The dream of broadband has yet to materialise, says Peter Cochrane. But could it be that the technology will eventually drag business models into the 21st century?
During the dot-com boom of the 1990s and up to 2001 the word on the street was that by now we would be enjoying the information superhighway. This was to be a single, high-speed pipe connecting every office, hospital, school and home. As I recall it was a certain US Vice President (Al Gore) who coined and supported the vision of the superhighway that would provide radio, TV, telephone, internet and just everything, past, present and future that entailed a digital network.
So where is it? Where is that high-speed optical fibre to every home and office? The answer seems to be: in South Korea and Japan, where 10Mbps is seen as pedestrian, 45Mbps the norm and 100Mbps the minimum future expectation – and all at a price of just $37 a month. And we