“Peak bandwidth”

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.

Raw broadband data

Curious about what your broadband Internet options are?  Ars Technica has a write-up on the U.S. government’s recently released National Broadband Map:

The map indicates that up to 10 percent of Americans still don’t have access to broadband speeds that support basic broadband uses like video and video conferencing, notes the DoC’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.”There are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy,” intoned NTIA Chief Lawrence Strickling, following the map’s release.

But the good news is that the National Broadband Map is very accessible and lots of fun.

Indeed it is.  Have fun exploring the data.