A Story of New Technology, Immediacy and the Olympics

This is a story of modern technology.

Last Wednesday, I spent a very enjoyable day travelling round parts of Lincolnshire on a mobile library, encouraging people to get involved in the campaign for better broadband in their area, and showing them some of the things they might do with a better connection.

I then drove home through rural Lincolnshire, heading for the A1. I was driving a borrowed car, which doesn’t have a DAB radio, and, as I’ve had years of listening to Radio 5 Live on various forms of digital platforms, I find medium wave pretty hard on the ear these days, so I was listening to the Olympics coverage via internet radio on my iPad, plugged into the car radio. As most of the areas I was driving through in the early part of the journey were pretty rural, the signal kept dropping out, and there was lots of buffering. As I got onto the A1, Bradley Wiggins’s attempt at a gold medal began. Not long after this, I pulled into a service station, but, the cycle race was reaching its climax, so I sat in the car for about 10 minutes until it was confirmed that Bradley Wiggins had, indeed, achieved his gold medal. Then, just as I was about to switch the radio off and head into the service station, the presenter said “it’s 10 past 4”. I looked at the clock on the car dashboard and saw that it read 4:25. The buffering had actually resulted in a 15-minute delay in the coverage I was listening to, and I reflected on the irony that I had sat there gripped by the “live” coverage of an event that had actually taken place 15 minutes earlier.

This might have been an extreme case, but digital technologies do result in all sorts of delays. Is anything ever live any more?

One thought on “A Story of New Technology, Immediacy and the Olympics

  1. It will all be live once we get ubiquitous connectivity, and the only way we can do that is to get fibre to everywhere, and fibre up all the masts as you pass them. Otherwise the only connectivity is in areas of high population density where the telcos can make their profits. The rest? who cares?

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