Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
The New FCC Broadband Fabric - Episode 513 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Mike Conlow, Director of Network Strategy at Cloudflare, a network security and Internet performance company. Christopher and Mike dive into the upcoming Broadband Serviceable Locations Fabric which will serve as the basis for the new nationwide maps from the Federal Communications Commission.
They talk about what's going to be better as compared to the old Form 477 data collection process and the importance of making sure new maps faithfully represent the problem of the digital divide in the United States. They also dig into the policy and deployment implications when federal data bought with public dollars is not openly shared in forms that invite corroboration.
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This show is 34 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.
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Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Christopher Mitchell (00:07):
Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota. And I gotta say, feeling a bit rusty because we recorded a whole bunch of episodes in like June, and we unraveled them over a period of time. And now I'm having to remember how to record things again. but I'm really excited to be kicking it off with someone. I feel like I've gotten to know decently over Twitter. Mike Conlow, Director of Network Strategy at CloudFlare. Welcome to the show.
Mike Conlow (00:40):
Thanks, Chris. It's, it's great to be here. I'm a longtime listener of the podcast, and it's great to be able to participate.
Christopher Mitchell (00:46):
Yeah. And you know, I feel like you're someone who popped up on my screen, and before I even know what you did, I just saw what you're doing and read some of your analyses, and I was like, oh, this guy's like serious. Like he's, he's interested in this and he also does serious analytical work about what's going on in broadband space and looking at the data and, and things like that. And so I was, I was definitely interested in, in how you got into that.
Mike Conlow (01:09):
Yeah, I think I have a little bit of an uncommon story. And so just, just very briefly, I, I had a long career in political technology. I, I worked at the Democratic National Committee, and I worked on the 2008 Obama campaign, and I worked back at the Democratic National Committee, and I was a deputy C T O on Obama's 2012 campaign. And I did political technology consulting for nonprofit and political groups after that for a long time. And when the pandemic hit, frankly, I had too much time on my hands, and I was a little bored. And, and I'm a data person by background, I think in sequel as well as I think in English. And so I got to downloading data. I started with the Form 477 data. RDOF was just being released at, at the time and started working on analysis of, of those data sets and, and really enjoyed it, obviously have a passion for, for this. And at some point, the, the guy who became my boss tweeted something that, about how CloudFlare was looking for people who kind of think outside of the box or, or think differently. And I thought that sounds like me. And that's how I, I wound up at CloudFlare, but yeah. downloading databases.
Christopher Mitchell (02:21):
So is there, is there a world where I'm trying to think of something like, I don't know, like where you came across an interesting data set at the beginning of the pandemic on like bugs and you became really into entomology or something like that.
Mike Conlow (02:34):
Christopher Mitchell (02:34):
Just happened to be now mapping broadband related work. Just,
Mike Conlow (02:37):
Just this one. I, I, I kind of started following my, my local politics for, for a minute, and I, I, I very quickly decided, I think I was smart to do it. Like I don't wanna get involved in, in local politics, what they're gonna do with, with the library. And, and instead, instead focus my attention on, on broadband data and, and so, but yeah, no, that, that was, that has been the only one. Although I'm, I'm very much a kind of tinkerer, a a technology tinkerer, so I've got lots of kind of smart home and technology projects going on, on the side. But, but this is the bigger one.
Christopher Mitchell (03:12):
Well, I think one of the things, and I wanna come back to a second to talk about CloudFlare, what you do there, what CloudFlare does. But you also now have a newsletter that people can check out. what's the name of it?
Mike Conlow (03:24):
Mike's ck. I don't know if it has it.
Christopher Mitchell (03:27):
CK. So you know, if people follow you on Twitter, they'll see the, the stories. one that just caught my eye most recently where I was like, oh, you know what? We should have you on the show when we'll dig into some of the other topics later. But like you were just looking at the data around the, some of the implications of how they're collecting data for buildings and whether and what the what is it, the, the base, what's the bsl,
Mike Conlow (03:54):
Broadband serviceable location fabric. Right?
