(How to Avoid Being Roadkill on
the Information Superhighway)

1996 All Rights Reserved
Richard R. Orsinger

VI. THE INTERNET. At a speech on March 19, 1996, Bill Gates made the following comments about the future impact of the Internet:

"The Internet is an incredible thing. It's very hard to describe how fast this is happening and what it all can mean. You almost nowadays can't pick up a magazine without reading something about the Internet. When you watch TV now, sometimes they have strange strings up there that start "WWW dot this, dot that." Well, those are ways of finding things on the Internet.

"Really this will be the mainstream, and it's a gold rush because many companies are trying to position themselves to take leadership. So we have very high levels of investment, very intense competition. Lots and lots of innovation. Now, like any gold rush, the winners are unclear, and it'll take a long time before we really know who's doing the best thing. But it's not too soon for individuals and institutions to start preparing themselves for the change that will take place, to start to get comfortable with these tools and what they can do for them.

"I did put in one fairly technical slide here, because it relates to an important point about what is going to slow down the use of the Internet. The ultimate dream of the Internet is that you can connect up to any information or any other person anywhere in the world and send lots and lots of information, send a video image so they can see you and talk to you, let them watch a movie, exchange data and pictures very easily.

"Well, the only thing that really holds that back a little bit is the difficulty of the speed of the network. Today we call in using the normal phone lines, and that means the text comes up fairly quickly and pictures can take 5 to 10 seconds. But you really can't do video at all. And so we need to convince communications companies -- phone companies and cable companies primarily -- to invest in better networks, networks with higher speed that will move up and mean that those images will come up immediately and we can start to send video and voice across that network and have very high-quality experiences. See Also see Bill Gates' interview of April 30, 1996, entitled "Where the Internet and Intranet Meet," given to Internet World magazine, at And see Bill Gates' speech of May 29, 1996, at the Harvard Conference on Internet Society, at internet/harvard/hv.htm."

Return to Table of Contents

Go to Next Section of Article

Return to Previous Section of Article

Created August 28, 1996
Last updated August 28, 1996