broadband End User

What Would You Do with Unlimited Broadband Speed and Bandwidth?

I sat in on a BT call recently where the experience of people on the FTTP trials was discussed. Individual users begin to see the bandwidth  constraints of far end networks and servers. In other words their own connection might be like a cow pat off the proverbial shovel but they were still having to wait for a response from a website they were looking at or downloading from.

It would be quite interesting to hear what people might do with the internet if they had unlimited broadband, no bandwidth constraints anywhere.

As a starter I asked around the office and was inundated with good inputs – though there is a theme if you read through the  bullet points below. Thanks to all who provided feedback – I don’t think I need to comment further myself at this point other than to say that whatever you can imagine yourself doing with your connection I could easily envisage multiplying it by orders of magnitude. ie if you think you could regularly use itto download 10TB data then 100TB is around the corner.

  • The only real use of unlimited bandwidth for consumers would be for Media functions. The current demand for TV and movies “on demand” both streaming and purchased and stored on a hard drive (both legal and Illegal) and as we are in a I want this now culture waiting 1-2 hours for a download isn’t good enough which is why Streaming from places like Lovefilm and Netflix is taking off .
  • Linking ourselves via wireless into our own neural network to gain information/communication anywhere any time via an implant – I’d have one! I wouldn’t want anyone to upload from me though:)
  • I think the point is “what would you do if you had unlimited internet access and it was legal to download whatever you want”.The reason I say this is that in an ideal world I’d leave it downloading films, music etc all the time, but of course these come at a cost.  This means that in reality I won’t bother doing this as I can’t afford the actual content that is available.  Therefore the argument that it isn’t required sounds quite just.
    However, if the content were free as well (or a volume was provided by your ISP) then this becomes much more appealing.
  • I can’t imagine I’d change my usage.
  • As more and more devices require updates and internet connection – anyone with a “capped” or limited internet connection can be soon either stuck with an out of date firmware or unable to update as they have reached their limit. Or they get half way through watching “All creature great and small” on the iplayer and they hit their limits.One thing that bothers me is the online films – I would love to use this service, but my speed is to slow at peak times and also I would watch one/two films, hit my limit and not have any internet access at all or if I do I am paying through the nose for it.Cars use the internet  (mainly Mercedes at the moment – 3G, but they can connect to you home LAN via wireless if the 3G is not in your area).   Nearly all new  TV’s have an Ethernet connection – some fridges do – kids toys do.The list goes on.If your car is uploading its data, your kids on the PC, your wife is online shopping, your fridge is ordering your shopping – that is peaking your bandwidth how do I get my work email? Like anything in life if it exists should we not be able to have it – or as humans are we being more greedy with our self-obsession.
  • The main benefits for me would be enabling a complete migration to the cloud for all local file access. For example, if speed wasn’t prohibitive for me accessing and editing files in programs such as photoshop, I would.Dropbox for example one become much more useful. Productivity and redundancy – 2 birds with one stone.Then you have the benefits to full digital delivery of entertainment.TV on demand taking off, gaming on demand… Goodbye Blockbuster. I know it happens today, but we are still scratching the surface of what is achievable.
  • Never had an enquiry or request for unlimited bandwidth. My customers just want unlimited usage!
  • For the vast majority of home users I can’t really see the need for over 100Mb which would be sufficient to stream HD quality video. If a 1Gbps home connection was available and affordable I suspect the few people that would actually require this speed would use it to host their own servers instead of using colo / hosted services.It would be inevitable that a large number of these servers would be hosting copyrighted material. Such a fast connection would make remote storage and cloud computing services available to a larger number of people however not everyone would want to use such services given the security implications.Obviously the previous statements would only be relevant if the 1gbps was symmetrical.Given that I myself live in the countryside and struggle to get 1Mb I would much rather money was spent to upgrade the network in the more rural areas to bring them in line with the rest of the country.Such an upgrade would cost hundreds of millions even billions and given the current economic situation I can’t see it ever happening nor would the majority of tax payers want to foot the bill.As a side note a 1Gbps connection is available or will be very soon to some of the Japanese population so I’m sure some usage details will be available at some point.
  • If it was truly unlimited in speed, I would move everything from my 6 Terabytes of storage (entire 250 DVD/Bluray collection in digital form as well as thousands of CDs backed up in digital form and entire photo collection) to the cloud as it would reduce my power consumption and (more importantly) make them available everywhere I went.  As it is, even with our 50MB Virgin Media service it would take too long to upload all of this as well as keeping it up to date.  It would help with other services like BT vision, sky on-demand, etc. It’s not like you need 1Gb to check your facebook 🙂
  • Community area i.e. our Village Hall – Setup Broadband connection for communal use. TV, Games, laptops, i-phones (simultaneously)
  • Stream HD TV, currently a no go for us, and imagine if everyone in the village did it
  • Being a keen users of services like Dropbox, snapfish, spotify and sky-go I would say that if bandwidth were no object we would subscribe to an increasing amount of residential ‘cloud based services’ and make more use of the available software, storage and processing capability that these sorts of solutions provide.Last night for example we uploaded, shared, modified and purchased for print over 300 photos on Snapfish, however the given that I was also working on it created a bottle neck and we had to leave the upload for over an hour to finish off, this would have also put pay to anything else we were doing on the net. If unlimited bandwidth were available I think there would be a vast update in online storage solutions and cloud based services. Equally we frequently pop to Blockbusters or download films from Sky box office however if a reliable, constant and high speed internet connection were available we would simply stream media from whichever provider was making it available.It is not however the only issue that needs to be fixed. We are now finding that with three or four iPod touches, three iPhones, a couple of PSP’s a PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, wireless streaming media throughout the house with Airport express not to mention a couple of work laptops, an iPad and home PC we are now finding that before we can trouble the internet connection we are struggling with our internal network, both wireless and wired as the demands on our pair of not too shabby £120 routers !
  • I cant see the use for 1Gb broadband at this very minute but it can be likely within a year or so.One of the things it would definitely change is the way we watch TV especially since Sky have launched their Sky Go which allows Sky customers to watch Sky content via the Sky Broadband service. Virgin Media have a similar offering but the best thing Virgin is that they are now offering the TIVO box which allows you to record upto 3 programmes while watching another. This clearly will use a lot of data. In our household we are constantly fighting over the remote to watch our programmes and as a result I and my wife have started recording programmes on Sky+ to watch at a later time. My son tends to watch Cars the film over and over again.My TV set is not HD but the one I want is very very expensive so Im having to wait a few months before I can even think of purchasing it. The reason is that the technology allows the TV to connect to the Internet for Rich Content and I believe this is where we will need to have at least 50Mb of broadband connectivity. If we say there are 3 people watching or streaming programmes in HD content, that will using a fair amount of bandwidth. Also I believe we may get into a state like the far-east where we will be bombarded with content based advertising!!Also I have heard of a UK manufacturer whom has launched a games console which is cloud based and I believe our desktops/laptops will go the same way like Google Desktop. I wont be surprised if Nintendo/Sony or Xbox start going down this route. Also with appliances which will be internet based like Fridges automatically ordering your groceries before they expire. I believe we will be looking at a home controlled by the internet, but that said 1Gb does seem to be too much and not really required in my eyes. Most of the above is not essential for life but clearly will make things easy for us but only for those who can afford it.
Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

