Internet gridlock imminent


To keep pace with current and future bandwidth demands, major investments in new capacity and intelligent network technologies will be needed.

Said the report: "Online video will require a new wave of network upgrades. Combine [YouTube] with the video offerings of traditional media outlets like Disney as well as myriad other new video services and the traffic is piling up rapidly. Despite the current advancements in online video distribution, the real challenge-delivering real-time TV-quality video over the Internet to a large number of simultaneous viewers-has yet to arrive. To handle this next level of traffic increase, backbone operators will need to reach a new plateau in
network scale and traffic management capability."

Service providers will have to continuously invest in new capacity while applying the latest technological solutions to manage growing traffic efficiently. There are numerous signs of dramatic increases in Internet traffic demand documented in the NMRC/Analysys report. TeleGeography found that in 2006, the growth in average Internet traffic levels (75%) outpaced the growth of capacity (47%) on international Internet backbones for the third consecutive year.  A recent  comScore study found that 123 million people in the US viewed 123 billion videos online, with an average length of 2.6 minutes.  

The report concludes, "Given the continuous need for expanding network capacity and intelligence as well as the recent explosion in online video, there is a role for policymakers in stimulating the next wave of Internet evolution:

First, careful attention should be paid to any new regulation which might adversely impact the business case for Internet investment or set preference for one business model over another.

Second, policymakers should consider methods to encourage network investment, particularly for the last mile of underserved locations.

Third, regulators should not inhibit Internet service providers’ flexibility to experiment with new traffic management technologies and strategies in order to efficiently deliver new services with the quality and security options that Internet users desire.