The end of 'Bandwidth': why we must learn to understand the infinite

Bruns, Axel (1999) The end of 'Bandwidth': why we must learn to understand the infinite. M/C Journal, 2 8: .

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Author Bruns, Axel
Title The end of 'Bandwidth': why we must learn to understand the infinite
Journal name M/C Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1441-2616
Publication date 1999-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 2
Issue 8
Total pages 1 article
Editor Felicity Meakins
Jason Ensor
Place of publication Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Publisher Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
Language eng
Subject C4
780199 Other
420399 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
...The need for radio and TV stations to appeal to such shared values of the many is twofold: where they are commercially run operations, it is simply sound business practice to look for the largest (and hence, most lucrative) audience available. In addition to this, however, the use of a public and limited resource -- the airwaves -- for the transmission of their programmes also creates significant obligations: since the people, represented by their governmental institutions, have licenced stations to use 'their' airwaves for transmission, of course stations are also obliged to repay this entrustment by satisfying the needs and wants of the greatest number of people, and as consistently as possible.

All of this is summed up neatly with the word 'bandwidth'. Referring to frequency wavebands, bandwidth is a precious commodity: there is only a limited range of frequencies which can possibly be used to transmit broadcast-quality radio and TV, and each channel requires a significant share of that range -- which is why we can only have a limited number of stations, and hence, a limited range of programming transmitted through them. Getting away from frequency bands, the term can also be applied in other areas of transmission and publication: even services like cable TV frequently have their form of bandwidth (where cable TV systems have only been designed to take a set number of channels), and even commercial print publishing can be said to have its bandwidth, as only a limited number of publishers are likely to be able to exist commercially in a given market, and only a limited number of books and magazines can be distributed and sold through the usual channels each year. There are in each of these cases, then, physical limitations of one form or another.

The last few years have seen this conception of bandwidth come under increased attack, however, and all those apparently obvious assumptions about our media environment must be reconsidered as a result...
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 15:05:12 EST