June 04, 2003
The Revolution Will Be Participatory

David Weinberger points to an interesting presentation made in April to the FCC regarding the growth of broadband usage in America.

Weinberger rightly points out that the big story in the presentation is on slide six, in which the presenter (David P. Reed, CTO of CableLabs) shows a very surprising trend — over 2001, the ratio of downstream Internet traffic (data being downloaded — think of this as consumption) to upstream Internet traffic (data being uploaded — think of this as publication) went from 2.00 in May of that year down to less than 1.5 by September, and was still trending downward after that.

This means that, if the trend has continued, by now it’s reasonable to assume that people are publishing almost as much data to the Net as they are consuming. If that’s the case, it’s a terrifically encouraging development — part of the whole philosophy of anthill communities (sorry Joi!) is that the Net allows huge new opportunities for people not just to suck down information generated by big media providers, but also to give back in humble ways that collectively add up to great things. This would seem to indicate that many, many people are doing just that.

(There’s other interesting facts in the presentation, too. One is that new cable-Internet standards in development will apparently allow major increases in upstream bandwidth, while upcoming DSL standards will not (slides 10 and 11). This would seem to have major business implications for the DSL people, if upstream is becoming more and more important. Of course since the presenter comes from a company called CableLabs we should probably take his “DSL is obsolete and dying” slides with a grain of salt…)

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at June 04, 2003
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