Star Trek tech: if government stays out of the way
In Star Trek, Captain Kirk communicates to his allies and enemies via a giant video wall on his space ship’s holodeck. Decades ago, those science fiction fantasy technologies seemed far fetched, but apps like Zoom and Apple’s Facetime have made real-time video chat a reality. The next wave of technology is approaching at warp speed–some of it exceeds our imagination–but the government could stand in the way of innovation.
One of those new technologies is 10G, a blazingly fast internet upgrade that will provide the power for a variety of next generation technologies such as video walls in the workplace, holodecks, advanced alternative reality games and tools, and also promises innovations not yet imagined. The benefits will spread across wired, wireless, fixed and mobile networks in such a way that the communications platform will be seamless.
You may have heard of “5G,” the fifth generation of wireless, which is currently being rolled out across the country. 5G is described as a “system of systems,” which works with previous technologies and requires some new infrastructure. This includes small antennas, many miles of new fiber, cell towers, and base stations. 5G improves wireless and wired connections to complete the broadband communications loop. .
What is 10G then? First off, it’s not the tenth generation of wireless. In fact, it is not a wireless technology at all. While the “G” in 4G and 5G, stands for “generation” in the case of 10G, the “G” is about speed. This network improvement, 10G, will reach speeds of 10 gigabits per second delivered to the home and boast increased security. Current cable systems deliver around 1 gigabit speeds. The pathways for the infrastructure improvements are already laid, now it takes upgrading the existing networks with new software and hardware to make it work.
As 10G continues to advance, it will compete with existing wireless technologies, and that’s the sort of free market competition that serves customers best. The free exchange of goods and services in a free market benefits all. In a truly competitive marketplace, businesses must constantly be seeking ways to please customers. Only by pleasing customers can a business advance its own interests.
No doubt some of the new applications built on these emerging platforms will fail, while others will be wildly successful. Some will be an extension of what already exists, while others will change the way we communicate, be entertained, seek health care, get educated, shop, and generally live our lives. Just as predictably, these advances will challenge our ability to navigate our ever increasingly interconnected world.
One of those challenges will be to keep innovation largely free of discriminatory regulations and laws. Often such discrimination is driven by a dystopian view of the future instead of the American path of optimism, invention, creation, and a belief that we can leverage such tools to create a better place for us and our families to live, learn and play.
Given the competitive broadband marketplace today and the wonders yet to come because of technological advances, if the government stays out of the way in appropriate ways, our nation can continue to lead the world in its economy and innovation.
The demand for broadband, like wireless, and the need for uninterrupted connectivity continues to grow rapidly. Experts expect that in 2023, 29.3 billion connected devices will be used, up from 18.4 billion in 2018. The increase will continue to require greater speeds and lower latency (the time it takes for information to travel back and forth across the internet).
Here in Louisiana, both Comcast and Charter provide cable broadband service around the state. Both are already deploying 10G in their national systems and are on a path to provide it more broadly. That’s good news for the state economy.
Nationally, the cable broadband industry is investing in a way that will result in a $330 billion impact that will show up as increased GDP and new jobs. Even more impressive is that the improvement to the communications ecosystem is projected to result in more than 650,000 jobs across industries, both in urban and rural areas. This includes more than 200,000 skilled construction jobs as crews upgrade and extend the network across the country.
The ubiquity of high speeds – a hundred times faster than 4G, with much lower latency – and enabling more of everything valued in broadband are definite appeals of this wireless innovation. The world will continue to be opened to promised technological advancements such as remote surgery, tactile real-time feedback for robotics, self-driving vehicles, and wonders we still have not yet begun to imagine. It’s truly the stuff of Star Trek—but only if the government stays out of the way.
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