are going to be something we need. Those 4K televisions are going to need a bigger, faster wire than what we have driving our 1080p TVs today, at the very least, and once we have those high-speed connections, we’ll quickly find other uses for them as well. And in a short time, we won’t be able to imagine life without it.