Internet Traffic Jam By 2010?

    November 20, 2007

Whenever we discuss other countries’ faster Internet connections, there’s something of a “so what?” factor; after all, what we have now generally works well enough.  But a new study from Nemertes Research indicates that serious problems might emerge by 2010.

Larry Irving “This groundbreaking analysis identifies a critical issue facing the Internet – that we must take the necessary steps to build out network capacity or potentially face Internet gridlock that could wreak havoc on Internet services,” stated Larry Irving, co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance.

Things like BlackBerrys, YouTube, and file-sharing have brought us to this point, according to Nemertes, and without an improved infrastructure, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever get beyond it.  The study’s title does, after all, include the phrase “Limits in Internet Capacity Will Stifle Innovation on the Web.”

What will this improved infrastructure cost, then?  Nemertes tosses out some large numbers – an extra $42-$55 billion – but then provides a point of comparison by adding, “this is roughly 60-70 percent above and beyond the $70 billion service providers are already planning to invest.”

Assuming the accuracy of the study, that much of a difference might necessitate some price hikes or even government intervention.