Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 10.49.10 AMBy Todd McCrum, Director of Product Management, Cisco Cable Access BU

Back in the earliest days of television – before satellites began spraying an instant and national video footprint over the Earth – operators wondered whether it made sense to expand spectral capacity any further. At the time (early 1950s), most markets topped out at three channels. The big question was this: why would we ever need room for more than 12 channels of television?


These days, there’s a similar refrain, with a slight shift in tune. It goes like this: why would we ever need a Gigabit-per-second of bandwidth?

It’s true that the Giga-buzz machine is in high gear. Every week, it seems, more momentum gathers around Gigabit service introductions, around the world. Our latest contribution, the cBR-8, adds a 10x speed improvement to cable-delivered broadband and more connectivity; which based on our latest Visual Networking Index research confirms that the industry’s aggregate appetite for broadband continues to dogleg up and to the right. Check out the forecast highlights here, specifically the “network connections” and “potential IPv6 connections” categories.

Our feature infographic, debuting this month, details our take on the top five things that will drive our digital behavior into Gigabit-grade consumption, from 2013 to 2022. The infographic also serves as a tacit nod to the cBR-8 platform – a key component in the engine room of Gigabit services.

Here are five examples from the infographic that show how cBR-8 can offer powerful life-changing digital experiences for consumers:

  1. The way we work…work…work. Whether we’re in the home office, car, or office, we’re working. Working in the broadband era typically involves video. Some jobs have more of a need for it than others, such as surgeons who need to read high-res, 3-D scans of an upcoming patient or the architects, collaborating with peers around the globe to build the skyscraper. We project the connected workplace will represent $125 billion in value, between 2013 and 2022.
  1. The way we learn. Multigigabit bandwidth changes everything, especially when it comes to learning. It’s been a long time since the multi-media encyclopedia Britannica on DVD was the information mecca of any household, let alone the printed, multi-volume version on the bookshelf. Broadband-fueled education, which we estimate will be a $258 billion value between 2013 and 2018 and will be a substantial contributor to the need for Gigabit services. A classroom or one-on-one learning environment distributed globally, and over high-resolution video, is a big part of the next wave in connectivity.
  1. The way we construct. The mere combination of 3D printing and broadband is already disrupting the hobbyist landscape, from model railroading to millinery. Why send away for a part, when you can make it yourself? Why keep that design, when it can be shared with others? Pile onto this the growing landscape that is the Internet of Everything, already an embraceable novelty for hobbyists and early adopters. With each constituent “thing” sipping bandwidth at various rates Gigabit is starting to look more plausible.
  1. The way we take care of our families’ health. Whether it’s a medical team corresponding with one another, or with a patient recovering at home, two things again come together to drive broadband consumption: Ultra high-resolution video, and fast, wide connectivity. We estimate the value of connected healthcare at $106 billion, between 2103 and 2022.
  1. The way we’re entertained. Already, virtual reality gaming and entertainment is taking hold for its genuinely immersive qualities.The world of “500 channels” of TV morphed into millions of choices of high-definition video titles. What’s next…holographic TV?

Sure, why not. We estimate the value of connected gaming and entertainment will be a whopping $634 billion, between 2013 and 2022.

All of these digital life examples will add up to over a trillion dollars in potential value, spread across the various ecosystems. From a bandwidth perspective, the quest for the Gigabit-grade service is a wise one, because sooner or later, we’re going to need the capacity for it. Just like we needed the capacity to get beyond 12 channels, way back when.

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David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco