Whats the Next and First Big Broadband Application?

We are in the broadband era. There have been stairstep increases in broadband speeds on a market by market basis across the country and the world. As fiber and Docsis 3.0 enter markets, providers jack up their download speeds to 50 and even in some cases 100mbs. That’s great. Speed is always what we need. But what has it brought us so far?

To date, the best and brightest among you have not been able to create and deliver any new applications that take advantage of magnitudes higher of broadband. Not in the U.S., not elsewhere around the world that I have seen. It seems to me that the most popular use of bandwidth that we have been able to come up with is retransmitting TV, Movies and User Generated Content over the net. Maybe we can add online gaming. Replacing consoles in the cloud. Then there is online backup. (disclosure , im an investor in Filesanywhere) That’s all I can think of. Is that the best we can do with our bandwidth?

Of course not. There are medical, security, engineering, defense and even shared processor applications in private networks. But where are they for the net? You can’t blame cable and telco ISPs. While bandwidth to the home may be limited, thats not the case at universities and corporations. Its not hard or expensive to buy cloud computing from the likes of Amazon, or to put a server next to gigabits of bandwidth at hosting centers. The opportunity to invent new apps or to convert high end commercial apps is there. Why dont we see them available to us?

I’m a believer that there will be new high bandwidth applications that are truly beneficial to society that start to appear in the next 5 years. I also believe that there will be “bandwidth viruses”, hackers will be able to wipe out 100pct of your bandwidth and everything and anything you want to do by simply hosting P2P applications on unsuspecting host computers in our homes that send and receive hundreds of megabytes of noise. If that doesn’t work, the little kid next door can encode his softball game at 20mbs or more per second and get all his buddies around town to continuously receive the stream. Thats all it takes to slow your internet connection to a crawl. In a net neutrality world, he has every right to do that as often as he likes. Unless of course there are bandwith limits.

The point is that the concept of “open internet” where you can use any and all bandwidth how you want, when you want, is very, very flawed. I agree that we should not segregate or discriminate by protocol or destination. That creates a hierarchy of problems. Bits are agnostic. They dont care what they hold, where they originate or what their destination is.

At some point, we have to recognize that in order for high bit rate applications to succeed , at the levels of latency they require, we need a way for people to buy the bandwidth and performance they need, dedicated to the application they want to run. If you need or want more bandwidth for the high end applications that appear, you should pay for them.

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About Mark Cuban 144 Articles

Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, billionaire internet entrepreneur, and chairman and owner of the high definition television channel HDNet.

Mark made business history when at the age of 32 he sold his computer consulting firm MicroSolutions to corporate giant CompuServe and became fabulously wealthy overnight. Cuban later did the same with yet another enterprise, the live streaming Internet operation Broadcast.com, and sold it to Yahoo! for a record breaking price that pushed his own net worth into the billions.

He publishes his own blog at Blog Maverick where he speaks freely about basketball, technology, business, and the Internet.

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7 Comments on Whats the Next and First Big Broadband Application?

  1. ” I also believe that there will be “bandwidth viruses”, hackers will be able to wipe out 100pct of your bandwidth and everything and anything you want to do by simply hosting P2P applications on unsuspecting host computers in our homes that send and receive hundreds of megabytes of noise.”

    One would think if you get to this level where Cuban sits you SHOULD know the recent history or at least basic things like using internet before you open your mouth about it…

    FYI: since the 90s it’s one of the most common end results of break-ins/hacks: your server turns into a low-level temp distrib/dump site of all sorts of ‘good stuff’ (warez, xxx etc.)

    PS: an no, I would never take all your bandwidth because my purpose is to keep its new role hidden and running (exccept if I’m courier but then I wouldn’t really give a damn about your lame home connection unless you’re running on at least a top-tier FiOS line or you’re in Japan, sitting on some yummy gigabit-level home connection…)

  2. Hi Mark,

    I am one of your biggest fans. Good to read your post.

    Regarding FilesAnyWhere – this company looks like that it is dead. It used to be the the top pick at http://www.backupreview.info in their “top 25 online backup companies” for several months. Now, it doesn’t even make it to the list. Why?

