By Nicholas Negroponte
In vigorous, mordantly witty prose, Negroponte decodes the mysteries--and debunks the hype--surrounding bandwidth, multimedia, digital fact, and the net, and explains why such touted options because the fax and the CD-ROM tend to pass the best way of the BetaMax. "Succinct and readable. . . . for those who be afflicted by electronic anxiousness . . . here's a publication that lays all of it out for you."--Newsday.
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Getting it to you slower or having a delay, of course, is intolerable. Even the quarter-second delay in a satellite telephone connection unsettles most people. But if I record a message on tape, wish to transmit it to you, and am paying for that call by the minute, I would certainly want as many bits as possible to travel per second. This feeling is common to modem users who log in across the country to suck data into their laptops or squirt data out of them. Just a few years ago 2 4 0 0 baud was considered very good.
In addition, many Americans would be willing to pay some or all of the thousand dollars over the space of three or four years if the services were interesting, thereby sharing in the start-up cost. So while fiber is the future for sure, there is a lot we can be doing and learning with our existing copper plant today Many people are ignoring the copper stepping-stone. They are buying into the wholesale and immediate need for, and provision of, fiber for limitless bandwidth to maintain a major competitive edge, without recognizing that Mother Nature and commercial interests, more than regulatory incentives, will make fiber happen naturally.
Namely, for that fifteen-year period, existing broadcasters would have 12 MHz. The idea, subject to change, is to provide a transition period for current television to evolve into future television. The concept made perfectly good sense six years ago, when it was conceived as the path to go from one analog world to another. But suddenly HDTV is digital. We now know how to deliver 20 million bps in a 6 MHz channel, and all the rules may suddenly change, in some cases in a quite unanticipated manner.
Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte