Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gigabit Internet - building the future

Gigabit Cities, Towns & Regions.

Picture a youngster in the future, stooped over a laptop in the back room of a disused shop in a long forgotten country town. Coffee cups, half eaten pastries and the faint smell of last night’s alcohol fills the air. A sad dystopian image so far, but look a little closer.
He’s but one of a dozen people sitting or standing around various bits of old and new furniture. The walls are covered in ultra thin screens, windows into other teams in other parts of the world; China, the US, Norway & Brazil. They’re all working together on something or other, something global, something significantly big. Many languages are being spoken and simultaneously translated in real time. Videos make up part of presentations, audio is being composed to fit, financial documents embedded in the project.
All happening seamlessly, no delays, no pixelation, no distortion no waiting for files to transfer. The sound quality is perfect, the discussion is natural, this is the future of work. And it is entirely built around ultra fast gigabit networks.
All this should not entirely be unexpected, the internet after all has been growing in usage, speed and capacity at an astonishing rate since it became widely commercially available in the early 1990s.

The internet is the backbone of all mobile phone usage, all fixed line usage, increasingly most of radio, TV and movie transmission. Almost all of the worlds financial transactions now occur over the internet and a large part of humanity use it for most of their social and professional communications. Profession after profession is being disrupted and reconstructed in ways that few had seen coming. From education to medicine to shopping and defence, indeed government and governing is slowly being changed by the power of the ubiquitous and always connected world. It is an unstoppable force, fuelled by our collective desire to re-imagine the future in a massively online world. A true wave of change is upon us. Some will ride this powerful wave, others may resist it, others may simply be submerged by it.

It is in this backdrop that a future certainty can be brought into focus. Many opportunities for growth will no doubt be there for those that connect, collaborate and adapt.
One thing is certain though, the faster, more scalable and more reliable our networks are the more opportunities for growth there will be. Gigabit networks will release and liberate wealth, health and wellbeing wherever they are found. In other words the prosperous places of the future will be gigabit enabled cities, towns, regions and nations. It really is that simple and it has started happening now.

Text extract from a speech given to the Fabian Society in Sydney by Dave Abrahams in 2014 - Copyright. Follow the author on Twitter @digitdave
Video is a Mashup from the Google Fibre project.

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