  3. It’s not just retransmitting TV and movies – it’s making them available on demand. What cable/satellite TV companies have traditionally called “on demand” have been implemented poorly. The typical cable package is a vast wasteland of shopping channels. Broadband has created a revolution which will relegate cable providers to what they should be: broadband Internet providers. The Bells have done a fine job of making lots of money by providing connectivity without forcing “channel packages” down our throats (although they would like to be in that lucrative game). Now, with broadband, we have emerging choice. You can pay for shows/movies without commercials via iTunes and NetFlix, or you can watch them with commercials at places like Hulu and ABC’s site. The most important thing is that you don’t pay for what you don’t want or need. The death of cable/satellite TV is the future whether you like it or not.

    You also forgot video conferencing and virtual reality. As true broadband becomes available (with large bandwidth in BOTH directions) families will be able to expand something already made very popular by Skype. But the next huge broadband application will likely be delivered via a headset rather than keyboard/mouse/screen. Imagine a visual and auditory ride on a space shuttle or a trip to the Brazilian rainforests in which you control your view and motion through a virtual space that truly seems real. This will demand large amounts of bandwidth as well as new and innovative pieces of hardware and server infrastructure. Services such as Second Life will seem as primitive as the old dial-up BBS systems when virtual reality can be used for learning and exploring rather than silly fantasy role-playing.

  4. The next big thing for the internet is video. Broadcast television is going the way of land lines. The wasted rf spectrum on fixed transmissions is coming to an end. People will watch video when and where they want without being beholden to some arbitrary television schedule. AT&T could offer their video service over comcast cable internet. Comcast could offer their video service over AT&T DSL. HDNet could stream directly to customers instead of relying on Comcasts video service.

    I just got Comcast Docsis 3.0 and it’s awesome. I’ve cancelled my video cable service. I’m buying TV shows through iTunes. The content creators get paid money for the content. I get it commercial free at higher quality (no bits missing cuz a cloud passed overhead that you get with satellite or artifacts from missing blocks because of bad cable reception). I watch the shows when I want on my TV (via AppleTV and a PC for Hulu shows) my iPhone and my laptop.

    All that bandwidth is great for getting the latest World of Warcraft patch too or the latest Windows update. Perhaps with all this bandwidth companies will have the freedom to build hardware that boots off software hosted on the internet instead of having to download a local copy. People will have the bandwidth to quickly back up all of their precious photos and purchased media to hosted servers. If their house burns down they can get all of their electronic data back.

  5. There is a new kid on the block – online backup product that will come out later this month called CloudBerryDrive. It will be powered by amazon S3 reliable and cost efficient storage. If you want to take part in early beta and perhaps get a discount later sign up on the website What safer place to keep your files than Amazon’s servers?

  6. “I just got Comcast Docsis 3.0 and it’s awesome. I’ve cancelled my video cable service. I’m buying TV shows through iTunes.”

    What a load of horse@#$! Then you’re going to pay a LOT of overage fees once you went beyond your monthly traffic quota – yeah, DOCSIS 3.0 and all the nonsense are sooo “awesome” when the crooked and extremely greedy cable industry is trying to turn back the time with introducing traffic caps in order to save their expired business model and outdated network infrastructure, huh?

    This is where we are in 2009, thanks to the crooked FCC and business world: cable corps have their little monopolies, outdated networs due to YEARS OF POSTPONED UPGRADES (A.K.A. GREED), no competition, stuck behind Asia and most of the EU and now these quasi-monopolies try to rewrite the rules.

    Disband the corrupt FCC, form a new agency to oversee competition and equal freedom of choice issues and REGULATE this completely crooked industry.

    It takes ONLY ONE RULE: if you are in the cable TV business then you can ONLY be an ISP IF YOU MAINTAIN FULL NETWORK NEUTRALITY AND NO CAPS.

    Really, it’s this simple: if you don’t like it then fork off, get out of the ISP business, nobody will cry for you, you arrogant fat pighead.
    YOU ARE DOING IT FOR MONEY, not as a public service – so if you don’t like the rules, get lost!

    Cable networks will SLOWLY DIE, period.
    Nobody will pay for their bloody bloated nonsensical and breathtakingly overpriced packages when anyone can watch stuff online for less than 1/3rd of the the price of your monthly cable charges.
    Creative people can thrive as they can finally squash the parasites from big networks and studios yet make MORE money, cable providers will streamline their worthless packages, cut the parasites’ bonuses etc – and customers will pay LESS and get to CHOOSE what they will see and WHEN and WHERE.

    Everybody wins except the parasites – and that’s all good.

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