I always wanted to write that headline, and finally got the chance today.
Om in this case is Om Malik, whose broadband blog has become one of my regular stops in daily newsgathering.
Om's view? Speed doesn't matter. Who cares if it's 1 Mbps or 2 or 10 or 20? The applications are all the same. What are you going to do with it?
Well in one sense he's right. The faster speeds being sold and claimed by cable and Bell companies right now are bogus. I switched to cable a few months ago and I'm switching back. The cable claims it's running at 5 Mbps, but not really. It's like a hose that sputters and drips. Sometimes it works at that speed, but usually it doesn't. When it comes to such things as latency and real throughput, an ADSL line, like the one I had before, is faster. (I'm sorry Earthlink. I'll hurry home as fast as I can.)
But in the broader sense, he's full of, well, the remains of holiday food. Because just as faster chips meant new applications (and interfaces) in the 1980s and 1990s, so faster broadband can mean that today.
What we're stuck with is Pentium speeds, while the rest of the world is getting Pentium IVs. As a result, we can't develop, or deploy, the new applications that will really define the future. Other countries, like Korea, will do that. And we'll be left behind.
It's just that simple. Broadband is the new chip. The speed of your connection defines your experience. So long as that speed is artificially throttled by monopoly and government protection of monopolists, we can't progress.
And it's not just the people thinking of imaginative new Web and Always-On applications who suffer from that. The reason there's limited demand for faster PCs (and PC prices are falling) is because broadband isn't advancing, and not placing demands on those chips. Thus the last four years have seen a host of "gadgets" developed which are just advanced clients, excuses for hoarding. Who'd need a 30 GB iPod, really, if the content were available over the air? Who would be spending billions on lawyers to attack grandmas for their grandkids' hoarding if you really could get all you wanted, any time, from anywhere, for a reasonable monthly fee?
How are we going to have new content models, models that deliver a working business model to content providers, if the delivery of that content remains problematic?
America is failing in a welter of monopolism and people who should know better are making excuses for it.
Break up the tele-monopolies and I'll show you the future.
UIntil we do that we'll all languish in the past.