Applications future of broadband, says next-gen internet evangelist

No point in arguing about definitions of broadband - 'let's just get on and use it'

The future of broadband is in remote use of applications, not just in faster web surfing or downloading files, says next generation internet evangelist Simon Riley, and the access grid is an excellent way to demonstrate the running of useful applications online.

Growth in the use of broadband will be driven by applications, and applications will sell the concept, he says. “There’s no point in having arguments about how you define broadband [a reference to InternetNZ’s recent attack on Telecom]; we should get on and use it.”

The fattest communications pipes in the country — those of the next generation internet development — will be substantially reserved to research and education, but private-sector businesses should be planning now for the next generation of broadband, providing tens of megabits per second; plenty to operate an access grid or provide remote access to other advanced applications. “Speaking personally, I’d like to see public access grid nodes set up for commercial use by the private sector,” Riley says.

The quality of communication, particularly sound, is a step up from the sub-megabit per second streams typically used for videoconferencing and would enhance “telepresence”, he says. As well as saving on business travel, access grids could be used to avoid the risks of travelling, from terrorism to sudden disease outbreaks like Sars. Broadband communication was used to collaborate on measures to control the Sars outbreak, he notes.

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