Thursday, March 20, 2008 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

My Barbaric Yawp

Kyle McSlarrow of NCTA this morning hosted a teleconference on network management practices. He made a number of good points about the costs of archaic regulatory requirements, the near ubiquity of cable high-speed services, the work that is being done to build faster and better broadband networks, and the need for sensible, balanced, and equitable customer service disclosures. I can do little to add to the force of those points and won’t endeavor to try.

More importantly from my perspective, though, is that Mr. McSlarrow added color and line to a vision of the future that is hazy shades of gray for most of us. As he pointed out, the broadband market is yet in its infancy. It is the offspring of diverse experimentation, and it shall grow only through more, and varied, experimentation. Like Walt Whitman putting the chuff of one hand on our hip and gesturing with the other to the vast unknown landscapes before us, Mr. McSlarrow rightly cautioned against taking our ease with what we know today – today’s technologies, today’s protocols, today’s data sharing applications, today’s networks or services.

For tomorrow will turn upon technologies, networks, applications, and protocols that, in 2008, are nothing more than mysterious phantoms of ideas. And the speed of innovation is, if anything, increasing. We may well, in very short order, and assuming the government doesn’t freeze technology into place with misguided regulations or unnecessary limits on innovative new business models, all interact with technologies in ways that would seem completely foreign now.

And therein lives the magic of ingenious engineering, creative marketing, and courageous entrepreneurship. The vast, unknowable landscape of tomorrow can only be discovered by leaving the market free to explore where it will. “Here are bisquits to eat and here is milk to drink, but as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.”

Mr. McSlarrow today showed us the open gate to the future.

posted by W. Kenneth Ferree @ 5:18 PM | Broadband , Communications