Back in 2004 we thought the media might just be waking up to the obvious fact that broadband isn't simply a one-way street. More than two years later most ISPs continue to focus their marketing muscle on downstream speeds; still trying to wow consumers by proclaiming how many times faster their connections are than dial-up, while frequently ignoring upstream speeds entirely. With the rise in user-generated video the last year few years, the press is once again realizing that upstream bandwidth is important, though you wouldn't gather that from listening to ISP executives. They're still stating that they'll offer more upstream speed when users begin asking for it -- which suggests that most users are still using their broadband connections to consume, rather than participate. It's a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg cycle. YouTube visitors view more than 100 million videos a day but upload just 65,000; is this because they don't want to, or because they can't? In the race to gobble up dial-up subscribers, ISPs have been able to dazzle them with downstream speeds. As those acquired customers begin to try and upload high-resolution digital family video at 256kbps, the providers are going to have to change their tune and spring for infrastructure upgrades -- and quickly.
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