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Come Back Later The Internet Is Full

Jun 21, 2008
AT&T is bringing down my Internet buzz. Vice president of legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi, recently spoke to the web 2.0 forum in London and warned that without significant world wide investment, the Internet would reach the limits of its capacity by 2010. He went on to claim that in just three years time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet currently uses!

That boggles the mind. How can just 20 households use more traffic than the all of the homes and businesses currently connected? He supports his claim with the example that users upload nearly eight hours of video into YouTube every minute and that example will continue to grow. Video is quickly moving to high definition which requires nearly 10 times more bandwidth than current video. By 2010, 80 percent of all traffic on the Internet will be related to video.

On top of the rising demands of video moving online, telecommunications is also moving onto the Internet with residential and business VoIP quickly overtaking traditional telecom. Without sufficient bandwidth on the Internet, global VoIP calls would begin to encounter a greater occurrence of jitter and packet loss. Not good for a growing industry.

This potential new threat to the Internet will require at least $55 billion worth of investment in the US alone and as much as $130 billion in the rest of the world, according to Cicconi. AT&T has committed $19 billion to maintain and upgrade its own piece of the Internet backbone.

The question we all want to know is, how much of Cicconi's banter is simply a ploy by AT&T to get the government to pop for network upgrades and how much of this is legitimate concern. It is amazing to think that the alarm bells are only now being rung on an issue which could impact us within 2 years.

All of this comes at a time that AT&T and others are trying to start charging for faster internet surfing and speed. Congress has so far held the ground on "Net Neutrality" - the plan to keep the internet fair for all users. However, if AT&T were able to prove that the Internet can not keep up, it would give additional leverage to those who oppose net neutrality.

This is one to keep our eyes on. How the story develops may very well determine who has access to the Internet in the future and at what speeds and cost.
About the Author
Dustysage is the Editor of http://micechat.com the wildly popular Disney community and http://telecommonthly.com the Telecom Industry monthly blog.
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