Long-time readers of this blog know that we like to cover broadband and Internet issues wherever possible. In the spirit of keeping everyone informed, I give you Public Knowledge’s latest report, “Peak Bandwidth” (PDF):
Bandwidth was formed by the tech bubble of the late 1990s and is typically found in strands of “dark fiber.” The largest fibers are called “backbones,” many of which were discovered next to railroad tracks. Since then, smaller pockets of bandwidth have been discovered in “last miles,” in forms such as DOCSIS-enabled coaxial cable and FiOS brand fiber.
Increasing strains are being placed on our bandwidth reserves. “Hogs” such as young people and cord-cutters are placing an unbearable strain on our bandwidth supplies, and “over-the-top” service providers like Netflix, Skype, Amazon, and Google consume copious amounts of bandwidth free of charge, without providing any valuable services in return. In short, our tubes are being clogged with bits. While that may not seem like a major problem now, the long-term is bleak. We will look back fondly on the day our tubes were clogged. Once bandwidth is gone, it’s gone. Used up bits are gone forever. They don’t come back and can’t be replaced. As a result important marketing messages, ecards, and Facebook updates will be crowded out of the ever-shrinking supply of usable bits.
Hilarious, Public Knowledge. And I think (hope?) you’ve made your point.
It’s April 1st, so the jokes are out in droves all over the web. Groupon has decided to post a fake patent for April Fool’s Day joke:
The present invention relates to performing jocular and misleading activities on an unsuspecting individual during a limited timeframe and, in particular, the present invention relates to a perpetrator generating a false statement based on false facts and informing an unsuspecting
individual of the particular false statement, and deceiving the unsuspecting individual into a false belief that the false statement, if true, would have a detrimental effect on the unsuspecting individual. Then, prior to said unsuspecting individual realizing that the false statement is not accurate, the perpetrator announces, usually in a high decibel voice and within the limited timeframe, that the unsuspecting individual has been deceived or mislead.
Ha ha, but isn’t this a little too close to home? Groupon is currently (counter)suing a small competitor named MobGob, as TechCrunch reported back in November. For infringement of patent no. 6,269,343:
The present invention provides a method and system that allows sellers to communicate conditional offers to potential buyers. The conditions include prices that depend on the aggregate amount of goods or services that buyers collectively agree to purchase by a given time and date.
The invention facilitates “demand aggregation”, that is, aggregating demand by potential buyers (who may or may not know each other), for products offered by sellers. This invention allows sellers conveniently to offer “Demand-Based Pricing”, that is, prices which go down as the volume of units sold in any given offer goes up.
A seller can therefor offer volume discounts to buyers acting as a group, even when the buyers may not have any formal relationship with one another.
Telling jokes and aggregating buyers. Maybe this is why we need patent reform.