7 replies on “What Would You Do with Unlimited Broadband Speed and Bandwidth?”

Case Western Reserve University have wired up a city block in Cleveland with 1Gbps: see

The sort of applications they highlight in their presentations are video-conferencing, tele-medicine (remote monitoring and consultations) and “smart home” monitoring and controls.


Thanks Andrew – with one or two areas in the UK looking like getting a Gig I think we are also likely to see some more info coming out locally as well.

In an ideal world of no high latency and unlimited speeds I would laugh at all the online gamers that used to use lag as an excuse for their poor gaming skills…

Hello Tref

It’s a good question really as no one in the end-user sides of things could really have a definitive answer to what they could use it for!

Although the presentation over the Fibre is vastly better this will eliminate allot of the issues we see in this day an age where copper isn’t up to the job- when you start to hit the 6K mark on lines there is alot of Packet loss issues and stability related problems. If the UK was purely fibre the reliability and quality of service would be 50x better than the current copper line that we use. Pure example of the Carrier Pigeon and the farm.

To be honest I see the whole “Why would we install all this FIBRE when there is no reason for anyone to have that sort of speed?” a bit of a cop out on BT’s behalf.

But that’s just me really.

My usage has remained between 15-30 gig a month over the past 5 years and I suspect most people will have a similar usage pattern. I’d much rather see a reliable, robust infrastructure that provides a consistent service for customers across the UK than pandering to this “I must have xMb mentality” just because an other provider does that on cable as oppposed to the ADSL 2+ copper etc.

At the end of the day – I surf, use you tube, social networking and the odd downloads/uploads and I just want to do that comfortably, and couldn’t care less if it’s done over cable, copper or wood lice chained to a rope pushing and pulling the packets furiously.

I like the way that this guy’s owned up to copyright infringment… “(entire 250 DVD/Bluray collection in digital form as well as thousands of CDs backed up in digital form”

Unless the recent bill has been passed, the is in breech of the ’87 copyright act.

What would I do with unlimited bandwidth? I’d probably be able to get on with my work whilst Wimbledon is on. At the moment, it appears that even ‘business’ ISPs struggle with a few people on iPlayer.

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