Christopher Mitchell (03:57):
Right. So we've talked a little bit about that on past shows and, and we'll come back to that in a second, but I just wanted to flag for people that while you're listening, you might check, check out Mike on on Twitter and and then check out the newsletter stuff. but CloudFlare is a company I've known about for a while. They, they do seem like, I'm not at all surprised to hear they're looking for someone that thinks outside the box because they're doing interesting things regularly. And I feel like maybe people have heard about them from like D D O S protection or things like that. But what does CloudFlare do and what do you do there?
Mike Conlow (04:27):
CloudFlare started as a content delivery network, protecting websites and delivering websites. and the, but has grown significantly over the past few years and is now a as much or more a kind of network and security and internet performance company overall. And has we, we have our own developer platform, kind of a edge compute platform and a whole bunch of network as a service and, and network protection offerings. But also a, a big part of what intrigued me about CloudFlare was we take very seriously the, we're going to help build a better internet part of it. And so I wanna make sure I didn't forget to, to mention a, one of the CloudFlare projects that we have, which is a free offering to community and, and nonprofit networks to connect them to the internet for free. And so if you are building, you know, in in tribal areas or certain kinds of nonprofits, if you can get a connection to one of our data centers, we'll connect you to the internet for free.
We also provide protection for local government and election websites for, for free. And so CloudFlare take really takes this help build a better internet part very seriously. And so when my resume came across and the, the job was kind of like, not super well defined, but you're going to advocate for a better internet and we're gonna find some, some work for you to do on what we actually need to do that really fit well. And so my kind of day job is I, I'm on the team that builds out our network. What is, where do we need to grow our network? What areas of the world are not performing the way they should? And where can we put new data centers that will make the internet faster? And measuring, measuring the time that content and service take to reach eyeballs and, and how can we make that better?
Christopher Mitchell (06:21):
Excellent. And I'm definitely gonna be spreading the word around the the travel broadband boot camps and things like that to make sure they're aware of that.
Mike Conlow (06:28):
Yeah. Project Pangia. If, if folks wanna Google that.
Christopher Mitchell (06:31):
Okay. Yeah. The the challenge is always getting them off of the, the land into into that data center.
Mike Conlow (06:39):
Once you're at the data center, the connection to the internet is, it's one piece of it. It, and, and there's a lot of work in the middle mile, and there's a tremendous amount of work in the, in the last mile. And so I I think while, while we're, we're trying to help with this one piece, and I think it's would be also interesting if, if CloudFlare could have more partnerships with others who are doing Middle Mile and, and Last Mile to kind of offer it as a whole service because it, you know, I, I can feel for the folks who are building these networks from scratch and the amount of work going into both the Last Mile and the Middle Mile. And so we, we wanna help with what we can, but we also wanna help as much as we can. Mm-hmm.
Christopher Mitchell (07:16):
<affirmative> getting to the the BSL, the broadband serviceable locations. it was funny cuz I it took me, I know that other people have have also been talking about this, but the implications I had not considered. but why don't you walk us through that most recent newsletter post about what the fccs doing and not, not necessarily the fccs crazy to do it this way, but what the implications are.
Mike Conlow (07:40):
Well, I, I guess I'll first, by making what may be a controversial statement, which is I, I think that there's a lot of good in the Form 477 data. I, I think it's a very valuable dataset. It it has limitations. and obvious limitation is that if one person is served in the census block, the whole census block is conserved served. We, we kind of all know that that limitation now,
Christopher Mitchell (08:06):
And the corollary of just briefly of that is also that if there are true service providers you don't actually know if they're compete with each other or, or anything else. And so like, there's there's a number of, there's a number of additional challenges with that problem.
