The UK should be leading the way in connectivity speeds, and yet we languish too far down the scoreboard of countries who are already embracing the future.
Spotify has shown millions of people that it is possible to have an almost infinite music library in the cloud, and the BBC iPlayer and Netflix have done the same with television and film. The future of media is on-demand, and if we are going to be constantly streaming high fidelity uncompressed music and 1080P HD films, then we need quick connections.
The internet may have permeated most of our lives already, but it is still a young technology and we are only scratching the surface as to what will be possible in the future as we become ever more connected – and for this we need ever faster connections. Streaming high quality media is only a fraction of what could be possible.
People already connect with each other around the world to play games online, but as games become ever more immersive and ever more lifelike, then the amount of data being uploaded and downloaded are going to be huge – and speed is very important in these live situations.
What about Skype? Whereas now we are used to choppy video and calls dropping for no apparent reason, stable HD video chat will soon become the norm for everyone. And then what about 3D? If you can stream enough data points down the line quickly enough, there is no reason that our video chats won;t cross over into 3D virtual conversations so our conversations will have the added depth of non-verbal cues as well.
Streaming media, games, and video-calls however, is only what we can already see in the immediate future. The “internet of things” is not far away, when everything in your house will be connected to each other and the internet to help reduce friction points in our daily lives. More and more devices will be using more and more bandwidth.
And then we have business and the economy. The internet economy is expected to make up 12.4% of the UK’s GDP by just 2016 – that is a huge impact in only a few short years. If we want to compete on the world stage for internet jobs and to create world-changing internet businesses, we need a home market where people have the technology and superfast broadband at their fingertips.
The UK has a very strong tradition on leading the world in developing and exploiting new technologies, and we need faster broadband now so that we can continue that trend.