Broadband Service Better, Faster in Japan - The Future of US Broadband
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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation put together a 16-page paper in PDF format arguing for a national broadband policy. Author Robert D. Atkinson argues that the Internet is becoming too valuable a resource to allow the market to provide. He compares the Internet with electricity, given how many people are putting it to a range of different uses. “Just like wiring the nation for electricity 70 years ago underpinned a host of other positive developments,” he writes, referring to the Rural Electric Administration, “accelerated widespread adoption of high-speed broadband will do the same today.”
And there are some web sites that are trying to make the most of what we already have. Joost, VeohTV and Babelgum have applications in beta that allow the viewing of video on a computer that fills the screen from edge to edge. They are all ad-supported, and use peer-to-peer technology to transmit video.
Users of these services download the appropriate application from the service’s web site. A desktop icon then sits on the computer screen, waiting to be launched. When it is launched, it fills the screen with a choice of videos that can be viewed on demand, arranged in channels that deliver a near-broadcast-quality viewing experience.
Joost has been busy signing deals with major content providers, and the other services haven’t exactly been sitting on their hands. Even the networks and other established companies are getting into the act, with Microsoft’s LiveStation, Apple TV, and Hulu, a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp. While these innovations are helpful, they may not be enough to truly push broadband forward and stimulate the kinds of uses that Japan and other countries will be getting out of their superior broadband. It is sad but true that we risk falling behind in the technology that we helped create.
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