From Netflix and Amazon to Movielink and Apple, an increasing number of services are offering online movie downloads. The one thing that all of these services have in common? They all require a high speed Internet connection.
Apple, which has offered online videos via iTunes since 2006, claims that using their service with "normal" high speed Internet, the downloaded movie will begin to play within 30 seconds of being ordered. But what's "normal" high speed Internet? We've written about the FCC's definition of high speed Internet before, and it's not up to snuff.
In order to truly take advantage of these online entertainment options, consumers must be able to connect to truly high speed Internet. For many Americans, though, that's is still not an option -- yet another consequence of the digital divide.
One side benefit of this new flood of downloadable movie services is that it reemphasizes what true high speed Internet really is. As these movie services gain popularity, they may increase demand for high speed Internet and spur more extensive buildout. That way, entertainment uses of high speed Internet may mean that other important services -- such as telemedicine, distance learning programs, and emergency communications -- become available to more Americans.