No Room at the Innternet

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I read an interesting (and disconcerting) article today.

The Internet is "running out of room," says the Nemertes Research Group, an independent analysis group.

Consumer and corporate use of the Internet could overload the current capacity and lead to brown-outs in two years unless backbone providers invest billions of dollars in new infrastructure, according to a study released Monday.

A flood of new video and other Web content could overwhelm the Internet by 2010 unless backbone providers invest up to US$137 billion in new capacity, more than double what service providers plan to invest, according to the study, by Nemertes Research Group, an independent analysis firm. In North America alone, backbone investments of $42 billion to $55 billion will be needed in the next three to five years to keep up with demand, Nemertes said.

As much as I love You-Tube and God-Tube and all those other cool video sites, I do have a few beefs about them:

  1. They gobble up web space like The Blob swallowed cars.
  2. Most of the content is sheer crap.

Who on earth approves the stupidest videos found on You-Tube? Yeah, yeah, "freedom" and all that stuff... do we really need gobs and gobs of videos detailing the prom queen's latest teenage hookup, or tutorials on how to construct pipe b*mbs? C'mon!

I think this problem of overloading the Internet has been coming for a long time. I first started wondering about it when some big companies said they wanted to make available movies on the Internet. Wow. How are they going to squeeze all that in unless we expand things? So, I am against streaming big stuff like movies via the Internet. Get them on better and thriftier formats, like dvds or videos. Save the Internet for the really meaningful stuff-- like educational sites, and blogs! :D

New inventions always seem to go this route. Think about it historically. Think about our forests, or our coal supply, or water resources. At first, people go bonkers with excessive and wasteful use until a sudden drop in supply forces us to ration and to streamline the demand. Seems to be the same with the Internet.

The study confirms long-time concerns of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), an advocacy group focused on upgrading U.S. broadband networks, said Bruce Mehlman, co-chairman of the group. The group, with members including AT&T, Level 3 Communications, Corning, Americans for Tax Reform and the American Council of the Blind, has been warning people of the coming “exaflood” of video and other Web content that could clog its pipes.

...“It takes a digital village,” he said. “Certainly, infrastructure providers have plenty to do. You’ve seen billions in investment, and you’re seeing ongoing billions more.”

Eventually, just like Jimmy Carter, the head honchos are going to ask us to conserve our use, right? I don't think this is a bad idea-- I'm all for efficiency and reduction of waste, in anything. However, it would be stupid to wait to conserve until it's too late and you start to see servers crashing everywhere. I like the Internet. I plan to use it for a very long time, so I plan to conserve my own use. That means: no stupid videos, for one! Also, we must learn to love the word compression.

2 remarks
Anonymous said...

They got just the reaction from you they wanted and it is wrong. This study totally ignores a much lower cost solution and was undertaken with a pre-determined build support for more govt. subsidies for the telecom industry based on an artificial panic over capacity. For a detailed look at what was done, who did it and my post:

6:27 PM  
Mrs Mecomber said...

Thank you for your comment. My reaction was to encourage conservation and efficiency. This is wrong, and is the reaction they and the government wants? Hard to believe. Since when do study groups, think tanks, elites, and government bureaucrats encourage conservation and efficiency?

Just as with any good thing, we need to be wise and moderate with it. But I'm no expert-- I merely offered an opinion in a story I'd read. I'll check out your story. Thanks again!

6:46 PM  

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