I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.
Two billion people (maybe 3) do not have internet today
A big conversation right now is the concept of free Internet. I want to break this up a little bit into two distinct conversations. The first is the concept of free. The second is the best way to serve the maximum number of people with Internet services. There are 2 to 3 billion people globally that have zero access today. When you think about 2 to 3 billion lots of zeros, that is a big number. But when you think about the 7 1/2 billion people on earth, it's a smaller number, less than half. There have been many free Internet service providers over the years; the reality of a free Internet service provider is that it is free, but you cannot turn off the advertising. Yes, you get free service, but the reality is you get so little bandwidth that you really can't function in the modern Internet world. So we have to ask what is free Internet is? That is a topic we will discuss further in this article.
The next thing to talk about is the broader concept of getting the Internet to the 2 to 3 billion people that don't have Internet. We are not talking just cell service or just Internet service; the reality as we move to the world of cellular conductivity is that they want more. Not just a cellular signal so you can talk to Uncle Ted. But also a data connection to switch to a video call and see Uncle Ted. I know I've mentioned this many times, but we talk about the three core connections in the enterprise resource triangle. The network connects the device to the destination. The destination provides services, and the device provides the user. Let's take the scenario of a child at home attending school virtually, and You have a child attending virtual school from home. Likely one or more adults in their life are also home working. That is two users on the Internet. It means they need more bandwidth. But this is not a discussion of the technology required and the network routing necessary to support the user. Rather this is a simple mathematical equation. I heard there would be no math. Sadly there is now, and it's the kind of math that we need to have a long-sought process around both the United States and other nations throughout the world.
Louisiana politician Huey P. Long was famous for giving everyone a chicken in every pot. He also said a car in every garage. Let's change cars and chickens to free or access to the Internet. Make a new dream of the Internet for everyone. I'm not going to argue free because free is a misnomer. Instead, I'm simply going to argue the mathematics of why we're going to have a problem very quickly. Let's take, for example, a small town with very limited cell service. Today let's say 10,000 people live in this mountain city. It's in Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. They have limited Internet access, so the government decides they will establish a free cable modem in every single house. Ten thousand people will probably live in around 6000 houses, give or take. Wait a minute; you said there was no math?
The math is pretty simple here; we have roughly 6000 cable modem connections. Let's assume about 6000 homes, 2000 of them are in apartment buildings, and 4000 are in single-family or duplex homes. That means they're going to be roughly 4402 trenches dug from the phone company's central office to each of the connected facilities. Note, 4000 houses get 4000 cable connections. The remaining 402 connections represent single trenches to dubplates and single trenches to apartment houses. That is a lot of holes in the ground.
A trenching machine is faster than a human digging a trench by hand. There are still things required. You also have to clear the right of ways and other legal hurdles. It can take a year or more to get the proper paperwork. After terminating the cable, you have to install the modem in the house.
- You have spent six months digging 4400 cables
- 6000 new cable modems in homes
- People that take calls about service issues
- Cut Cables
- Bad or spotty service
- Other login issues
- A backhoe can easily take out multiple cable modems.
I guress the end game is pretty simple. You can't cut a wireless cable as there are no cables!
Now let's take the other side of the argument; I want to offer 5G services throughout the world, first to those two little mountain villages in Bosnia or Serbia, I won't just offer the 10,000 people of that small hamlet access to the Internet. The best way to do it is to run to cables one to a tower on one side of town, and one to a tower on the other side Tower can serve between 5000 and 8000 people so you have the capacity for the small towns actually to encourage tourism well. You quickly provide Internet to all yours. It takes a lot less time to deploy two towers than it does to dig 4400 trenches. By the way, 5G is faster than Wi-Fi today. 5g in many places is now faster than the dedicated internet connection you can get with a cable modem. You get faster Internet that is cheaper and faster than cable modems. Plus, when the 6g standard arrives, no upgrades are required. If there is an upgrade required, it would be to the two towers. If cable modems change, you have to swap out 6000 cable modems.
Let's bring this back to my original questions about what is meant by free. One of the things that you'll notice is if you go to an airport and utilize the free Wi-Fi connection in the airport, you get a lot of ads, and second of all, there's not a lot of bandwidth. The ads don't impact you as much if I triple quadruple or even multiples more bandwidth. Free becomes an option. Because I can offer the service and utilize advertising to pay for most of the cost, let's review this whole thing and wrap this article lab; first off, be wary of free when it comes to the Internet. Free means different things to different people in the world of the Internet. The number one way hackers gain control of personal laptops honestly is the use of honeypot Wi-Fi networks. Free Wi-Fi, people log in, and the backer has access to their machine. So be wary of free. But also be wary of plans to trench where you live. The disruption of digging 4402 trenches to provide Internet service to 6000 people becomes much more expensive. If you think about the impact alone of the trenching process, it's going to be significant. Both solutions have to have at least two trenches to serve the users. But then you have to dig the individual trenches to each home. If you dig into an apartment building, you have to make sure that it has cabling so that each person can have Internet in their apartment. We can remove complexity if we deploy a 5G wireless solution as the predominant Internet connection of the future. Because well Wi-Fi seven lies somewhere in the future, Wi-Fi seven will be slower than 5G. 6G lies somewhere in the future for the wireless world, and it's going to be faster than 5G.
So let's talk about free Internet. It is advertising-laden and won't do what people want. Today, it is time to deploy 5g to build a wireless tomorrow!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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