In December I blogged, nay, ranted, about my frustration towards 'free' internet. Free shouldn't be synonymous with 'of such poor performance that you wish you hadn't'. And I'm hoping we are nearing a time of acceptable bandwidth everywhere. Maybe the move from copper/fibre to LTE is what will change things? For me, living in a rural area, I sincerely hope so. But, in addition to greater throughput, I, equally, hope we are moving away from dumb pipes.

Along this line of thinking, some great reading on Monday in Total Telecom announcing "Japanese carriers open content services to rivals' customers". From this, the Nikkei reports in its Feb. 11 edition, "The three major Japanese mobile-phone service providers are making their smartphone content offerings available to rival companies' customers as they focus more on content services".

This is a huge leap forward in the 'adding intelligence to HOW we consume data' movement. In particular, the recognition by these carriers that services add enough value alone to be decoupled form connectivity and opened to the world.

Beyond providing rich content is the opportunity for service providers to deliver class of service. Think 'optimisation services' or, maybe, 'user experience services'. Why, because greater bandwidth alone doesn't guarantee a good user experience. Consider a video stream in 1080p being delivered to a mobile device. This is bad because:

 - Data caps still exist: Farewell, monthly data allowance. Hello, 'buyer beware' disputes
 - It doesn't need to be 1080p to look good on a small screen
 - Any latency, however brief, is amplified when the size of the data stream is increased 

And we cannot rely on the content provider to ensure we are receiving content that is optimised both for the device and the 'current' connectivity performance - a variable factor no matter what your bandwidth contract states.

These are good signs of a richer internet future and a new level of sanity in how data and services are consumed. For further reading, F5's Joe Pruitt explains how, even with good bandwidth, everything is subject to performance issues here