Competition Spurring Ultra-fast 4K UHD Ready Internet Connectivty in the U.S
by Stephan Jukic – July 30th, 2014
Heavy efforts by Google, Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast and others are causing a major shift in how fast the implementation of really powerful Ultra high speed internet connectivity becomes widespread. Instead of the lackadaisical pace that’s been often the case up to now, connectivity improvements are being pushed forward ever faster as pressure on the above companies comes from media hungry online video watchers, tech start-ups, financial companies and some of the major streaming services that are now delivering both HD and even UHD content to homes.
For quite some time, in the face of low competition and unclear demand, internet service providers have been content to sell internet connections that rarely exceed 15 Mbps to most U.S homes. The multibillion dollar investments needed to increase that velocity so that it matches what’s available in many Asian and European countries simply didn’t seem worth the effort.
However, this is changing now. Companies like Google (in particular) and even certain major cities are pushing for improvement as they note that their users and residents are hungry for the kind of powerful connectivity that can deliver high bandwidth content without problems and latency.
In recent weeks, Time Warner and AT&T have both openly claimed that they are both willing and able to start delivering ultra-high broadband connectivity to certain major and highly lucrative city markets. Google, for its part, has also been rolling out its ultra-powerful Fiber broadband service to select cities and regions of the country.
While there may indeed be some posturing in all of these piecemeal efforts and promises, a lot of analysts nonetheless see the effect it has as being extremely positive for creating awareness of the need for genuine connectivity power to consumers’ homes in the coming years.
Furthermore, as online content becomes ever more bandwidth intensive and streaming content providers start rolling out ever more resolution packed 4K UHD content as well as 1080 HD videos, more people have an interest in being able to enjoy such options.
According to Jeff Heynen at information media consulting firm Infonetics Research, “Regardless of what Google ends up doing, what they’ve successfully done is introduce the idea of gigabit broadband and ask the relevant question of why more of America doesn’t have it”.
Across the country, only about 10% of homes currently have access to the really powerful potential of fiber-optic internet connectivity, which currently provides the best option for 150+Mbps connection speeds that can truly be called Ultra-fast.
The idea is for this grade of connectivity to keep growing as quickly as possible and Google alone already has plans for unrolling its 1 Gbps Fiber service to 34 more cities in the next year. This will prompt ever stiffer demand on Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T to offer similar broadband power.
Ultimately, this increasing drive towards much more powerful connectivity will be a massive boost for the growing market in 4K content and display technology. Companies like Amazon and Netflix are already filming all of their new content in the 4K format and many others are joining in the same efforts. Ultra-high speed internet that offers 100+ Mbps will make transmission of streaming 4K video a piece of cake to the homes that have access to such internet connectivity.
Currently, with video compression technologies such as Google’s VP9 and the HEVC –H.265 standard, 4K streams need a minimum of 15 Mbps to effectively play on a web connected TV or computer.
Story by 4k.com