Quotable (#40)

From The Abstract Factory:

Towards the end of this Twitter thread sparked by Timothy B. Lee, a commenter writes (by way of defending US ISPs): “Internet speeds have increased 1500% in ten years. 250k Wi-Fi hotspots are now available. That’s progress.”


… a 15x improvement in ten years: that might sound impressive to some people, but all I can think is that ten years equals nearly seven doublings of Moore’s Law and 27 = 128. Network speed doesn’t track transistor density exactly, but computing technology is full of exponential curves like this (storage density, for example, doubles even faster than Moore’s Law). To anyone with a clue about computing technology, 15x in 10 years obviously sounds somewhere between mediocre and lousy. In fact, Nielsen’s Law predicts compound improvement of 57x over 10 years, or nearly 4x the observed improvement claimed by Dietz. When Dietz calls out 15x improvement as a talking point in ISPs’ favor, he is trying to rhetorically exploit an information asymmetry, namely his audience’s presumed ignorance of exponential curves in computing technology.

Therefore, the reality is that US ISPs are badly managed technological laggards, just like everyone thinks.

[Two additional footnotes at original]

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