Mike Conlow (08:21):
Right? If an area is not served, we know that it is, it is not served. I don't think that there's debate on take that
Christopher Mitchell (08:27):
To the bank
Mike Conlow (08:28):
<laugh>, right? and I think that there are, you know, also, I, we don't talk about it a lot, but there's a technology code on the form 477 data it has frequently. Yep. Yeah. And, and I do too. It has the exact kind of DSL service and the exact doxy version of, of each census block. so there's some, there's some really good data there, there too. And so I, what, getting into that, that post, what I would recommend happens as part of this new mapping process is we make sure that the good of the form form 477 data is carried through to the new broadband serviceable location fabric maps. And, and in particular right now it is fairly easy to come up with numbers about what, how many Americans are unserved or underserved by broadband, how many housing units
Christopher Mitchell (09:20):
Are at least a floor on that?
Mike Conlow (09:22):
Yeah. A floor on that. And I, I would hope that with this, when once we're all over to the new maps, which are gonna be great, that we can still produce numbers that are as simple as as that. And so one of, in reading through the latest update from the fcc, one thing that just concerned me a little bit, and I I don't have access to data, that's another point we shouldn't, we should talk about, is to make sure that when this, this happens, that we're not measuring the digital divide in terms of broadband serviceable locations, because that doesn't feel terribly real, real to me. It includes businesses, it includes residences. There was a, a line that may, you're referencing in there that there will be a count of housing units that are associated with a broadband serviceable location, but it, they can't guarantee that that is reliable. It's based on tax records and stuff that are not universally available. So do we know the relationship between a broadband serviceable location and a housing unit and the number of people that live there? And so the, the link between those and kind of census data or kind of some other kind of ground truth about the number of people who are, are, are represented, I think is really important.
Christopher Mitchell (10:38):
I think the issue is that a broadband serviceable location, just to to be really clear, could include a single person living alone or it could include a thousand units. And presumably that most of the cases where that, where that location has a thousand units or 300 units or whatever, everyone will have service. But one of the things I've found when you're dealing with very large numbers of people in different circumstances in cities and rural areas, is that there's all kinds of weird exceptions. You know, I I I I, I was joking the other day that like, people think 99% is all the time, but it's not <laugh>. You're dealing with large numbers. 1% is a lot <laugh>. right. And so you're gonna have a number, you might have a million people that are left out because you've assumed that every location or every every household within a apartment building has service because some of them do. Right.
Mike Conlow (11:32):
And, and the stakes, the the stakes are very, very high here because the infrastructure money is given out based on these new maps. And the, the new maps are you know, for are unserved, the, the number of unserved locations is, is what decides how the money's allocated by state. And so the, the stakes are, the stakes are very and I have a lot of sympathy for the, the FCC folks who are, are working on these maps because they, they are so important and, and there is so, such tremendous pressure to, to get them right and to get them fast. I mean, that, that's, that's hard.
Christopher Mitchell (12:07):
Well, and this is where I think, I think the fccs made some errors on this. And in that I think it is foolish to try to resolve all of this, the location fabric stuff as well as the new mapping technology and the challenge process and everything, in order to get the rough figures to N T I A so they can divide the 42 and a half billion dollars among the states, I feel like the smartest thing to do would've been to say, we're gonna use form 477 data. We know it's not perfect, but we would expect that any errors are correlated in that. Like, even if we don't have the exact right numbers for Georgia, we're gonna make the same mistakes in Georgia as in Alabama. And the proportions are gonna be roughly the same for how many unserved people there are. And we're gonna use that to get money out the door because I, I have no faith that, that in, you know, that in early 2023 that we will have maps that people can broadly agree upon. I
Mike Conlow (13:04):
In part agree. I, I think there is a little bit of an issue, which is that Congress wrote into the law mm-hmm. <affirmative> a lot of this stuff. They, they wrote into the law how exactly how these new maps were going to be created. Congress has some talents, but, you know, deciding exactly how we're going to develop new maps I'm not sure is one of them. And, and it goes into a lot of detail. And so the, the road was, was pretty well laid out in front of in front of the s e c on what exactly they have to do and, and how the infrastructure money will be dolled out. But I, I agree with you that there should, we should find a way. I, I think that there's like a hundred million per state given, given out as like the beginnings, right.
