Earlier this week the FCC announced that four out of five Americans do not know the speed of their broadband at home. Additionally, 91 percent considered the speed of their broadband to be sufficient for their needs. This is considered by some to be very revealing information. I for one look at it as "so what".
Most Americans do not know what broadband is, let alone the kinds of options they have with regard to access. We hire a lot of everyday Americans to work at Broadvox for roles in customer service, accounting, legal, administrative support, etc. We find that we have to perform a basic transfer of knowledge with nearly everyone. Terms such as megabit and gigabit are used by the IP community as though they are part of the common vernacular but they are not. Apple celebrated selling one million iPads at launch, a tremendous success. However, one million people represents only 0.303% of Americans, which is good for Apple in that they can sell a lot of these before saturating the market. Clearly, most Americans do not have any specific knowledge of the iPad. Although, I would bet that 90% of you reading this blog do.
Consider the type of knowledge required to understand the broadband speeds needed to support email applications versus downloading movies. Then consider the percentage of Americans that perform either. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project data, 90% of US Internet users have sent or read email. While numbers reflecting the numbers of Americans who download movies evaded me as I wrote this blog, I am comfortable saying that it is less than 5%. Therefore, what value is a poll of Americans to determine the state of broadband today when most can be sated with speeds of 128 kbps?
Understanding whether we have sufficient broadband should be determined by those that understand the technology, applications and cost. Previously, I analyze the state of broadband in the US and found it wanting. You can read the series of blogs beginning with Deconstructing Curry and Broadband Statistics. I find the FCC's desire to test the broadband of 10,000 Americans to be virtually worthless and the results ludicrous. However, if you want to volunteer to be part of this waste of taxpayer money go to www.testmyisp.com.
I will be upgrading my Internet connection in the next few weeks because I want to begin downloading movies. 1.5 Mbps has served me well over the years but now I must move on. I will become one of the less than 5%. However, I was never dissatisfied with my broadband and I know what broadband is.
See you on Monday with more on the IP ecosystem and another original recipe.