Taylor Made: Bloody Tyranny
Should we all march on Downing Street for better bandwidth?
My apologies to those regular readers of this column who have emailed me wondering where I have been. I have been busy recently working on web sites and investigating new technology. You can find out why it's taken so long to finish this work below. Many intelligent, influential and important people have recently been writing about some technology called ADSL and its derivatives. I first mentioned this myself in an article posted inThe Register
called the Big Fat Pipe. I was somewhat pleased recently to see ADSL described as a 'fat pipe' technology but I digress. ADSL is being written about because it is important, very important. It's the new technology being introduced across the world to give super fast internet access. Marketing types rave about its ability to make video conferencing possible. Or video on demand. All very nice but the thing that excites me is a ping rate of less than 50 playing internet Quake. But this does not matter. It can’t take long for anyone familiar with PCs to work out the benefits of an 8MB download connection. For example instead of downloading a zip file you can unzip directly from source straight into your explorer folder! For other benefits, simply play the game of "what could I do with that speed of internet connection?" next time you are stuck in traffic. It's not hard to think of lots. Unless you live in the UK. Here we have bloody tyranny. The country that brought you the modern hotel, gentlemen's suits, the TV, and radio is shackled under the yoke of the evil one called BT. You'd think that a country that was able to establish democracy across the western world would be able to do something about a telecoms provider that abuses its monopoly to charge more than $250 to install ISDN, wouldn't you? But no. Right now, Canadians are in danger of being banned from playing Quake as cheap and easily available ADSL is giving Canadian Quake players an unfair ping advantage! That's because our colonial cousins have understood the importance of a wired world and my fellow Quake players (not yet banned) are able to get "mere 640k connections" for $40 US per month. In the UK, it's a struggle to get ISDN if you live anywhere outside London and as for ASDL you have to be very, very lucky indeed to be on a trial scheme. No, BT cannot tell you when home or SOHO ADSL will be available, no it can't reveal its plans but I can exclusively reveal to you now one thing. When (if) BT ever unveils ADSL to the great unwashed (a) I will not be here to complain, (b) It will still cost more than $250 to get installed. But we have one hope. Unfortunately it's not a British one. But if we are all very lucky then maybe, just maybe Cable & Wireless will rescue us by stealing BT's datacoms business. Let's hope that it's to an extent that this greedy company will actually then wake up and give its shackled users the same kind of connectivity that our partners in the western world already enjoy. ADSL is a wonderful technology. I truly believe that it will be as important as the internet itself because it will make so many things we can only dream about come true. Ticker tapes will be worth having when we can stay on line all day as will 'push technology' and live video of your nephews birth on line. (Well Americans will want to watch!) It will also massively expand business as we can truly see and hear 3D on line (with Aureal the 3D on line sound technology is already available). Imagine being able to go to Amazon.com and select and read on line passages from a book that you like the look of at speeds equal to doing the same thing in a book shop. Joking aside, a tiny ping rate will also make new types of on-line game possible too. In the meantime, I will continue to paint my banner ready for the first 'internet user protest march' on Downing Street...®