The Computer as a Utility

In the book I describe the work of Nicholas Carr. One of his books The Big Switch describes how computing is becoming a utility just like the gas and electricity supply. My wife is addicted to TV programmes that take a couple house hunting in the UK or abroad and follows them on their viewing (I’ve yet to find someone actually buy a house). Until a couple of years ago one of the common questions that was asked of a house was: does it have broadband? Recently I’ve noticed that this question is infrequently posed. The reason, I suspect, is that buyers now assume that broadband is on tap in the same way that electricity and gas is on tap. During October 2011 two events occurred that illustrated how much computing has become a utility. The first was a breakdown in the BT Internet network.  The second was an outage in the network that supported the very popular Blackberry smartphone. What was clear from the consumer reaction to these events was how much business relies on computing as a utility.

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