When Will the Walls Come Down??

Lately, for selfish reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about the current barriers to adoption of social media like podcasts, Second Life, etc.

In reading Life After the 30-Second Spot by Joe Jaffe (great read by the way) he cites the availability of broadband Internet as one of the key elements leading to the demise of the 30-Second spot. While I agree, I struggle with this because the fact remains that there are many people without broadband access. Sure, many people may have access at work, but many of the new, exciting tools can’t really be used at work easily. (Heck, I can’t even access flickr at work!)

The reason this hits so close to home is that we moved 4-5 months ago and we CAN’T get any high-speed, cable or broadband. That’s right kids, we’re stuck in the dark ages of…dial-up!

So, as much as I LONG to get in Second Life and listen to podcasts every day, I can’t since I changed jobs and am not able to access these at the office.

I think the “next big thing” is finding a way to remove these barriers to adoption. Because, as up on blogs, podcasts, etc as we all are, I am surprised at the number of people that have either never heard of them or have never participated.

As an aside…anyone with solutions to a lack of high-speed capability please speak up!

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When Will the Walls Come Down??

6 thoughts on “When Will the Walls Come Down??

  1. As much as I ponder the question, I really don’t think that there is a solution.

    1. The WWW is rapidly becoming engineered to cater to the average user having some sort of high speed access and the minimum speed being the 786K low end DSL which is starting to cost less than or equal a standard dial-up connection.

    2. The WWW is not “owned” by any one person, group or entity. (I don’t say Internet simply because the WWW is incorporated and supported by the Internet). The individual website owners are upgrading their sites on their volition.

    3. Todays “cyber-world” consists of sites made up of a good deal of JAVA scripts, flash, shockwave, streaming video/audio and both, loads of images per site etc and dial-up can’t compete. Even with sites that offer “text only” versions you still have to load the original page before you can switch to it.

    4. If you have dial-up, …you don’t blog. Sorry. Blogging is “dynamic” and consists of a LOT of info being passed back and forth between the bloggers computer and the host site. You -can- have a website which is “static” (updated once in awhile) rather than “dynamic” (constantly updated all the time).

    The basic problem here is that the WWW is evolving faster than the communication technology that it is delivered through. In my state of Vermont (for example) many of the phone lines are still above ground where they are exposed to the sometimes extremely damaging weather and “Fiber optic rings” are just starting to put in an appearence. The reason being is that burying the cables means digging through solid granite most of the time and if you can’t bury it…you don’t have fiber optic access and if you don’t have that then you don’t have DSL. Same for cable. about half my state does not have cable access (so no cable modem) and satellite access is a joke (too much weather and a dial-up account is required for upload and it’s expen$ive!).

    Like the history of the PC…the software industry has always driven the hardware industry and PC hardware has always been a step or two behind. Same for the WWW and trying to drive the hardware it rides on is a much more difficult and time consuming process.

    For marketing purposes though, businesses should (by default) offer up a very simple , small download size website (which can still be attractive) for general users despite the speed of their hookup and offer a link to a more sophisticated, modern style version for those with higher speed access much like the more popular forums do these days. I would suggest a front-end page that simply offers the user a choice of which style of website to use in other words a link for the dial-up version and another for higher speed access). A company blog should be set up using the simplest format possible. Your “attraction factor” should be your website (either version), not your forum or company blog.

    Don’t know if you agree with this or not. Just my opinion.

  2. Well said. Half of this post simply came from my frustration of NOT having access to high-speed at home. I do agree though that the inability of some not being able to adopt new technology should not stall the technology.

    It’s just frustrating because when I first came to this space, I worked somewhere with constant, unfettered access. Now, I’m at a corporation with locked down Internet and I don’t have the same freedom.

    Oh well!

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. sbill30 says:

    If you are in a rural location, check with the local rural electric provider. Around here, they’ve pioneered ways beam via radio-waves from a satlink.

    If you’ve got the money, you can purchase your own sat-link. Last I looked it was about $600 to get started and something like $80 per month.

    In Missouri, there are several small telcos that have seen installing towers and repeaters to push broadband to their clients. It’s hardly surprising that their customer base is clamoring for it. The larger telcos don’t see the point, because they don’t see the point in providing customers with *what* they *want.* The small telcos have more to lose.

    Had I set my blog up at this point, I’d link you to it here as this topic will figure heavily into the daily conversation. It’ll be about “making it” in a global ecomony whilst living in a tech-challenged backwater. Methinks it can be done.

  4. Hey Kevin,

    I know your frustration. For four years I had to run dial-up only and considering the lousy quality of the phone lines, my average speed was about 28k. I nearly went bald pulling at my hair.

    To add to sbil30’s comment, there is a privately owned company (not a brand name telco) near the Newport/Derby area that put up a tower that provides a proprietary wirelss signal that is picked up by an antennae that is installed on your roof which is connected to a router in the home that transmits a standard wireless (802.11g) signal to wireless enabled laptops and desktops with a standard USB wireless adapter. The user buys the equipment of course (I think around $150.00) and it’s around $50.00 a month ($75.00/mo with Vonage included). a co-worker of mine had it installed (with Vonage) and said it was well worth it.

    I believe that sbil30 hit upon your workaround. Smaller Telco’s and private companies such as the one I described, could begin and continue filling the gaps where the big name Telco’s leave off. Yeah, they would probably would eventually, be bought out by the larger Telco’s but your high speed access would still remain. I’ve learned not to care about how my services come to me these days. That may sound apathetic on my part but it’s not really. It’s just a practical way of thinking. The people can speak out enough to cause such a service provider as sbil30 and I describe, to come into an area with no high speed access but we, the people, have absolutely no say or control of whether said small provider gets bought out or not.

    Don’t go bald now.

  5. “They would probably would eventually”?

    Please excuse my lack of proofreading ability. I’m one of those old(er) guys and have trouble with the smaller text. : – )

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