I was recently listening to a discussion on Radio 4 about the Government’s rather half-hearted attempts to follow up its commitment to giving even those in rural areas access to superfast broadband. One of the participants made the entirely fair points that what was considered fast a few years ago would seem painfully slow today and that the baseline requirement for services like online banking is gradually moving up.
However, that did get me thinking. Why are bandwidth demands always increasing? How much of that is necessary and how much is just fuzz? Do we need full screen background video to enhance the websites we visit or could simple, clear text often serve the same purpose? Do we need higher resolution entertainment or just better imaginations?
I can see that there are economic issues for the Government to overcome in living up to its promise. Maybe it should make a concerted drive to offer online services that are smooth and efficient to use even over copper network and which don’t chew up disproportionate amounts of data allowance on mobile devices? Even those of use living in more urban areas, where fast broadband is more available, would often be very happy if the information we needed could appear in the blink of an eye rather than still taking the same time it did ten years ago because designs have expanded to fill the pipes.