You may not know it, but the cable industry is fighting a battle for the future of the internet. In the grand scheme of things, I think both the FCC and the Cable and Satellite industries want to see the internet thrive. In this case I believe the FCC is making a mistake.
Every now and then, things get a little confused and in this case the confusion is going to cause the internet to take a hit. It could be a potentially big hit, and the only group fighting it is the cable industry, and yours truly.
The Cable industry has been doing exactly what every internet user in search of more bandwidth wants them to do, converting analog versions of channels to digital. Each analog channel takes up 38mbs of bandwidth. Thats right. CSPAN takes up more bandwidth than you have available to you for internet services. Crazy isnt it ?
The standard def digital version of the same channel takes up less than 3mbs. The typical HD version takes up about 8mbs or less. So, every time a channel is converted from analog to digital a MINIMUM of 28mbs is freed up.
Of course the bandwidth that is freed up can be used for any number of digital offerings, from more internet bandwidth (accomplished via channel bonding and Docsis 3.0), to more HD channels (which obviously is good for our HDNet), more video on demand and more.
Why has the FCC made this an issue ? Because it does reduce the number of channels available to those who connect their cable to older set top boxes or directly to their analog TVs.
So which is more important, protecting analog TV connectivity, or having more bandwidth available ? Obviously I think freeing up bandwidth should be a priority. Otherwise, what is next , stopping Youtube and other video sites from increasing the bit rate of videos because those with dialup will be forced to upgrade ?
Broadband should be a priority in this country. It not only equates to faster internet service, but it will open up many new applications that can significantly impact our society. All of which are far more important than making sure that an old analog TV can receive a few more basic cable tv channels.