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Disconnected from the ‘Net for 14,400 Minutes?

December 10, 2010 at 10:59 am PST

A colleague of mine is going to be silent for 10 days over the holiday break*.  10 days. 240 hours. 14,400 minutes.  It is a meditative thing.  I respect her decision to do this…very cool and certainly an experience not many have had.

She can’t talk, so I asked her if she could read.  Nope.  Which means web surfing is out of the question.  I, like many, HAVE TO BE CONNECTED AT ALL TIMES!!!  The network has become so pervasive in our lives that not having instant, anywhere access to information is nearly inconceivable.  Globally, broadband growth is still chugging away.  Today, we released a report that shows that Peru broadband growth grew nearly 10% in the first half of this year.  And, yesterday, Google released what they call the Zeitgeist.  The sum of the searches for the year.  What’s hot, what’s searched…and from where…and, of course, because this is 2010 and video is the medium for communications, they also released a very cool video with a catchy jam that is still in my head (who is this? anyone?!!).

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The Broadband Consumer Dilemma

I’m writing this en route back to Austin, flying at over 500 miles per hour at an altitude of 35,000 feet. And I’m really frustrated that the in-flight internet isn’t working.

It is truly absurd.

Not that it’s not working but that I “expect” to maintain constant connectivity while being in a flying can more than 6 miles up in the sky.

But I do.

I’m not proud of it…and even wince a bit because I recall a comedian who in a skit made fun of reactions like this…of people like me. [Editor’s note:  here’s a video clip of Louis C.K.’s comedy clip that Doug references.]

The challenge for providers is that I believe there are a lot of people like me.  Our level of expectation is pretty outrageous and only getting higher.  In a stadium with 100,000 other smartphone carrying people, the air is filled with complaints about mobile connectivity, with the complainers not giving thought to the fact that they are in the midst of effectively 1/7th the population of my city packed into a single square block and seemingly all of them are tweeting, foursquaring, or facebooking about that last great play (which, for the Longhorns, was last year, btw).  Trying to download a video around 9pm - the start of the Internet’s prime time as we covered last week -- we complain about how “slow” the internet is, not giving any thought to the fact that the rest of the neighborhood is downloading a high-def movie too, or playing Halo, or having a video call.

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