To our utmost dismay, the internet in the U.S. is not the fastest one there is. In fact, the speed is lagging behind many other countries and hinders implementation of major tech trends and advanced systems such as big data. This particular novelty tech has made a big splash, but is yet to reach the promised heights. The global big data market is booming and generating revenues of 22 billion dollars, yet in order to make the most of that immense potential, we have a lot of work to do.
Slugs and snails
There is no need to beat around the bush. It would take huge investments to bring the network on par with the likes of Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Switzerland. Although we’re above the global average of 6.3 Mbps, our 16.3 Mbps still tarries behind many other developed countries. One of the main reasons for this predicament is the lack of competition in the sector of internet service providers (ISPs).
The thing is that there are not enough incentives for ISPs to raise the bar and give us the best possible packages. Hence, it is small wonder that the ISPs are among the most disliked companies in the country. When I wanted to check what the best internet providers near me are, I was shocked by the lack of quality offers. And if we take a look at mobile internet speeds, the situation is even grimmer. While people in Singapore, for instance, enjoy a 4G connection of 37 Mbps, the U.S. is chained to 10 Mbps.
A big problem
The data sets cannot be handled by on-hand database management tools and traditional applications. They call for considerable raw storage, processing power, analytic capabilities, and technical skills. Namely, to extract value from big data, we have to employ predictive analytics and other advanced methods like automation. This is the area where shabby internet directly impacts the process of storing, analyzing, and structuring data.
The problem is not rooted in Tier 1 and Tier 2 networks, but in what is called the “last mile” segment. This weakest link actually connects homes and businesses to the rest of the internet network. It may sound unbelievable, but coaxial copper cables were used for the same purposes back in the days of Alexander Graham Bell. So, although the data can swiftly cover thousands of miles via fiber-optic cables, it becomes congested upon reaching the crucial part of the road.
Breaking new ground
Velocity is a crucial aspect of big data, apart from the other two parts of the holy “3 VS” trinity, the volume and variety. It encompasses the data generation speed as well as the processing speed of analyzing big data sets and gaining actionable information. These processes give rise to the scaling and interconnectedness of big data, which puts great demands on speed and bandwidth. As a result of inadequate infrastructure, this development is inhibited by bottlenecks, jams, and sluggish analytic processes.
On the brighter note, efforts have been made during the previous administration to turn this disadvantaged situation around and extend the fiber network. Many users were given a chance to get the taste of new possibilities via fast and unlimited plans in the league of AT&T U Verse. Still, bear in mind that machine-generated data is gaining traction with the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and trillions of sensors communicating with each other and producing real-time data.
This many-headed tech hydra is expected to surpass the business data sets and those generated on private mobile phones and desktops. For that to happen, though, real-time data analysis will require even more internet speed. Thus, we can only hope that IoT and big data will serve as driving forces behind the much-needed grid overhaul. ISPs will have to step up the game and focus on the ‘last mile’ game to accommodate the ever growing amount of big data and embrace the future sooner rather than later.
In the internet race, there’s not much time to lose in pit stops. The U.S. is under pressure to pick up the pace and take its rightful place in the standings. After all, the degraded internet speed and bandwidth have a detrimental effect on the proliferation of big data technology. We must realize, though, that there are no quick fixes here: It will take a joint effort of policy-makers, providers, and regulatory bodies to make a real difference.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with ten years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.