Streaming Video: The Truth Serum

I have been criticizing the U.S. F.C.C. for a long time for its use of an embarrassingly small amount of bandwidth (256Kbps) as its stock definition of “broadband,” thereby setting the stage for the U.S. to at least try to feel good on the international stage. Of course, even using this crummy standard, the U.S. still came in 15th, both this year and last, according to the OECD and the ITU (also using the same measure).

I think the real number is 23 and falling.

There is one cure for this self-delusion: the customer, and her increasingly-likely demand to see full-frame video on her screens. Oops, can’t fake this one.

For that reason, I look at streaming video as a form of truth serum that will rapidly be applied by the market to the fako-monopoly marketeers, the monopolists and their lobbyists, and the pawn-like FCC.

While I have no doubt that increasingly effective codecs will continue to improve this situation, the best answer is to make the investment in bandwidth, a la Verizon and BellSouth. (At least these legacy players are putting their money where their future is.)

Since broadband, perhaps in tandem with one to one educational reform, are the two most important things a nation can do to improve economic performance over the long run, it would seem that the appearance of a Truth Serum is good news for all of us.