The Perennial Need for Speed | Light Reading: Vodafone, for one, sounds eager to get away from this obsession with the megabit flow. Matt Beal, the operator's head of technical architecture, envisages a time in the not-too-distant future when speed will be irrelevant and customers will not be able to distinguish between network technologies on that basis. "Customers will solely be focused on the service that we render -- its ability to be agile to their needs, and its ability to be relevant and personalized," he told UBB Forum attendees during his presentation.
Beal is correct in this assessment. Speed is important now because existing infrastructure is still largely metal wire-based and limited in the throughput it can offer. The pricing models of the legacy cable and telephone companies also reflect this, charging consumers more for higher speeds and imposing bandwidth consumption caps.
But as fiber to the premise providing excellent throughput replaces legacy infrastructure, speed will no longer be a distinguishing feature of Internet service for the vast majority of consumers.