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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Broadband Aspirations

It strikes me, more and more forcefully, that what we are doing in this country is encouraging people to aspire to crap broadband. We make out that 2Mbps should be more than enough for anyone - if I hear that once more this week, block your ears, my screams of wrath and frustration are likely to be loud! We hear more and more about how speed is not the issue, quality is - well, maybe speed isn't the be all and end all, but having a fast connection doesn't half help!

We take people to the cleaners for using more than their fair share of a network with abundant capacity and spread horror stories about how hard their pocket will be hit if they overstep the 'false scarcity' mark with down- and uploads. We fail to attack the issue of symmetry and yet in a consumer content creation world, we need people to upload as much, if not more than, download. We don't fill our primetime TV with exciting programmes about what you can do with superfast broadband, as they do in Korea where MMPOG online gaming competitions are prime time; we don't educate our users. I watched again this morning as a major SEO/internet marketing headache happened in front of the camera - who types the URL of a site they know the URL for into Google? Just about bloody everyone in Britain! Do they not know what the location /address bar is for?!

We don't encourage kids to aspire to be games programmers and push the envelope, or even make sure all of our teachers are au fait with the online world. We generally teach kids very basic first gen website design, instead of letting them explore cutting edge techniques from smart developers etc. Etc etc etc.

In fact, this lack of aspirations is across the board, through general IT to true broadband. And yet, it is not normally a British trait. We used to aspire to be 'great', to conquer the world, to have an Empire. Now, we seem content to allow private companies and government to drop the bar to as close to ground level as possible and then we attempt to crawl under it. Luckily, the more adventurous and creative are trying to limbo under it, whilst yet others are determined to raise it as high as possible.

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