Something extraordinary is happening under the streets of South East Kent and it could have global implications. First published in the Dover Express newspaper
Is it wise to predict the future? Consider these examples.
“Rail travel at more than twenty eight miles per hour is not possible, because passengers, unable to breathe, will die of asphyxia”.
Dr Larder, University College London, 1827
“The telephone has too many shortcomings to be considered as a means of communication. It is quite unnecessary; we have plenty of messenger boys.”
Sir William Preece, Post Office Chief Engineer, 1878.
“The horse is here to stay, but the motor car is only a novelty, a fad. It will not last”. A banker advising against investing in the Ford Motor Company, 1903.
One recent report caught my eye; it says the internet will come to a “virtual standstill” next year.
Why? Well according to the highly respected Nemertes Research Group, it’s too successful. Today the internet is transferring one exabyte of data every hour. One exabyte is quite a lot. It’s 1.074 billion gigabytes. You’d need 13 million laptops to hold that much information!
The report says we’re watching so much online video, the system soon won’t be able to cope. In the UK, the internet video boom is being handled by networks designed for voice calls. The most congested part of the pipeline is the last link that connects our homes to our local exchanges.
But just a few miles away from us, in Ashford to be precise, an extraordinary experiment got underway this week Virgin Media has installed the fastest home broadband service on the planet and is now looking for a hundred people to try it out.
It’s based on high tech fibre optic instead of old fashioned copper wire and it promises download speeds of 200 Mega bits per second. That’s much faster than the “up to 8 Mbps” which most of us currently get.
It’s faster than the 44 Mbps enjoyed by the French and even faster than Japan’s 90 Mbps.
So what does it all mean? What will the future bring? The collapse of the internet, or lightening fast connections? I’m not going to make a prediction, but watch this space and we’ll keep you posted!
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