How has the broadband technology affected the social, political, and economic aspect of the society using them? What are the pros and cons of this new technology? Ever since the introduction of high speed internet, things have never been the same again. The broadband can be defined as a technology which allows communication over an extensive band of frequencies which have been divided into numerous autonomous channels for simultaneous broadcasting of different signals (Ruiz, 2004). It allows data, voice, and video to be broadcasted over the same medium at equivalent times. The broadband also allows several data channels to be transmitted simultaneously. Though the internet was discovered much earlier, it was slow and cumbersome, and therefore, the discovery of the broadband technology increased internet speeds thereby growing tremendously over the years. The broadband has transformed the lives of different communities in an immense way and has expanded amount of data that can be transferred across the internet and the World Wide Web. Also known as the Broadband Internet Access, it has ushered in a new way of how people use computers. According to Selouani (2007), the broadband is a type of internet access that has a high data rate. Its access to the internet is always referred to as ‘high speed’ since it transmits data at a very a high pace. The broadband technology originated from the radio systems engineering.
The average quality of a broadband technology is mostly ADSL and cable internet, but new technologies entail VDSL and optical fiber (Lehr, 2005). Lately, there has been the use of fiber-optic communication which has really enabled the accessibility of the broadband internet whereby information is transmitted cheaply over long distances. In addition, the access to broadband mobile internet to consumers in a few countries is done through HSDPA and EV-DO technologies nowadays. For instance, the WiMAX technology is the latest to be used for both stationery and mobile broadband (Fransman, 2006).
The broadband technology has massively impacted on various communities around the globe. For instance, cases of changes in people’s behaviors, their relationships and attitudes of the masses have been widely reported. Countries have had major boost in their economies as a result of this technology. Besides healthcare, small businesses such as cyber cafes, entertainment spots, travelling agencies and many other businesses have sprung up. The broadband is essential in passing information, applications and various contents to its consumers, students and also small businessmen. Social networking has proved to be a fast growing type of communication both personally and as a group. Examples of these social networks include Facebook and Twitter. Broadband communication has also brought about a wide range of other benefits to many countries, such as creation of jobs, reduction of the cost of business, foreign investment, innovativeness and creation of numerous other economic opportunities. Most developed nations have utilized this technology and hugely benefitted from it. In addition, this high speed internet connection can be found in many households (Cohill, 2005).
During the past years, most of the rural folks in developing countries could not afford broadband solutions such as DSL and cable broadband due to its expensiveness and difficulty to spread out. However, the situation has changed recently and broadband technology has become more accessible, cheap, reliable and easy to layout. According to Ruiz (2004), remote areas have benefited especially through combining WiMAX and WI-FI networks which have proved to be very portable and mobile. Another good thing about this wireless technology is that as its demand grows, it can be increased without costly upgrades. WiMAX gives both fixed and mobile services, and it can also allow for the addition of data and voice thereby resulting in the reduction of connectivity cost.
There is no doubt that access to broadband communication is very crucial in the enhancement of rural development. It has improved many economies, healthcare provision and the general way in which people live. Most people, both in the rural and urban areas, have had their lives changed immensely through this technology. For instance, communication between friends and relatives has been made easier and faster through the use of email, webcam, and video conferences (Lehr, 2005). The email, though perceived to be old fashioned, has rendered the use of postal mail helpless since chatting and instant messaging has become the trend nowadays. Information can now be accessed at a faster rate by the click of a button. Time is also saved in travelling and in movement of money to banks, since many payments and transactions nowadays are done online. Most people can read newspapers online instead of having of buying printed material.
The education sector is also one of the major beneficiaries of this technology. For example, E-Learning and projects research can be done using broadband technology without necessarily going to the library. On the other hand, entertainment has lately shifted to the internet where music and documents can now be downloaded. Many people nowadays actually work from their homes thus avoiding the hustle and tussle of going through traffic jams to offices. It is worth to note that most of the benefits accrued from the internet are actually possible due to the connection of the broadband technology. Nevertheless, broadband technology has its own shortcomings. There has to be two sides of a coin; the positive and the negative side of any argument. High speed internet connection has its disadvantages. Internet fraud and insecurity, for example, have been on the rise. In addition, there is no regulation on its content and therefore, pornographic sites and other explicit sites have found their way into the web. Viruses are also a common phenomenon on the web (Cohill, 2005).
Developing nations have benefitted from the diffusion of the broadband in many ways. Their economies have grown due to the investment of international investors. Developing countries with improved ICT infrastructure have always attracted foreign investment businesses from abroad. It is worth to note that the broadband technology has really helped the developing nations since most of their population and small businesses are located in the rural areas (Selouani 2007). As such, the expansion of broadband networks to these areas has diversified people’s incomes through promoting employment from the non-agricultural sector. Consequently, this reduces rural-urban migration. Most of the developed nations have however capitalized on the economic gain from broadband technology in a negative way; few individuals have utilized the broadband technology to become super -rich at the expense of a majority of the population which languishes in poverty and lack of essential services.