If you’re following us on Instagram, you may have seen a photo of a letter sent to us by a 5th grader named Alvin Wu. It’s pretty darn cute and inspiring to see a young student getting excited enough about the Internet to write an actual letter to a company like ours, so our CEO Jim Hanley made sure to write a letter back that will hopefully get Alvin an A+ on his project. Check out Alvin’s letter and read Jim’s response below!
It was nice to receive your letter this week. I have two daughters, one in 4th grade and the other in 6th. I wish they showed as much interest in my work as you do! Although, I’m a bit surprised you didn’t email me your questions… It seems odd to get an inquiry about the internet via a “snail mail” letter. 😉
Alvin: What do you think is the most interesting topic about the internet?
Since netBlazr is in the business of providing internet service to people, I’m particularly interested in the regulations related to that. Even though the United States “invented” the internet over 25 years ago, our politicians haven’t been very smart about how the internet access should be “governed”. They have pretty much just let the two biggest monopolies in America (local phone company and local cable company) do whatever they want. This has resulted in the US consistently dropping every year in global rankings of internet service performance and penetration. This is a very hard political problem (like so many things) in our country, but fascinating for those of us in the industry.
Alvin: What do you think will happen to the internet in 10 years?
Well, there are multiple ways of defining “the internet”. It can mean internet “access” like what netBlazr provides, or it can mean internet “content” — what we get from the internet, or even internet “applications” which is how we use the internet.
In the next 10 years, the access portion of the internet will continue to expand to the point where ALL people in the developed world (countries like the US, Spain, Germany, Japan) will have access to a high-speed connection (super fast). And in 10 years nearly all (>95% of people ) in the developing world (Nigeria, Ghana, Guatemala, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc.) will have SOME access to the internet (mostly via mobile phones.)
Content options have really changed in the past 10 years, and I expect that will continue in the next 10. When you grown up, you will unlikely have cable TV service like your parents or friends have today. All your content will be streamed over the internet. Traditional forms of media have already been disrupted by the internet, and that will continue into the future especially for TV.
Internet applications will continue to evolve. More and more things “get done” in the internet. Like Google Now (or Amazon Echo, iPhone Siri, etc.), where I speak into my phone and a computer at Google translates that speech and tells my phone what to do (send a text, or call someone, or look up something, navigate my car). There are more and more things being done “in the cloud”, which is another term for this aspect of the internet. In the next 10 years more and more parts of your world will become connected to the “internet of things”. This means that you’ll be able to control and monitor all sorts of things from anywhere in the world. Home security and monitoring are just a few.
All this connectedness also raises serious concerns about security and privacy, so there will be major efforts to protect people, companies, and governments against hacking by those that might want to do harm. This will become a significant problem in the next 10 years.
Alvin: Do you know any other person who knows a lot about the internet?
Sure, pretty much everyone in my company!
Alvin: Do you think the whole world will receive internet, if so, why?
Yes, I believe that internet access will become available to >95% of the people on the planet within the next 10 years. Much of that access will be from mobile phones, which are a low-cost way to deliver internet to remote regions of the planet. Keep in mind that 95% of the people does not mean 95% of the geography of the planet. Believe it or not, most of the land on earth really doesn’t have any people living on it. So by providing service to towns, village and cities, you really reach most people on the planet. It’s sort of like how the huge state of Alaska has fewer people than the tiny city of Boston.
Access to the internet has become so critical for the advancement of society and the quality of life, that it is being considered like a critical “utility” – think of clean water and sanitation in the 1800s, then electricity and roads in the 1900s, now internet access is essential for a good life.
Alvin: In your opinion, will the internet get replaced?
Based on how I’ve defined the internet above, no I don’t think it will get replaced in my lifetime (or yours!) Just like other utilities, the internet and all it represents has become a critical part of the fabric of society. Sure, it will continue to evolve and grow, but I don’t believe it will get replaced. It is basically becoming the repository of all information and human knowledge. I’m not sure how that goes away!
Thanks again for your personal letter. I hope my responses were helpful for your project. Don’t hesitate to call or email me if you’d like to talk about the internet some more.