The internet was created in the late sixties, but didn’t really start to catch on until about 1995. Back then, it was never conceived that it would be used for many of the things that it’s being used for today.
Where is the internet heading? Many trends have already emerged.
People use the internet as the first point of call when searching for information – no longer a library or yellow pages.
Socialising and meeting new people is no longer limited by geographical boundaries. If Facebook were a country it would be the third most populous in the world, with over 400 million users networking with each other.
For business, high quality video conferencing in virtual boardrooms will become normal, those who have had a video call on Skype will have had a glimpse into this future.
Watching TV shows when they are scheduled is a thing of the past already. Video hire shops are limited by the stock they can hold. Video on demand over the internet will allow viewing anything anytime, without having to go out!
Some of these innovations are constrained by currently installed technology. The Australian government has proposed a National Broadband Network (NBN) which will improve internet speed, but it won’t come online for years, and it will still be slower than what other countries can access.
In the USA, Google is starting to build a network with speeds of 1 gigabit per second, 10 times faster than that proposed by the NBN.
The internet is the modern day equivalent of the 19th century railways, and the 20th century telephone. It warrants significant investment in infrastructure to enable Australia to engage with the world on a level field into the future.