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Ultra-fast Broadband: What Else will Change in our Lifetime?

By Edited Oct 15, 2016 0 0

The Changing Face of the Internet

Technology moves so fast these days, that it can seem hard to keep up. Most of us are old enough to remember not having any internet access at all, and yet nowadays internet access is taken for granted by nearly everyone. So what else can we expect to see change in our lifetimes? Some of these processes are already under way, others are only possibilities at the moment, but most of them are sure to happen, and happen pretty soon too...

Ultra Fast Broadband...

In the days of dial up internet the fastest data speed that you could expect was a mere 56 Kps. Nowadays, a good fibre optic broadband connection gets up to 100 Mbs. The speed with which data can move has increased tremendously during recent years, and there's no real sign of that changing. Fibre optic cable networks are becoming more and more available across the UK, meaning that many of us now have access to them. And of course, these faster speeds mean that ability to open web pages faster, download more quickly and play intensive online games without lagging. And there's no reason at all why 100 Mbs should be our limit. In fact, 100 Mbs isn't even the limit for fibre optic cables, it's simply the current limits. You can realistically expect broadband internet speeds to at the very least double within the next decade...

3G to 4G Switch Over...

Another trend that's already under way is the switch over from traditional 3G mobile data to 4G. Most top end phones these days are 4G capable, and all the major mobile operators are busy working on their 4G networks to improve access. In fact, some estimates say that eighty per cent of the UK should have access to a 4G mobile network within the next eighteen months or so. 4G give you broadband speeds for your smart phone, meaning that you can use your phone to do tasks that you'd normally reserve for the faster speeds of your home computer. Right now, plans are expensive, but as more networks open and more operators have 4G data plans, competition is going to drive those prices down. And in the future? Hopefully there's going to be no need for mobile data at all. With more and more cities pushing free WiFi access for everyone, you might be able to rely on free data, rather than a mobile data plan...

 Mobile Broadband Dongle? No Thanks...

Mobile broadband has been a big step forward for many people. Allowing internet access on your lap top anywhere that you are means that working and even entertainment whilst on the go is easy. Get yourself a mobile broadband dongle, insert your mobile broadband SIM card, and you're ready to go. But this is already beginning to change. Many top end lap tops and most tablets nowadays accept SIM cards directly, meaning that there's no need for additional hardware, and this is likely to become the norm. As 4G networks grow and mobile data speeds become faster, using a mobile operator to get internet access on your lap top is going to become ever more popular. And with the rapid rise in popularity of tablets, a SIM card is going to become standard equipment for travellers and commuters. But again, with more widespread WiFi availability, even getting an internet connection on the train should get easier, and you might not need that SIM card...

Monstrous Smart Phones...

It used to be that we were all looking for the smallest mobile phone that we could get a hold of. Portability was key in mobile technology. And then smart phones, with their touch screens, came along, and suddenly, small was no longer desirable. Touch screens need to be big, not just for viewing, but also for using, since typing on on screen keyboards are necessary, not to mention things like editing pictures and reading whole web pages without zooming and scrolling every second. So phones started to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Most of today's top end models have massive five inch screens, and some models are even larger than that, making smart phones less and less portable with every new model that comes out. But we are going to see a move back towards portability in the future. Flexible screen material has already been patented by Samsung. This will mean that you can get a screen as large as you want, on a phone that you can roll up to the size of a pencil and slide into your pocket. This flexible screen technology is going to change everything about smart phones, and is expected to launch on the consumer market sometime in the next year and a half or so...

Mobile Service Issues...

However, even as smart phones are going to get better and faster, our need for mobile service is going to diminish. Why? Quite simply because of the internet. Even now the vast majority of people prefer using free web based services like Skype or Viber to make calls and send messages. This means that paying for mobile minutes and texts is becoming less and less necessary. As more people realise that switching to a free web based service is a better and cheaper way to get constant communication, what's going to happen to mobile contracts and operators? Expect to see unlimited calling and text messaging become standard with operators over the next couple of years. Operators get these services so cheaply anyway, that charging customers for them is going to become ridiculous. Instead, operators are going to concentrate more and more on providing mobile data services, including mobile broadband. Speeds will go up and prices will go down. And not incidentally, look out for vast cuts in the prices of mobile roaming as well. Legislation is already in effect that controls the price of roaming within the EU, and you should be able to use your UK phone inside Europe for the same price as you pay at home within the next couple of years.

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