50Mb Broadband

Today, the BBC announced that Virgin are planning to offer 50Mb broadband, making it the first major provider to offer the new technology on a wide scale. Unusually, the UK is a step behind many other European companies when it comes to the next generation of broadband.

The new technology uses fibre optic cables that allow much faster data transfer speeds than previous ADSL connections. However, the cost of supplying fibre optics across the UK is expected to cost several Billion pounds and service providers such as BT have been reluctant to foot the bill.

Broadband speeds will increase dramatically over the next few years, and this will have a significant effect on way we use the Internet. Faster speeds will allow websites to make greater use of hi resolution videos and larger applications. YouTube and Facebook, for example, are two major sites that will be able to take full advantage of this new technology. Ten years ago, when the Internet was in its infancy, 56k modems were cutting edge. Websites were very different compared to today, largely because of the restrictions imposed by limited data transfer. The social networking and media sharing sites such as YouTube would not be possible under those conditions. Although many people think of this new technology as a means to get faster Internet access and download speeds, I would argue that the real benefit is the freedom it gives websites to move forward and shape the future of the Internet.

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