Marvell's Nafea Bshara Talks about Broadband

In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission delivered its 
. The policy lists four principles:
  • to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • to connect their choice of legal devices that does not harm the network.
  • to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.

According to the statement, "Services available to individual Americans represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to our citizens... The Internet plays an important role in the economy, as an engine for productivity growth and cost savings."

The Internet has grown at a pandemic pace. Today, there are 1.8 billion people using the Internet -- 220.1 million of those are in the United States. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, estimates the data footprint of the Internet (2008 figures) to be roughly 5 million TB.

Long gone are the days of PSINet and dial-up telephone lines. The Internet has evolved into an engine that feeds both our economy and innovation. It is a communications infrastructure in which educational institutions, emergency services, government agencies, private industries and citizens are plugged into endlessly.

As that data footprint continues to grow and cloud based services/applications become more common -- it will become an imperative to invest in a national high-speed broadband infrastructure. It so happens that I had the great pleasure of speaking with Nafea Bshara, CTO of the Enterprise Business Unit at Marvell, on his thoughts about high-speed broadband. According to Bshara:

It is very sad to think that the United States -- the country that invented the Internet -- is now ranked 22nd in broadband speed (world-wide). While ubiquity of broadband is a must, download and upload speeds are critical. It will be very difficult to engage broadband applications such as e-medicine,  e-gaming and streaming HD (1080p) at the current broadband speeds of 3.9 Mbp/s (downstream) and 1.1Mbp/s (upstream).

Bshara, makes it very clear that having fast upload speeds is just as important as having fast download speeds. He explains that by ignoring the necessity of upload speeds, it will be very difficult to interact in real-time. This is especially true of applications that require ultra high-speed access like cloud-based online gaming, HD teleconferencing, remote training and e-medicine. These are applications that may require the 100Mbp/s (downstream) and 50Mbp/s (upstream). Marvell is a leader in this space and has already positioned themselves to take advantage of a 100Mbp/s pipe. This eco-system of products is known as Avanta. Marvell made an Avanta presentation to the Hollywood film industry in an effort to explain why 100Mbp/s is mandatory.

"There are whole new applications and new business models for the Internet," Bshara says. "We want to encourage new breakthrough usage models that will really drive broadband and Hollywood can do that."

Nafea explains that he is both concerned and optimistic about the future of broadband in the U.S.. Concerned because of the lack of competition between ISPs coupled with the lack of government support to increase speeds. This may result in the United States slipping further from its current ranking. Nafea is optimistic because he sees the FCC's National Broadband Plan as a good start, an understanding from the government that high-speed broadband is important.