The Curve of Innovation at 505 Mbps


Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors capable of being built on an integrated circuit doubles every eighteen months.

The law, first discussed in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, has proven able to consistently predict the pace of 20th and 21st century technological progress. Today, roughly every 18 months computers double in speed and power. At about the same pace, the number of pixels achievable by a digital camera doubles. This is true because Moore’s Law doesn’t just describe the pace of computers; it reveals the hidden exponential curve of innovation. The rule applies across industries and the data guides us to a more functional understanding of technology.

Theories explaining the intangible march of progress had been pondered and published long before Moore’s Law, but it wasn’t until Moore offered a statistical benchmark that these theories became valuable. This is because data has a way of revealing the truth that was always there and, in cases where misinformation is pervasive, speaking loudly and clearly for itself.

The cable industry sees Moore’s Law in action every day. Looking at broadband, we can see that peak available speeds have steadily and significantly increased, about 50 percent annually for the past several years. Many of these peak speed increases come along with middle tier speed bumps as well. What some customers now pay now for 50 Mbps is about what they paid for 20 Mbps 18 months ago.


Of course, Moore’s Law probably shouldn’t be called a law in the same way that we refer to Newton’s Laws of Motion. Newton described hard-and-fast rules of the universe. Moore’s Law is a compelling observation, but anything can happen. As any computer engineer, technologist, or science fiction writer will tell you, the future is remarkably difficult to predict. Still, for fifty years it’s proven to be a consistent barometer of technological progress.

The point is, without numbers, clear, concise data, and statistical benchmarks backing observations up, abstract arguments like “broadband speeds are getting faster ” tend to ring hollow. That’s why we take such pride in providing clear, accessible data about the cable industry. In an environment like Washington where ideas are a commodity and influence is as much a question of credibility as it is accuracy, numbers are invaluable. They tell their own story and they cut through the clutter.

Be sure to visit our Industry Data page to see more informative graphs and key stats that highlight today’s video and Internet marketplace.