On-ramp Prospects for the Information Superhighway Dream

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

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The dream of the Information Superhighway is one in which audio (telephone), video (television), information (news, libraries, images) and data are combined in a single network, universally available and inexpensive. Crippled by low bandwidth, the Internet remains a crude prototype of the Information Superhighway. The telephone and cable TV industries are capable of providing ubiquitous high-bandwidth connections. But, these established industries are focused on competing with each other to provide their traditional services, including high growth wireless, rather than focusing on services that technology offers. However, this competition will accelerate demonstration services. Small businesses and corporate Intranet users will create ubiquitous bandwidth demand. Unfortunately, the large communications infrastructure will probably evolve very slowly, moving at a glacial pace. Consequently, it is unclear how the Information Superhighway can be realized without a major restructuring or revolution in the communications industry.