But I, I agree with you. We should find a way to give out as much of it as possible earlier on and then true it up at, at the end. Save enough that you can, that you can true it up at, at the end. Because I, I agree with you. We need to, we need to get started. And, and if it, if the new maps and the challenges and stuff drag it out into, into next year, I, I think that'll be unfortunate when, when I agree with you that we know, we know where to start. There's a lot of planning to do. Let, let's, let's get going.
Christopher Mitchell (14:24):
And I'm curious, because you had said the maps, and I don't know if you've heard you, I think you expressed some optimism around the new maps being good. And I feel like you know, Doug Dawson and I are deeply pessimistic about this whenever we talk about it publicly, <laugh>. because I just see that like, I mean, we're talking about more than a hundred million serviceable locations that everyone has to agree upon. not a, not down to the last one, but I mean, to get it roughly, like even just that alone is daunting task. And then on top of that, we have to figure out how we're going to accept the modeling of DSL and wireless service when those providers do not know with any degree of certainty what, how each broadband serviceable location will receive their service and what kind of service would be available there. And and so when I look at those two things, and I think it's important because I mean, I'm, I'm willing to just say, all right, let's just ignore DSL because like, it's more of a problem than it's worth, right? But fixed wireless can do quite a bit. And so, and that's the real challenge of figuring out how one, like, I mean, you could, you could probably say that every single company that submits fixed wireless data is wrong <laugh>, right. On some level, if you wanted to,
Mike Conlow (15:32):
Right? I agree that fixed wireless is, is a tricky part of it. And, and also because fixed wireless kind of sits kind of across the, the unserved and definitely the underserved divide in, in some cases. And so with fiber, you're obviously gonna be served, right? With, with cable, you're almost certainly going to be served by whatever definition we, we come up with. And there are, there are future dox this versions that will make cable even even better with, with dsl. I'm, I'm with you. You're, you're, you're unserved in my mind, I don't care what the, the data says with, with fixed wireless, it is just so dependent on, a little bit on the technology, but a lot on the location and the, and the line of sight and the density of the trees and, and this stuff and, and I, the time of year don't. Yeah. And so, and that could vary legitimately put a, a house where the, where the, the antenna is on the house, whether it can get above the tree line and so, and it that could very realistically change somebody from served to underserved or, or, or unserved. And, and how that gets represented in the data feels very important and, and very hard.
Christopher Mitchell (16:51):
Would you like that job? Like is that something where you're just like, oh, man, that would be an interesting challenge, or are you just like, nah, I'm really happy to just not be responsible for that because I don't want it. I'm, I'll be honest about
Mike Conlow (17:00):
<laugh>, I want to analyze the data. I, I want to, you know, I think that the new rules, if I understand them correctly, the, the propagation models will, will be public. And so in each fixed wireless provider, we'll need to provide details of, of how they're doing those propagation models. And, and so I would like to help make sure that we are kind of measuring them accurately, and then that if we're saying that someplace is served by fixed wireless, that you actually can get a, the, the signal that is promised by that.
Christopher Mitchell (17:31):
And that leads us right into, I think one of the other interesting discussions that you came out I think organically with something that I've been talking about with John Chambers in the past and deeply concerned about, which is this question of that it's secret how much we think it'll, and what we, I mean, how much it's secret, how much the government thinks it will cost to pass a location effectively, right? With the modeling done by CostQuest. I, I can't imagine that there's a justification for that. There's, there's just no real good reason that the FCC should allow some of this stuff to remain a secret when it's so important for getting it right and oversight. I think
Mike Conlow (18:09):
As a kind of freelance analyst on, on this stuff, we need public access to, to the data. And I, I guess I understand what is happening, which is that you know, the, the FCC presumably doesn't cost as much if, if it's not public, because if once it's public, then you can't, can't sell it to anyone else. Or at least it has a lot less value if, if public
Christopher Mitchell (18:35):
Doesn't cost as much to the FCC in that direct line item. But I feel like ultimately we all end up paying for it in multiple ways, right? I mean, the fact that the federal government doesn't have like a better listing of all of the different locations in the country, you know, I think is something that we are paying for now at the fcc, right?
