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Tuesday, October 12, 2004they are discovering that it is not enough.In Japan, for example, consumers can access the Internet at an average speed of 11 megabits a second. That's at least five times as fast as the average U.S. Internet connection, yet Japanese consumers don't always get to take full advantage of that blazing speed. When they download movies from the Web, the video is often streamed to their computers at only 500 kilobits a second -- about the same as in the U.S.At that speed, video quality lags what's available on digital pay-TV systems. Faster video streaming would eliminate problems with dropped signals, pauses, and herky-jerky pictures.It could be an important turning point for telecom. The industry has been depressed for years because excess capacity led to a spiral of falling prices and financial ruin. The need to build out more broadband could be a very good thing for the industry's financial health. These upgrades will be as much about software as hardware. Application developers have to figure out how to better tailor services like video on demand, which originally wasn't designed for two-way broadband networks. Om Malik writes," unlike the last time around, the last mile would and should get more dollars this time."
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