Broadband and changing technology


A chara, Some 30 years ago, my first desktop computer was an Amstrad 1640, pretty much top of the line as regards home PCs available in Ireland at that time, sporting 640kb of memory.

The world wide web came into existence in 1990 and my modem connected at 1200kb per second on old copper and I have been connected ever since.

Today my mobile phone has 64GB of memory, and on a fair day can get 120MB per second downloaded via a wireless connection, admittedly in an urban environment.

Over that 30 years the speeds available for data transfer and the invention and evolution of technology have progressed at a speed that even the nerdiest struggle to keep pace with.

I note that two space companies, one owned by Elon Musk from Tesla, and another by Jeff Bezos from Amazon, intend to launch several thousand small satellites into orbit to deliver low-cost broadband via satellite to the remotest corners of the planet.

The first of these launches is scheduled to take place this week.

The initial subscription prices are indicated to be a tenth of the cost per year of traditional hard-wired infrastructure and, with the competitive nature of the two company owners, it is expected that global satellite broadband from low Earth-orbit satellites offering total planetary coverage is not far off.

Over a 30-year period a lot can happen in the technology world.

I fear that the way in which broadband has been mishandled over many years may lead to us all having the €3 billion equivalent of an Amstrad 1640 rusting away somewhere, probably in the shed next to the voting machines. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.