Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Speedy Internet

A couple weeks ago, the Strib ran an interesting article on how Americans' desire to use the web in certain ways is being hindered by our country's absolutely primitive web infrastructure: "As video becomes a bigger part of the average Web surfer's diet, the heavy traffic could overwhelm the Internet. That could lead to slower service for everybody -- or higher prices for heavy consumers of video."

I was struck by this comparison to the bandwidth enjoyed by those damn dirty foreigners: "20 megabits per second widely available in Europe and the 100 megabits per second offered in Japan and South Korea." By comparison, my mid-range DSL connection from Qwest runs at speeds "up to" 1.5 megabits per second (too slow to be able to watch YouTube videos); a "fast" Comcast cable connection runs to about 6 Mbps.

And but so, I was elated to an embarrassing degree when this afternoon I heard that a new company is set to launch a municipal "WiMax" service here in Northfield next month. If all goes as planned, I'll be able to get wireless access at my house at a whopping 21Mbps - fourteen times faster than my DSL connection - for about ten bucks less per month.

Yee flipping ha! Nothing like busting up the Charter Cable/Qwest oligoplogy to make things better here in the town of cows, colleges, and contentment.