28 May High speed internet: an accepted oxymoron
CHICAGO – High-speed Internet service should be measured in gigabit speeds rather than megabit speeds.
How many times do we have to repeat that before it sinks in? Where are the corporate executives and academics who talk about the quest for excellence and the pursuit of quality in lofty speeches who rarely come up with pragmatic solutions and profitability for their organizations?
Shouldn’t they be demanding a high-quality gigabit network as part of the economic platform for corporate applications as well as academic research pursuits? If few of those people truly understand what quality translates to when it comes to working on an infrastructure that’s the platform for global commerce, I then call on the government leaders.
Where are all the politicians who are standing up and demanding an end to the status quo in network infrastructure when there is a small sliver of light called the stimulus package that can be used to fund some major projects that would have huge residual value? Perhaps the “government leader” really is an oxymoron as well.
Where are the rebels and catalysts for change out there? They could be our last hope. A former student of mine called me a “maverick” when it came to looking at solutions for economic and municipal problems. Perhaps that’s what we need more of in society. We can clearly see the status quo isn’t working.
Perhaps it’s the gamers out there playing different games who are always complaining about not having an edge because their Internet connection is too slow. Those thinking that gamers are useless may be overlooking their “need for speed” and their clear understanding of why speed is so critical in their applications to win. This can also be applied to commercial endeavors.
Bruce Montgomery – a fellow commentator on the state of the network – asked me about who should be championing the quest for a gigabit network. I thought about it for a couple seconds and said: “I guess you and me.” Who else can be demanding change except for us average people? We know that having a solid network infrastructure can only alleviate job erosion, stagnant education and other critical issues facing us in a negative economy.
It’s evident that the corporate people haven’t gotten it right. I don’t see many academics focusing on getting a stronger network platform for their work. I don’t even see good curricula out there to train the next generation of mavericks let alone catalysts for change who are focused on improving status quo applications.
Few if any politicians could differentiate broadband from a waistband. Before any funds are spent and/or wasted, we need to get them to understand the importance of high-speed networks in gigabits rather than megabits. We need to start funding only those endeavors that will leave a residual value to future generations.
Those that should have been addressing widespread network updating have taken a wait-and-see approach while other nations spent billions on infrastructure upgrades.
We used to address the digital divide in terms of who didn’t have network access as compared to those who did. That definition has hit a vortex of declining accuracy where now we can sadly say many are in a digital desert where all levels of economic strata have been hit and the road to recovery includes having a high-speed (gigabit) digital road to expand trade and commerce.
The Used to Haves
There used to be a clear definition of the “haves” and the “have nots”. There is now a whole new class called the “used to haves”. They are the underemployed. They need to get into good jobs again if this country is to really turn around.
The “used to haves” have lost homes, the ability to buy new cars and furniture and have seen huge decreases in their general spending capability. That buying power would include spending money on many things like room additions, trips and other family endeavors that also generated other people’s jobs.
Many major expenditure now have to be postponed or entirely overlooked. These are the same people who many politicians still think are working in high-paying jobs and can handle tax increases and higher sales taxes to cover bloated government budgets. Unfortunately, we aren’t still in 1999. In fact, we are 10 years past the golden age of technology.
Based on watching the doom and gloom from the major business TV channels, this new class is growing and the trend has to be stopped and reversed. The more we put “used to haves” back into substantial jobs, the better off the whole economy will be including those who are the “haves” and the “have nots”.
Be a Good Little Drone
There’s no more room for false momentum, glitzy ads and appeasing rhetoric when it comes to declaring the updating of network infrastructure to higher speeds and then not following through on it. Incumbent phone companies have been touting all the speed and access people have by just adding DSL onto copper and telling people they are well set for the Internet age.
“You have high-speed Internet access available. That should position you for all your information challenges.” I have made the observation before that putting DSL on copper is like putting a vinyl top on a stagecoach in the era of the space shuttle. You’re being told that you’re all set for today’s travel demands.
At this point, accepting the “that’s good enough” line when it comes to the network infrastructure is unacceptable. Don’t buy off on accepting the status quo. Real action must be taken now. Spending some money to develop new broadband infrastructure can only produce a solid platform to build and expand global commerce.
Carlinism: When you’re behind, you don’t aim at today to catch up. You aim at tomorrow to jump ahead.
Recent columns by James Carlini
- James Carlini: State mandates: Stimulus Policy
- James Carlini: Twitter and other digital bling
- James Carlini: Follow California’s lead: Illinois should take a vote
- James Carlini: Bank of America: The Chrysler of banking
- James Carlini: Three critical issues facing many states
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.