The Internet is a necessity.As my readers can probably guess by the light tone and subject matter in A Detroit funny from Wonkette and Deadline Detroit and Meteor fragments in Olympic medals, I’m in an “I can’t be all DOOM all the time” mood. In part, that’s because being in the middle of a long series by The Archdruid on Fascism is burning me out and I need some relief. It’s also because I’m on break this week and I’d be in a mood for something less serious anyway. On that note, here is something from KPBS I first included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (NASA and Super Bowl) on Daily Kos which looks at both the silly and serious sides of high-speed Internet: Tijuana's Need For Internet Speed.
By some measures, Mexico might have some of the fastest Internet in Latin America. But for Tijuana's ambitious tech entrepreneurs and aspiring professional gamers, it's still painfully slow.The accompanying article by David Wagner has more.
By some measures, Mexico might have some of the fastest Internet speeds in Latin America. But for Tijuana's ambitious tech entrepreneurs and aspiring professional gamers, it's still painfully slow. They know much faster connections lie just across the border, and feel like Mexico's telecom giants are holding them back.Even gaming can make money for the gamers. What about the more serious side?
I spent some time with Gustavo Leyva to find out more about this digital divide. In the super popular online video game League of Legends, he's known as 'h4ckerv2.' And when I say he's known, I mean he's known. His Facebook page has close to 12,000 likes.
Playing as Tryndamere, the Barbarian King, Leyva has competed throughout Mexico, Chile and even Germany. And he's cleaned up nicely, too. He says he made around $7,000 playing League of Legends in the second half of 2013.
But Internet service isn't just an issue for hardcore gamers. It's also a thorn in the side of Tijuana's emerging tech economy. Many of the scrappy start-ups here are based inside the BIT Center. It's a modern-looking complex with huge, open spaces, concrete walls and sleek, colorful furniture.Arriola's company can't even sell its products in Mexico, as they require higher speeds and more bandwidth than is available in the country. That's serves as an example of how and why our current economy doesn’t run well without good connections. Also a lot of innovation needed to survive the current crisis, to say nothing of providing a prosperous future, depends on fast connections as well.
Claudio Arriola is the director, and he has a start-up of his own. He recalls one of the times when shoddy Internet connections hurt his business.
"That was a Skype conference call between a partner in Merida, Yucatan, and one in Madrid," Arriola said. "There was no way that whole day that we could have a decent Skype call. If it wasn't my Internet, it was the one in Merida. And that was to try to make a proposal for a customer. Well that never happened."
Let Mexico’s issues be a lesson to us in the U.S., who pay more for slower connections than people in a lot of European countries.