Mike Conlow (18:52):
<laugh>. Yeah. And, and now, I mean, every single state, it should, and some already do. They're gonna need a, an estimate of how much each location costs to serve, and they're gonna have to buy that themselves someplace. And it wouldn't it be that much more efficient if we could all be using a, a single data set. And I think the same goes for the, the location fabric it, which is, I, I, you know, if I understand correctly, there'll be like a map that you could see on a location by location basis, but that the, the actual raw data wouldn't, wouldn't be available because of kind of contracting issues.
Christopher Mitchell (19:31):
Yeah. I find that, I mean, just really frustrating. I I, I don't remember when it was, although I do remember a second or third time that I came across the idea, but the, the, the first time I came across the idea of just how important it was to have open data blew me away. Like sort of what NOAA does, right? Like the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, if I got that right they, they make all the weather forecasting possible, right? And they make a list available. And, and at first I was like, oh, like, like why is the government doing that? And Oh, because like farmers depend on it. Businesses depend on it. UPS depends, like everyone fricking depends on it. <laugh> and like, right? And like, right. It's amazing how important open data is to build upon. And I feel like that's the foundation of a, of a functioning market as well, is having opening open data that different people, when everything's proprietary, you can't have any real competition or choice.
Mike Conlow (20:18):
Yep. And I, I think the, the FCC has done a great job of that in, in the past I, the Form 477 data and a lot of the fccs projections and art off results and other auction results Oh. And the licensing databases. And there, there is a lot out there. Let's keep going in that direction.
Christopher Mitchell (20:36):
Right. And I'll, I'll just note that USAC is not in that same category in my mind, <laugh>, but the FCC, particularly with RDOF and the CAF II, I thought was remarkably transparent.
Mike Conlow (20:47):
Yep. And especially in a world in in which there, there are a lot of broadband funding programs across a bunch of different agencies and states and stuff. And so let, let's make it easier to, for, for folks to combine those data sets and, and analyze them not harder. I'll give you an example of this is one that I think we all kind of collectively had access to and missed, which is the, the problems in, in Ardo. You know, Derek Turner, free Press did a lot of great research on this, and uncovering, you know, road medians and, and stuff that, that were eligible and were funded. Those were public public. And there were a couple rounds before the auction of here are the eligible locations, they're on our website, and nobody seemed to notice until afterwards. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't be open data. It just means that that next, next time we should, somebody shouldn't notice beforehand.
Christopher Mitchell (21:43):
No, but I, I think it really conveys the value of open data when an an agency is not doing the verification work. Right? I mean, like, I think the, like you said, that 477 data being open explained why when barrier free claimed to serve every last location in Pennsylvania with fiber optics, despite having not done har very much the, the six months before we could dig into that and figure out why, and, and make an issue of it. And, and the FCC should have caught that, just like the FCC should have caught the median stuff. Like, like Derek Turner is terrific, but the FCC should have the resources to hire multiple Derek Turner types <laugh> who are doing that work. And the fact that they are not doing that work well is makes it even more important that it all be open, I would think.
Mike Conlow (22:29):
Right. And, and that, that was a long, that was a long time ago now. And I think, I think people would, would argue, I didn't follow that closely at the time that, that that process was, was rushed at, but, but still, I, yeah, I agree.
