Broader Broadband Begs for Greater Innovation
Broadband speeds will get considerably faster over the next four years, according to a research note issued Tuesday by Parks Associates. The Dallas-based group noted that more than 33 million US households will enjoy speeds of 10mbps (megabytes per second) or higher by 2012, a jump from 5.7 million currently. This increased speed is a critical ingredient for continued innovation from companies leveraging internet-based technologies, particularly music, video and game delivery.
Research like this supports my contention that, as we move through the digital maturity process, technology that delivers content to jukeboxes will inevitably change. For instance, faster throughput, higher capacity and greater reliability in the broadband infrastructure will make streaming technology feasible and viable. And as DRM-free, unprotected music files become the industry standard, more digital music options will become available to operators. (I was interested to note that Amazon’s MP3 store now offers DRM-free music from all four major labels.)
According to the Parks Associates report, just 9% of households are currently wired with 10mbps or faster broadband service. But users are thirsty for extra bandwidth, and ISPs are likely to satisfy the demand. This increased speed will obviously be available to locations, as well. Cable companies like Comcast and Cox are upgrading their cable infrastructure and AT&T is busy laying miles of new fiber in an effort to compete with the cable companies. 10mbps is coming soon to locations on every operator’s route.
Fattening pipes will power a continued surge of innovation in music, video and gaming. The next four years will likely see a dramatic shift in technology delivering content to locations. Operators will do well to keep their eyes on this dynamic and rapidly changing environment and be ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Be aware that the contracts and hardware you commit to today might not support the profitable technologies of tomorrow.