GigaOm, May 31, 2014
ISPs and naysayers will argue the consumers and businesses don’t yet need gigabit broadband because there’s nothing people can do with it yet. But that’s not the point. The speed is the app.
Don’t wait for the killer app for gigabit networks. The speed is the app. That’s the lesson several businesses and entrepreneurs living in gigabit cities can teach us.
In 2001, a decade ahead of the pack, Springfield, Missouri’s public utility offered a gigabit service over its Springnet fiber network. Very few people knew what a gig was, let alone worried about the lack of gig applications. But the local hospital right away understood that the true app was the speed of the connection, according to Springnet’s Manager of Network Architecture/Support Todd Christell.
According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, over over 40 communities have gigabit networks. Christell sees potential for immediate and limitless benefits in cities that bring new gig networks online and create direct links to existing gigabit networks. Existing gig cities can directly connect with each other to expand the benefits they are already receiving.
At a Kansas City broadband conference Kansas City Startup Village and Chattanooga’s GIGTANK (both dedicated to creating new entrepreneurs) lamented not being able to maximize their gig networks for joint software development, because the connection between cities was so slow. His curiosity piqued by these comments, Christell researched Springnet’s data traffic and discovered their data could bounce around for literally 1,000 miles around the U.S. before ending up at Kansas City — a destination 200 miles away. This convoluted routing of data causes the type of delays and expenses hampering the Kansas City and Chattanooga folks were lamenting.