ahoy: better late than never?
I am one of the lucky
chosen few with access to ADSL for thirty quid a month. As one of
the unlucky put-upon few that used to pay £12k PA for a 64k
leased line at the dawn of the commercial internet in the UK, I
look at the ADSL stats: 256kBit downstream, 128k upstream and
don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
One cannot deny that this is progress, but it’s come 3
years after Tony promised in a fit of political blather of
monumental blandness that the UK would be the best place on earth
“in which to conduct e-commerce”. But by now, most dotcom
dreams have become nightmares, most telcos and cable companies and
media businesses have headed south for the next decade, so it all
seems too little, too late.
Or is it?
The idea that that a
website alone was going to revolution anything now seems a little
improbable – something that only seriously inexperienced
businesspeople like bankers and politicians might have been able
to get worked-up about. And technologists who had been perpetually
starved of resources in a commercial world hitherto made prosaic
by bean counters, leapt eagerly at the chance for their fifteen
minutes of fame and all the money they could spend.
And once again, those who did as little as possible to
survive and kept their heads down, emerged from the wreckage of
others’ visions and dreams, ahead of the game. Those who never
spent £12k PA on a feeble 64k internet connection have saved a
load of money and can now reap the benefits set into action by
those who did. Life’s a bitch, eh?
Whatever we may think of
Boo.com and its friends, just about everyone has email, most
business have websites, many individuals have websites. So there
has been a revolution going on in spite of the gloom and doom, and
there is still a lot that can be creatively done with that ADSL
Some things have changed
for ever: magazine advertising and publishing in general has yet
to work out a new and relevant role in the wired world.
Exhibitions have lost their lustre as all the information on all
the products on the planet are now on the web. Exhibitions are
even losing their attraction as a grand “jobs marketplace” as
companies (at last) work out that they are paying £000s to send
staff to what are, in effect, 3 days job interviews to be poached
by their competitors on the next stand.
The idea that a website
intelligently attached to an existing business that has experience
in tackling the real world issues of marketing, stock management,
despatch, customer support is obvious. The widespread availability
of an “always on” internet connection transforms the process
through which email and other internet “push” information can
at last operate.
It may not seem like such
a big deal, but the difference between dialup and ADSL is the
difference between a floppy disk and hard drive.
So I’ll put up with my ADSL service going wrong regularly
once every 3 or 4 weeks “for no apparent reason”, it is the
start of the future.