jueves, 1 de febrero de 2018

How 400 million Europeans followed a Dutch guy on the internet

We analyze the Dutch broadband case in collaboration with Sjors Beukeboom. Piet Beertema sits behind his computer, patiently waiting for a reply from someone in America. It seems ages ago when he send a message straight across the Atlantic Ocean. ‘Unreal’, is what he must have thought when he hit the ‘send’-button on the computer, unsure whether his click with the mouse would get the results he wants. Suddenly a soft ringtone tells Beertema that he has received a new message. “Thanks for the additional information. This is to let you know that we have changed the status of this network to connected.” An Eureka-moment for the Dutch scientist in Amsterdam.
Piet Beertema. A typical Dutch name for a typical Dutch achievement. Beertema was the first European connecting to the precursor of the world wide web, sending a message to the United States at November 17, 1988 at 14:28. Stephan Wolff, the receiver of the message, replied Beertema the morning after. The satisfaction of that soft ringtone is a feeling he will never forget.

The Dutch scientist from Amsterdam was extremely passionate for the rise of the internet. Two and a half year earlier than the message sent, he invented the .nl top level domain. A bit later he started the organization providing citizens domain registration

Hours of waiting
Untill 1988, the internet had been a facility only for Americans. Europe was behind when it was about the access to the world wide web. Luckily for Beertema, he had the right scientific contacts to access the internet, something we find so usual nowadays. 400 million Europeans followed Beertema after him, enjoying way faster broadband speeds than Beertema had to deal with.
It´s not a wonder that it took hours for Beertema to send and receive a proper message which we currently call e-mail. The digital letter, which we nowadays can receive within a single second, was send with a speed of 64 kilobits per second. In the beginning of 2018 users of the internet enjoy billions and billions of kilobits per second broadband speed.
In those 30 years, the internet is probably the most developed facility of the century. Not only because of the amount of users and the increase in speed, but also for its technological advances it brought for the society of today. Nearly everything can be done with the internet, from education to medical services, from e-government to communication services. Did Beertema ever expect such an incredible increase in popularity while receiving that message from Stephan Wolff? 

Internet all over the world?
When it comes to the development of the availability of broadband speeds and accessibility, there are a lot of differences worldwide. In the western countries a lot of the inhabitants have access to the world wide web, some enjoying quicker broadband speeds than others. On the other hand is the availability in countries as Madagascar, Somalia and Gabon (all Africa) for huge parts of the inhabitants more a dream than reality. They are limited to human face-to-face interaction or telephone calls, instead of being interactive on the world wide web. In the developing world for example, less than half of the population had access to internet. 

Internet in Europe
But even still in Europe, ‘only’ 79% of the inhabitants were able to use the broadband. The Netherlands, with Beertema as its first user, 92,1% had access in 2016. Therefor The Netherlands has more connectivity than for example Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. The Netherlands is the fifth country on the list with the most amount of people being able to surf on the internet, based on Eurostat statistics.
When it comes to the amount of users, The Netherlands is world leading, but when talking about broadband speeds, other countries are on top of the leaderboard. With an average of 15.3 megabits per second, The Netherlands is definitely in the top of the list, but there are countries where the access is faster. South Korea, for example, is the best country when it comes to averaged broadband speeds. Sweden, Norway and Switzerland are above the small country next to the North Sea as well.  When compared to the average speed in the world, being on 5.1 megabits per second, all these countries are way above it.
It is interesting to look at the different number of people of the internet of the different countries between the different Erasmus-students. In the group there is a Norwegian, a Dutch, a French, someone from the UK, one from Germany and a person from Bulgaria. 
What we can see is that Norway is doing very well on the mobile phone broadband speeds. The difference between surfing on fixed broadband and mobile is not that big. The Netherlands is the quickest, when it comes to fixed broadband downloading speed. Interesting is the fact that Bulgaria is having a better mobile broadband system than France, United Kingdom and Germany. I would suggest that the western European countries would have the highest downloading speeds.
How fast is your internet? Look for your broadband speed here and compare with the average of your country here. Let me know in the comments! 

Fibers of glass will increase broadband speeds in The Netherlands
The broadband speed in The Netherlands will increase over the next years. The government and the broadband industries are currently investing a lot of money in optical fiber, a facility which is quite unique in the world. Optical fibers are very thin, hollow cables made of glass. Instead of sending electrical signals, like traditional cables do, the signal is transported by the lights of lasers. It is a very sustainable way of getting very fast internet, if the glass cables are being wrapped into a plastic case.
In 2014, two million of the Dutch citizens were enjoying faster internet because of the fibers. Streaming video’s in 4K is very easy with an optical fiber connection. Next to that, the fibers result in a faster speed over a greater amount of kilometers. Interesting enough, the fiber result in a symmetrical upload- and download-speed, which is uncommon compared with, for example, ADSL connections.
It is expected that the quickest broadband speeds this era will increase every year. Piet Beertema is one of the Dutch persons who is still on the internet each day, despite his age of 75 years old. I wonder how he feels like when surfing on the world wide web, knowing that he was the first one in Europe to enjoy this life-changing facility.
We analyze international broadband evolution (here, the Dutch case) in this blog, in Research Group about Digital Journalism and Marketing and Broadband and in Research Group on Innovative Monetization Systems of Digital Journalism, Marketing and Tourism (SIMPED), from CECABLE,  Escola Universitària Mediterrani of UdGUPF and Blanquerna-URL, in Twitter (@CECABLEresearch), Google+, in the group of LinkedIn, in the page of LinkedIn, in the group of Facebook, in Instagram (CECABLE), in Pinterest and in this blog. We will go in deep in the XXIII Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress (10-11 April 2018, Barcelona).

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