Christopher Mitchell (22:42):
Yeah. I mean, I feel like it's sort of, it's rushed, but it's also like I, I don't, I don't, I phy, this is the thing I don't understand, and no one's ever explained it to me yet. I mean, I will, I'll stop chirping about it when I <laugh> when I can finish, but like the fccs really late on the 477 data right now, and I don't understand why it takes it so long to get the data out when it doesn't do very much sanity checking on whether or not it's accurate. Like I just, I don't understand, like it's like aging in, in a cave somewhere like cheese while like, and then all of a sudden it'll be released. But it's, as far as I can tell, there's not like a team of people who are working on it and for months, you know, like they're just sort of, they like put it in a vault and then they're like, oh, we should release it now. And they <laugh>. I don't, I don't understand the process and
Mike Conlow (23:29):
I, I don't, I don't know how all that works. I, but I, I, I certainly would love to be using data that's more up to date than December of 2020. <laugh>. <laugh> I, I guess a related point just really quickly is that the CENSUS'S ACS data is also super important here. That's our best look at who has adopted broadbands and that data is also late mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I think they missed a year or, or something. But y you know, that if you average over five years, that data goes down to the block group level and is our only, you know, the 477 data says that basically a hundred percent of urban areas are served by broadband. And yeah, there's a lot of coaxial cable in, in urban areas, but you, unless you have the ac s data from the census, you don't know how many people are actually using the service. And, and so both of those access and adoption are, are crucial data sets to have.
Christopher Mitchell (24:32):
I agree. I'll, I'll just note though, also, I feel like sometimes people give a little bit too much weight to the ACS data just in the sense that like I'm interested in the change over time generally, because again, I think that's often correlated, but like when we look at like how many people say that they use satellite service when we then try to square that up with other known things, and, and actually I say we, but really Derek Turner who's done this work also specifically, and, and who I trust on this, you know, he finds that like the, it's like four times the number of people that actually use satellite tell the acs that they use satellite because they're just confused about the technology. So so like I'm always looking at that for change over time as opposed to like, what's the specific percentage.
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the I wanted to ask you about how you stay informed on this stuff because you know, you're working, you know, I, you know, tell me I'm wrong, but I think of you as being slightly more in it than telecom and being more technological as opposed to telecom. And I feel like it's super easy. Like there's so many places to like learn about technology, you know, our Technica, the Verge, there's so many wonderful places. and then in telecom it feels like you very rapidly run into like industry specific things that can be intimidating for, for people that aren't in the business every day, which is less so for you, but for another person that's listening, like, what do you recommend for people to get up to speed on this stuff when they're not doing it 24 7?
Mike Conlow (25:56):
It is, it is a little bit inaccessible and we're not always super welcoming of, of new people into the conversation. And, and I, I, you know, I'd like to give you credit. I think you were one of the first people who responded to me when I wanted to have a conversation on Twitter or something, and Harold Feld too, what I do personally is I use, I, I read the, the Benton Institute Digest, I read the Keller Heckman digest mm-hmm. <affirmative> almost, almost every, every day. I, I also read a bunch of industry stuff. I think that's probably more kind of my day job related, but light reading and broadband bunch and a bunch of other things where, where some of the industries speak starts to, starts to come in. But and then, and I also use, I I use the historical record that you've built up with this podcast.
And so you know, for example, I listened when I first got started, I listened to all of your old Amon episodes, and there's probably five or six, maybe maybe even a couple more than that, including ones where you, where you're out there and to understand the, the model that different communities and networks are using to set up and, and how they actually work. And so there, there's a lot out there, this podcast being a, a prime example of historical stuff as well as kind of keeping up to date on a, on a day-to-day basis.
Christopher Mitchell (27:25):
Yeah, that's, and I just, I'll take a second to say that when we set up muni networks.org you know, my goal was again, I mean, I keep saying this like, like change over time. Like I wanted to have a tagging system that I hope makes it easy. And I think we're actually, we've been, we've been screwing around for nine months now trying to we got a, a version of the muni networks.org in development that will hopefully be more simple and easy to use. And I've been trying to do a an overview of the tagging system, which is out of control because I just feel like at this point it's just too intimidating for anyone to work at <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, but like, give that, the goal is absolutely, if you're like, oh, I wanna see what's going on, Amon, well, you should be able to like click a button and get a listing of all the Amon related stuff. And that's our goal. So I'm glad it, it always warms my heart when I know, when I hear that someone's using it in that way, <laugh>.
Mike Conlow (28:16):
Christopher Mitchell (28:17):
So let me ask you, what are you, what are you excited about as we close out the interview? Like as we look forward, I feel like, you know, I, I'm often sort of like worried about things, but but what are you looking forward to in terms of things where you're like, you know what, this problem's gonna be solved soon?
