O2 Blackout: Mobile Networks Are Damaging Tech Innovation

July 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials


Gordon Kelly: Forget Microsoft versus Apple versus Google, the real villains are your telcos.

O2 Blackout: Mobile Networks Are Damaging Tech Innovation

I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!
-Howard Beale, Network

25 hours. 1500 minutes. 90,000 seconds. Whichever ever way you divide it this was the time O2 customers screamed blue murder and national newspapers, radio and TV made the network’s one day outage headline news. With it came the same old quips about taking a moment to look up from our phone screens and enjoy the world around us, but few spotted the bigger issue: the future of technology is built upon horrendously weak foundations.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, Sony, Nokia, HTC, ARM, Dropbox, Spotify, Sky, the BBC… all of these companies and many, many more have astoundingly ambitious plans for technology over the coming years and yet every single one will require a reliable, ultra-fast Internet connection to fully enjoy it. In 25 years this has yet to happen widely on the ground and – as O2 has so strongly reminded us – it is an utter mess in the air. Isn’t the future supposed to be mobile?

And what of the future? In the UK LTE, the successor to 3G, has become as well known for its delayed arrival as its potential speed advances. Whereas other countries like Sweden and Norway and even geographic monsters such as the US and India have managed to get LTE networks up and running, Britain believes 2015 is a more realistic date for its widespread rollout. We were told LTE should initially provide a reliable 2-4Mbit connection, but what will be our data demands then?

The signs aren’t good. Ofcom claims the average home broadband user now downloads 17GB of data each month, a seven fold increase in just the last five years. It sounds a huge amount given the 1GB monthly cap imposed by most mobile network’s data packages, but 17GB translates to just 12 hours streaming HD content from BBC iPlayer. Interestingly increased speed only feeds our hunger with Virgin Media admitting each month its 10Mbit customers typically consume 19GB while its 100Mbit customers go through 130GB. This is a sample, read the rest of the article on TrustedReviews

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