Study shows a flood of new video and other web content could overwhelm the Internet by 2010 unless backbone providers invest up to 137 billion U.S. dollars in new capacity, more than double what service providers plan to invest, media reported Tuesday.
The study shows Internet access infrastructure, specifically in North America, will likely cease to be adequate for supporting demand within the next three to five years.
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 has been warning people of the coming "exaflood" of video and other Web content that could clog its pipes.
The study suggests demand for Web applications like streaming and interactive video, peer-to-peer file transfers, and music downloads will accelerate, creating a demand for more capacity. Close to three quarters of U.S. Internet users watched an average of 158 minutes of video in May and viewed more than 8.3 billion video streams, according to research from comScore, an analysis group.
Internet users will create 161 exabytes of new data this year, and this exaflood is a positive development for Internet users and businesses, IIA says. An exabyte is 1 quintillion bytes or about 1.1 billion gigabytes. One exabyte is the equivalent of about 50,000 years of DVD-quality video.
The responsibility for keeping up with this growing demand lies with backbone providers and national policy makers, said Mehlman.
U.S. lawmakers can also help in several ways, he said. For example, the U.S. Congress could require that home contractors who receive government assistance for building affordable housing include broadband connections in their houses, he said. Congress could also provide tax credits to help broadband providers add more capacity, he said.
Consumers also pay high taxes for telecommunication services, averaging about 13 percent on some telecom services, similar to the tax rate on tobacco and alcohol, Mehlman said.