Wednesday, June 08, 2011

At home with broadband - the importance of concurrency

I came across two excellent videos today, illustrating broadband's huge potential to transform life and work for households of the future.

The first, At Home with the NBN, shows the range of applications and facilities that Australia'sNational Broadband Network will make possible:

The second, published by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, provides a neat three-minute overview of the transformational power of broadband:

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development's recent report, Broadband: A Platform for Progress, is also well worth a read, in particular its (non-exhaustive!) listing of more than one hundred studies examining the economic impact of broadband.

Both these videos complement this great illustration (which I've used many, many times) of the "all Internet household":

This was produced by EDUCAUSE for their pamphlet Broadband's Promise for America. It clearly shows how concurrency (multiple simultaneous accesses to multiple applications) will be the key driver for increased bandwidth requirements. A related EDUCAUSE report, A Blueprint for Big Broadband, provides a further useful summary:
"The Aggregation of Multiple, Simultaneous Uses Will Make Big Broadband Networks a Necessity: Many recent studies discuss why broadband is necessary for individual broadband applications (discussed below). While these examples are certainly accurate, the most important point is that consumers will require a multiplicity of these services simultaneously. It is the aggregation of several of these applications in the home that will drive the future demand for broadband.
Consider the following real-world scenario: A home in middle America may include dad watching a live HDTV football game; daughter using the computer to access streaming video of a college course lecture; son playing a real-time interactive game; mom engaged in a videoconference for her home-based business; grandma, visiting for the holidays, downloading an episode of Masterpiece Theatre; and grandpa hooked up to an uninterruptable medical video feed to a remote monitoring facility. While all these uses are taking place, the home appliances are being monitored and video home security devices are sending video feeds back to an emergency alarm center. Together, this single home could easily consume 150 megabits of bandwidth with only the uses we can imagine today. Homes of the future will likely include even more imaginative products and services.”
All these materials help to move the next generation broadband debate from the theoretical ("next-gen broadband is important") to the specific ("next-gen broadband enables new applications a, b and c"), and are therefore hugely useful.

The more folks that have access to higher bandwidth broadband services, the more these scenarios will become the norm. And who wouldn't want that?