Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Degrading of the Internet?

There is an interesting article titled "Internet 'brownouts' feared by 2010 as user traffic soars", based on a study done by Nemertes Research. The premise is, "Rising demand for bandwidth-hogging Internet activities such as swapping music files and watching YouTube videos threatens to outstrip the Web's infrastructure within three years". That the outer edges of the Internet will not be able to handle the growth without significant investment, especially "last mile" infrastructure.

While I'm unsure of the timing, I do think we're near a cross-road and many will begin to feel the speed degrade. The Internet is the vehicle for so many mission critical applications and activities and a slow down will be very troublesome.

So, what's the answer? Is it a higher level of investment by the Federal Government, State Governments or Local Governments? Is it a higher level of infrastructure investment by private industry? Ultimately I think it needs to start with a National Broadband Policy and vision. It's time to create that "Man on the Moon" vision for broadband. This should include a sustainable broadband infrastructure. From the National League of Cities, we're pushing this notion and hope to gain momentum. The idea is as a country we strive to regain leadership in broadband speed, penetration and availability, citing not only the benefits to our citizens, but also the ability to continue to compete economically with the rest of the world.

Let me know your insights and thoughts on this!


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