Thursday, October 09, 2008

App-Rising on CampFiber

Mea Culpa, folks: I've fallen far behind in my posting. One thing I must get to soon is some reflections on Saturday's CampFiber. It was both invigorating and informative—"in" in the best sense.

Happily, Geoff Daily over at App-Rising has had a series of commments trying to come to grips with the event. (1,2,3) His last post, though, comes really close to hitting it on the head. Geoff's long been an advoate of Big Broadband and has recently refocused on the idea that filling the big pipe is a "problem." Discussion at CampFiber has had the effect of making him rethink that basic question once again:
...one of the more interesting takeaways I got from CampFiber. It made me realize that the goal isn't filling up the pipe, it's figuring out how not having to worry about capacity constraints can free the minds of developers to worry less about compression and squeezing things down and more about the functionality, usability, and overall impact of their apps on improving society.
That comes very close, IMHO: Big Broadband is all about, or should be all about, destroying the constraints we currently suffer under—reconfiguring the playing field to make it more radically generative. A big fiber pipe is only a precondition and enabler for the fuller transformation. A necessary precondition, without any doubt, but a waystation on the path, not the final end in itself.

The next steps really need to be aimed not at filling a pipe or spending X amount of dollars to generate some mythical "killer app" but to increase the numbers of people that are participating and dramatically enhance the utility of the network for them. We've got a big leg up here in Lafayette on that score and it is not surprising that Lafayette developers immediately focused on some issues that initially surprised Geoff: the settop box and mobile computing....the big pipe is already accepted as a done deal here in the city. We will have that. We trust LUS to follow through. We trust LUS to lower the cost as much as possible so as to build usage in the most obvious way. Onto: "Next problem." And the next problem is expanding the user base and expanding the range of things that can be done over the network: Set top box and wireless. Penetration and ubiquity.

We're shockingly far down the road. But we need to recognize just how far out front we are least we squander our lead by imitating those who won't really catch up for a decade.

But more on this in my next post..........I promise.

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