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Re: COVID-related internet throttling

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Tim Wilson
Re: COVID-related internet throttling
on Mar 22, 2020 at 7:54:30 pm

[Morten Carlsen] "The pandemic IMO will blow over and the web will be up to full speed again in month or two !"

I think that the pandemic blowing over in a month or two is optimistic, but nothing wrong with optimism as long as it isn't compromising people's commitment to helping that scenario come to pass! It's going to require diligence that especially here in the US, I'm not seeing very much of. (I'm thinking less here of politicians than spring breakers.) My family is Italian. I'll be happy to connect you with any of them to speak to the advisability of getting too optimistic about being out of the woods too soon.

But I also think that going back to "normal" might be a stretch. I think that there are a lot of people who hadn't dipped as far into streaming TV options as they had before, and studios are taking advantage of this to make their offerings as attractive as possible. Sure, maybe people will be watching fewer hours during the day once they go back to work, but I don't see people getting out of the habit of heavy streaming.

And as much as people are excited about getting back to seeing movies on the big screen, I think that there's also going to be more and more demand for tentpole releases in homes, definitely for the rest of 2020, and why not beyond? Most moviegoing experiences are terrible. Even a $350 "4K" TV from Target with the motion smoothing still on is pleasanter. Day and date availability for maybe everyone but Disney and James Bond-scale blockbusters IS the new normal.

I'm also wondering whether people are going to be willing to return to working in the office every single day. Not working from home every single day -- I think we're already seeing the limits of that -- but there's no getting around that people are going to see the benefits to productivity, creativity, and general sanity of not commuting every day, and they're going to insist on being able to do it more often.

So I don't have any doubt that loads will lessen somewhat, but I wouldn't want to place bets on when, or how much "better" things will get....but to bring up issues coming on the "Cupertino, we've got a problem!"
thread, the current group of circumstances are also exposing fundamental inefficiencies and limitations that we're no longer willing to live with.

And to bring this part of the topic back to this thread ☺I think one thing happening here is that people are feeling differently about throttling. It used to be something that companies could hide in the fine print (I just saw in a commercial last night "AT&T will reduce speeds during periods of increased network activity"), and I think most people will tolerate SOME throttling, but there's a reason why people are gravitating toward Zoom instead of Skype. As a platform, Skype has lots of cool features, but Zoom handles throttling better.

In the longer run, governments have understood roads and bridges as part of national DEFENSE infrastructures as much as public SERVICE. You do it because the nation's survival depends on it. I think that all countries are going to be thinking about the internet the same way, if they're not already.

I know that mobile companies are already preparing for this, with phones that support 5G before networks do. This will help drive demand for new antennas that communities may have been dragging their heels on. The ability of mobile devices to do what we need them to do in the near future depends on it.

That is, my theory is that this isn't just a blip in the system. My feeling is that it represents dozens of forks in the road -- for how we think about schools, health care, work, food, entertainment, travel, and yes, the internet, but many many more as well -- and that for each them, this is a before-and-after moment. If we're actually learning from this experience, then virtually nothing will be the same afterward.

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