Are bandwidth caps going to kill Web 2.0?

Arthur Goldstuck certainly seems to think so, according to a recent MyADSL article. According to the article:

For Web 2.0 to grow broadband users need the freedom to utilize bandwidth intensive services like online video streaming without being concerned about time spent online or usage limits.

While it is true that so-called Web 2.0 sites include video sharing sites, this can hardly be seen as the sum total of the Web 2.0 space. Web 2.0 is more than video sharing. Web 2.0 is a term better used to describe the culture that has developed in the last few years than the kinds of services made possible by better bandwidth. At least, that is how I see it. To me, a (better) synonym for "Web 2.0" is "social media" which is, in turn, dependant on social interaction and networking.

The thing that makes a site or platform a Web 2.0 site or platform is the community that springs up on and around it. Sure bandwidth makes it possible to do more within that community but bandwidth intensive applications are not the focal point of the whole thing. Web 2.0 is about communities of individuals having conversations with each other. Often those conversations include a strong element of sharing and content sharing sites are an expression of that.

The article suggests that until we have the benefit of unrestricted, true broadband, we will not see the benefits of Web 2.0:

International broadband services generally provide users with the freedom of an always-on, unlimited Internet service, but the strict capping policies of local broadband providers mean that South African users must watch their usage.

This, coupled with high local hosting costs, means that bandwidth intensive services, like video streaming, are not really prevalent in South Africa.

Let’s note forget that blogs are also Web 2.0 platforms, as are similar platforms that are less bandwidth intensive. To say that local bandwidth restrictions are going to be the death of Web 2.0 is like saying that bandwidth restrictions are the end of web-based communities. How can that be? In any event, the fact that you are reading this blog, whether it be via a broadband connection or dial-up, means that you are participating in the benefits of Web 2.0. Is broadband really killing Web 2.0?

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