NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Amidst all the technology changes happening in 2012 -- from Windows 8 to the new iPhone this fall -- the biggest one is happening more discreetly, without you even knowing it. It will change the way we interact with the Internet and, thus, the whole world. Your broadband connection is getting even faster. Ridiculously fast.
The Internet started out at 56 kilobytes per second. In other words, it took time just to push a small bit of data over the wire. The Internet was not built for movies, music or even eBooks. It was meant for simple, small things. But now? Now, in 2012, our Internet service providers are pushing forward our connections at an unprecedented rate.
In June, Verizon started rolling out its new top-tier service, FiOS Quantum. This connection brings 300 megabits per second download speeds to the common household. (By comparison, 300 megabits per second is 38,400 kilobytes.) In July, Comcast began offering the same level of service with their Xfinity Platinum Internet offering.
Do you remember when you first heard that people were storing full length movies on their hard drives? Do you remember how huge the file sizes for HD movies were, and how it seemed like it would take up crazy amounts of space to try and save one of them -- let alone the time it would take to download one? A 5GB HD movie, at these new speeds, can be downloaded in little more than two minutes.
And then, in July, as we tried to come to grips with what people might be able to do with 300 megabits per second, Google trumped everyone. Google announced they are becoming an internet and cable provider. Starting in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., Google will be providing 1 gigabit per second internet. That HD movie download time that seemed so impressive in the last paragraph? Try downloading it in 5 seconds. For only $70 a month.
In my career, I've worked with really large files. I used to be a video editor, and working with all the source files for a huge HD project, I may have been looking at 100 GB of data or so. Downloading that at what will soon be the new normal would have taken less than 2 minutes. This flow of data is inconceivable.
There may be no real practical application of this event that can be understood today. Yes, our videos will be faster, our connections will be stronger, and the lag time in video games will be non-existent. That's all the stuff that we know today -- this change will open up the dreams of tomorrow.