My kids have had iPads for a while now and it’s no secret I’m a big fan of the technology and the educational benefits it has to offer. Recently my daughter has discovered Netflix and the fact it streams one of her favorite shows, Disney’s Good Luck Charlie. Entertainment factor aside, when she discovered that this along with a whole load of other child-friendly content was available whenever she pleased, she proceeded to flick from one episode to another, watching what I can only describe as highlights.
While I was happy that she was enjoying the application it did raise a few concerns with me in relation to bandwidth. In the area that I live, there are limited Internet provider options and it’s pretty safe to say that there is a little bit of a local cable company monopoly going on. Speed from them is not an issue as they deliver around 50MB to my household however this is capped with a 150GB per month usage limit. While 150GB is a lot of bandwidth, I was concerned with how quickly that would be chewed up by hours of Netflix streaming along with whatever the other device users in my home were doing. Thinking about this lead me to another question, what long-term effects do bandwidth limits have on cloud computing?
In 2012, Gigaom reported that 64% of broadband subscribers have a bandwith cap. These bandwidth limitations certainly put a damper on the way users and organizations can collaborate using the cloud, especially for the home-based worker. For home-base employees or remote workers the internet becomes more than just email access and is essentially a critical part of the day to day IT infrastructure. As more and more enterprise functions continue to move to the cloud, from CRM using solutions like Salesforce.com to productivity tools like Office 365 it is inevitable that our bandwidth requirements will continue to increase.
Consumer habits such as video streaming, coupled with the needs to access corporate applications anytime, anywhere further amplify the need to overcome bandwith limitations.
This leads to even another question: Should the government regulate ISP Bandwidth Caps? Sadly, even if bandwidth caps were removed, technological evolution will continue to hit limits and it is our ability to quickly understand and address those limits that will determine how quickly we evolve.
Do you think the government should regulate bandwith caps?