Mike Conlow (28:31):
One, one thing that I'm, I'm very passionate about and there's a lot of momentum behind is the importance of, of latency in the overall internet connection mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so when I think of speed, I think of latency. Speed to me is not the throughput of the connection. It is how fast that they, that you can request data and it can get back to you. And I, I think, you know, going back it's actually almost 10 years exactly, there was a, a Google study that showed that above about five megabits per second, a webpage doesn't load a any faster or a very negligible improvement in page load time for throughput above about five megabits per second. Whereas if, if you have the latency in the connection, you can almost have the page load time. And so we always talk about latency in terms of gaming. It's a lot more important than that. It, it's about it's about page load time. It's about gaming, it's about, you know, if you think about swiping on a map on your phone, if you can have really good latency, you don't need to preload data to go to your phone. It, it, your phone can res respond to the swipe. That means less throughput. Let
Christopher Mitchell (29:46):
Me, lemme try and make this point in a sort of a hobby horse that I've had for a long time and, and you can tell me that, that I'm crazy. But this is where I think latency is really important, right? Like, I think of this, there's two different things in my, in, in that. One is one is the performance of applications and one is security related. The security one's easy to grasp. All of our machines are porous and at risk of ransomware, right? Even Apple products, PCs, whatever, like everything has massive vulnerabilities because they're super complicated, difficult to secure, and there's not a lot of market you know, incentive to focus on securing them. I think one of the things that happens in a low latency high in a, in a world where everyone has connected is we have dumber computers that are cheaper, that are basically thin clients and we don't have to worry about securing them.
The complicated stuff happens in a local cloud and we're accessing it and we don't notice the difference because we have that low latency, right? and so I think security is one. The other is this fricking Nikon keeps coming out with like better cam all, all of 'em do, but I like Nikon. and and every time they do, I have to buy another computer and then like two years later, you know, there's another, I'm so, and I shoot professionally, not everyone is on this upgrade cycle, but like I would much rather have a computer that I could use for five or six years and I'll just like pay Adobe a little bit more money and they do all the processing in the cloud as I'm going through these hundreds of images for clients. And you know, that for those things, like, it would be wonderful to have those scenarios and I think everyone would pay less. It would have less e waste. There's, there's so many benefits of moving in that direction.
Mike Conlow (31:20):
I think we're we're close to to there. It, you know, I I mean I I have a very expensive MacBook, but I use it as a client for cloud services, right. You know that it's a slight exaggeration, but, but not, not much of one. And I think when going back to my political campaign life, we, we gave people Chromebooks because of the security, because they're, there're better security wise and, and if they, if they disappear you, there's, there's not anything there to to, to take. And so I, I think we, we may be cl closer or already there to what, to what you're describing,
Christopher Mitchell (31:57):
Right? But I think of like my wife's experience working for the city of Minneapolis where the state of Minnesota, where they're using like Citrix software on a high latency connection and they hate it, and they're like, list technology sucks. And it's like, well, it actually works really well if you give it the right specifications. <laugh>,
Mike Conlow (32:11):
Right? Yep. That, I think that's a great, that's a, a great example of, of, and all of that is latency behind the scenes, all of that is, is dependent on low latency and it's, it's hard to put into a, a metric in the same way that that throughput is. But yeah, I think that's a great example.
Christopher Mitchell (32:29):
Excellent. Well, I'm, I'm excited that I feel like you're probably the, the most technically sophisticated person I've explained this vision to. And you're not like, no, it's not gonna happen. Chris <laugh>, <laugh> thank you so much for the time today. And I really, I, I, one of the three reasons I wanted to talk to you is I just think it's really exciting that I feel like you show, like, you know, one does not have to have spent decades, you know, working in the industry. You don't have to have like tons of degrees in telecom. You know, you can, you can jump into this, you can learn it and and do really interesting analyses and make a difference. So I think you're making a difference and I appreciate that. Thank you.
Mike Conlow (33:06):
I, I think you are too, Chris.
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