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Early Days Yet in the Internet Revolution

The Internet opportunity is largely ahead of us. In the next phase of the Net, literally billions of digital devices will be connected to an increasingly powerful, high-speed, broadband, multiformatted Web. A wide array of new applications and services will help companies leverage the Net to communicate and manage their relationships with customers and suppliers more effectively and efficiently. By 2003, virtually all but the smallest businesses will have a Web presence, and many of these will as well.

Mobile e-commerce is also growing rapidly. The proliferation of mobile Internet devices will be spectacular. The "voice Web" will contribute to this as telephone functions and voice services will become available online. Voice, data, and video are converging rapidly into a single Internet-based capability.

Bandwidth will continue to grow. George Gilder notes that the bandwidth on a single cable is already a thousand times greater than the average traffic on the entire Net three years ago. More information can be sent over a single cable in one second today than all the information that was sent over the entire Internet in one month in 1995.13 This continued explosion in communication capacity will facilitate the development of B2C e-commerce as well as entertainment on the Web, where full-motion video, an e-juke box, and interactive games are already starting to become available. Other portals, such as interactive TVs, media-rich PCs, MP3 players, and game consoles, will leverage the entertainment content. Critical mass is a necessary condition for profitable growth of entertainment on the Web. Many suggest it will take roughly 18 million households with high-speed connections to create the mass needed for lift-off in this area. We aren't there yet. As of the end of 2000 in the U.S., only about 7.3 million households had high-speed connection, but that number is growing rapidly and is forecast to rise to over 20 million by 2003.14

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