Breaking the Internet

June 22nd, 2008 by · 1 Comment

According to IDC, 51% of telecom execs say bandwidth will break Internet, which apparently proves that ‘bandwidth is not infinite’.  Who might have made that claim is not clear, because of course nobody has.  Of course, it’s not just IDC, this is all over the media these days.  But what do they mean by ‘break’?

The answer comes from this tidbit:

Of the 80 percent of respondents who identified a way to deal with Internet congestion, 32 percent thought that providers should address spikes in traffic by prioritizing via packet inspection, while 24 percent said that spikes are better handled by charging more for excess bandwidth.

Now we see what the problem is – it’s money.  Surprise surprise!  It’s not the internet at all that is in danger of breaking, it’s the balance sheets of AT&T and VZ and all those other vulnerable yet heroic companies.  It’s not that the capacity can’t be manufactured and installed, it’s that their profit margins might be endangered.  Forgive me, but so what?  If they can’t afford to upgrade then they won’t.  When that happens, either their competition *will* upgrade and they will be replaced in the market, or traffic jams will start and prices will rise – thereby enabling those upgrades.  We call this the free market.

Why the fear campaign?  All they want is the *political* justification to do it use their gatekeeper status now when they don’t have competitive or financial grounds to do so – anybody checked the balance sheets of Comcast or T lately?  Sheesh.  I say let’em sweat. If they can’t keep up with bandwidth growth, maybe someone else can. We need to let it play out.

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Categories: Internet Backbones · Internet Traffic

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