Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Problems of the Internet and Why it Should be Faster

              With the new upgrades to the Steven’s network, it seems that the University is taking the step in the right direction to improving productivity on campus. However, as someone who resides off campus and thus spends most of my time away from campus, this improved network seemed fruitless. Nevertheless, this piqued my interest on the topic of internet speeds and the struggle to achieve higher internet speeds. While I wait for the newest computer game to download I wonder why the internet is flawed like this. Why do I have to wait hours for something to download when fifteen minutes could save me fifteen percent on my car insurance (Geico). The Internet is the center of our lives and we do everything on it. We have to be connected to social media and be entertained by the latest episode of our favorite show. However, we are still complaining about the buffering and lag that we suffer while we are on the Web. This led to my ultimate question. Why is the service that we depend on every day slow and unreliable?
                Of course, the problem lies at the companies that provide “internet” for us. The main ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) in the United States are Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. These companies compete with each other to provide the fastest internet speed for the lowest price. However on February 13, Comcast proposed an acquisition of fellow ISP Time Warner Cable and that led to many dilemmas.  With the two largest ISP merging, people feared that there will be less competition between ISP so they are not incentivized to provide better service. This became a reality when Comcast began to charge Netflix because they took up most of their broad band during peak hours. This has led to a lot of outrage because Netflix is essentially paying Comcast to provide the same service. Also this is against net neutrality laws where all data on the internet should be treated fairly. Even though Netflix takes up a bigger percentage of the broadband, I think that it shouldn’t be limited and charged for the same service that they have always provided. These complications that the ISP has with companies such as Netflix only limit the potential growth that the Internet has in the United States. The main problem that the United States faces is that we need provide faster internet speeds for consumers so that they don’t worry about anything else. If something as basic as Internet can be improved instead of being a product that is fought over, then this will solve the fights that companies have with the ISP and increase productivity of consumers in the United State.

                With faster internet speeds, people will be able to achieve more than ever. In Hong Kong and South Korea, their internet speeds are among the highest in the world. Their internet speeds are more than double or triple the average of the speeds in the United States.  Those countries and cities are leading the world in innovation because they are able to connect to each other faster. This leads into the reading for this week “The Distraction Addiction”, where the author describes the amount of time we waste waiting for our computers to load up and connect to the Internet. Even though these inefficiencies are small, they add up and we waste a lot of time waiting for something to boot up and load. That is why the United States should invest more into improving internet connections for consumers instead of fighting each other the amount of broad band a company uses. With the Information Age growing and evolving more rapidly than ever, it is crucial that we must keep up with it so that we don’t lag behind any other nation.

1 comment:

  1. Slow, unreliable internet is really the worst. Stevens internet last semester was bearable, but luckily it has improved with the introduction of a new network. While I do agree that sub-par internet is a serious issue (mostly because I, like yourself, am fortunate enough to have decent service since I reside off campus), it's hard to keep up with that expectation because of money. Stevens is blatantly working on expansion at the moment. (We can't even simultaneously use the wifi on multiple devices because there's too many people) The admission of hoards of freshman and construction plans of new buildings is a sign that they're spending a lot of money, meaning they have much less to spare on additional services like internet (and quality food at events but that's a story for another day). Capitalism is a rough life. Having even mediocre service in this day in age is ridiculously expensive not only due to the price of labor, resources, and maintenance, but also because of the demand. Because society holds good internet service to such a high regard, companies can get away with charging an arm and a leg for service that isn't up to our expectations, making us pay even more. So yes, faster internet would be amazing; if only we could afford it.