Going backwards to go forwards
I had a long discussion on chat with a friend yesterday about what's going to happen concerning internet connectivity and the general public, focusing on how people are going to get connected.
If you think about it for a second (or two), internet is becoming a lot like radio and television used to be, meaning you go to the store, pick up a box, plop it in your living room, turn it on and tune in. You don't have to subscribe/sign-up/pay for anything. You just turn it on and enjoy.
And how is the 'net becoming like this? Wireless connectivity, obviously. There are more and more metro areas that offer free wi-fi to anyone who wants to use it. In the past (and still today) you could set a radio anywhere and tune in a station. With the 'net, you can do that with a laptop.
Kind of interesting how that all works out.
Some said at one time "There's no way will be a television set in every home in America." They were wrong. There are some saying now "There's no way there will be a computer in every home in America." That may be true now.. but soon it won't be.
How will computers get into every home in America? Probably by using something like this. Very small and compact. I believe units like these will pave the way towards everyone having a computer in their house.
I believe before 2015 all major towns in the U.S. will have free wi-fi, provided by tax dollars. That's not exactly "free", I know, but you get the idea. I also believe the computers themselves will also be provided by tax dollars, like the one I linked above.
Will they have keyboards and mice? Doubt it. Too complicated for some. They'll probably all be touch screen. The keyboard will be optional.
What would the point of putting computers in people's homes be? Well, how about...
- Priting a DMV vehicle registration certificate right from the computer (think of never standing in line at the DMV).
- Getting your kid's grades from the school's computer right to yours - anytime you want.
- Watching a local town meeting via a webcast.
- Getting local traffic updates from your local department of transportation (a.k.a. DOT)
- Having the entire local phone directory at your fingertips.
Yeah, I know, you're saying most of those things are already available on the internet. True. But honestly, how many people actually know how to get to those places? Not that many. If a local government-sponsored initiative took place to put computers in people's houses that were easy to use, I'm betting that most people would go for it.
I'm also betting that if your local town gave discounts or write-offs on things should you choose to do them online compared to traditional methods, it would be an ever larger incentive for people to go for it.
And heck, if the system was designed to allow for local businesses to purchase advertising in the system (much like the local phone book), this would ever further its value.
Some of you would also say "Like hell if I'm paying taxes for that." Honestly speaking, I would. Not an outlandish amount, obivously. Five bucks a year. Take a state like Connecticut that has 3.5 million people in it. Five bucks * 3.5 million people is 17.5 million dollars. While that wouldn't pay for a computer in everyone's home now - it will in the not-too-distant future. The computers would obviously not be delivered all at once either. They would be deployed over a period of time. After the boxes are sent out, the money could be used to maintain and upgrade the network.
So did televisions.