ISP Admits Internet Traffic Is Actually Declining

from the but-what-about-the-exaflood? dept

For quite some time, we've been pointing out that all the fear mongering from lobbyists and politicians about a coming "exaflood" of bandwidth that will wipe out the internet unless ISPs are allowed to double charge for the same bandwidth, is something of a myth. Instead, it turns out that traffic appears to be slowing its growth trajectory somewhat. The latest to agree with this is Cogent, who supplies plenty of bandwidth, but actually found overall traffic decline last quarter. Apparently, the unstoppable march of bandwidth consumption isn't as threatening as some would have you believe.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 12:50am

    internet access is like a honeymoon, it wears off.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Inevitable

    This was always going to happen for three very good reasons. First of all, there's only so many new customers. Most people who want broadband already have it. Those who don't often live in areas where it's difficult or expensive to get, so takeup of new subscribers is going to slow down.

    Second, as new services come in, they're more often than not replacing illegal services. For example, if a person uses Hulu instead of YouTube or BitTorrent to watch a TV show, that's not new bandwidth usage but a new use for the same bandwidth. I think most of the doomsday predictions assumed that legal use would be in addition to the old infringing traffic.

    Third is the lack of new applications. Most people use the majority of their bandwidth to download or stream entertainment, play games or use services like Skype or internet radio. Other services (browsing, email, IM, etc) are low-bandwidth cost. Unless a totally new kind of service hits with high bandwidth requirements in the next couple of years, the bandwidth useage is only going to stabilise.

     

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    Shohat, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 1:29am

    Cognitive Dissonance much ?

    One ISP in the US says that it has experienced a decline in traffic, and your headline includes "Internet Traffic is Declining" ?!
    US is a mature, even saturated market, which a large % of not-so-savvy users.

    Check the numbers for China, Brazil, India. See what goes on in Japan, Eastern Europe.

    This is where the real growth is happening. US traffic has little (if any) reason to increase.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 1:51am

      Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

      Isn't it the US who are pushing against network neutrality to begin with? In that case, why shouldn't a report from one of their biggest bandwidth providers be considered important?

       

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        Shohat, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:20am

        Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

        Actually Virgin (UK ) is one of the biggest players in that field... but..
        most importantly, the pressure comes from international free market organizations, and pretty much all the technological fathers of the Intertnet (Bob Kahn, Dave Farber, etc..) along with the actual people who "run" the internet (Cisco, Alcatel, 3M, etc..) , and anti-government-regulation organizations.

        And it's more a principal of letting the government(s) regulate the Internet, or let the market do it for himself. So either way, that report, along with the headline, are simply... meh .

        P.S
        Personally, I am all for net neutrality. I'm just saying that the title has little to do with content, and content has little to do with anything.

         

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          Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

          Actually Virgin (UK ) is one of the biggest players in that field... but..

          Cogent is one of the largest players in the US, and we're discussing claims of network clogging in the US. So I'm not sure what Virgin has to do with anything?

          most importantly, the pressure comes from international free market organizations, and pretty much all the technological fathers of the Intertnet (Bob Kahn, Dave Farber, etc..) along with the actual people who "run" the internet (Cisco, Alcatel, 3M, etc..) , and anti-government-regulation organizations.

          What does gov't regulation have to do here? We're against gov't regulation here as well, but this post has nothing to do with gov't regulation.

          We're simply pointing out that the claims that the internet is running out of bandwidth are pretty clearly bogus.

          And it's more a principal of letting the government(s) regulate the Internet, or let the market do it for himself.

          Again, this post had nothing to do with gov't regulation. Why are you suggesting it does?

          Personally, I am all for net neutrality. I'm just saying that the title has little to do with content, and content has little to do with anything.

          The only thing that has little to do with the content of the post is your comment here.

           

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            Shohat, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

            Allrighty.



            Cogent is one of the largest players in the US, and we're discussing claims of network clogging in the US. So I'm not sure what Virgin has to do with anything?

            You didn't say US. There is no mention of the country you are referring to. Your title implies that Internet traffic is declining, while in reality, it is multiplying, just not in the US, not for this ISP at least.

            What does gov't regulation have to do here? We're against gov't regulation here as well, but this post has nothing to do with gov't regulation.

            We're simply pointing out that the claims that the internet is running out of bandwidth are pretty clearly bogus.

            I didn't bring up net neutrality personally, but PaulT. And for quite a decent reason - since traffic growth is the the main excuse used for traffic shaping/filtering/prioritization freedom that ISPs ask for. Considering the context of the blog, he probably assumed that you have at least considered that angle of your post.
            Net Neutrality = Government regulation. Lack of government regulation = death of Net Neutrality. Free market ensues. Net Neutrality is something that needs to be enforced, not the other way around. If you don't regulate, ISPs will do whatever they want.
            You can't be for Net Neutrality and against Government regulation.
            So... since you are against Net Neutrality, and the point of your post is that there is no US traffic growth... erm... Your view is that regulations should be lifted even if no growth occurs ?!

             

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              Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 11:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

              You can't be for Net Neutrality and against Government regulation.

              Um, yes you absolutely can. I am. I think that a neutral net serves the best interests of both the providers and the users, but it doesn't need gov't regulation to get there. It needs competition.

              In fact, the whole reason this is even a debate is because of BAD gov't regulation that created a duopoly of providers.

               

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                Shohat, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 11:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

                I can't say I agree with your understanding of the market and the lack of need for regulation, but thanks for explaining your opinion on the issue.
                It is usualy assumed that once choice is given to the corporations, NN will cease to exist. And most providers pretty much confirm that this is the case.

                But again, this is your rightful PoV, and puts some of the remarks in context.

                Cheers.

                 

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                  Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

                  It is usualy assumed that once choice is given to the corporations, NN will cease to exist. And most providers pretty much confirm that this is the case.


                  Really? But they've had that choice for years and remained neutral, because they knew they needed to do so to attract and retain customers.

                   

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            Sean, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

            I'm trying to decide if I can risk saying that Mike got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, or that the above is a great flame.
            But I don't want Mike to flame me for making OT comments.


            I'll second all 3 points that PaulIT made above. Static growth, nothing that needs all that bandwidth, and nothing to do with it when you get it.

             

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        chris (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

        Isn't it the US who are pushing against network neutrality to begin with?

        american telcos are against net neutrality. ordinary citizens are often in favor of it.

         

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      JS Beckerist (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 9:24am

      Re: Cognitive Dissonance much ?

      It's OUR (American) politicians and lobbyists who are saying that the intertubes are getting clogged.

      Outside the US, while related, isn't relevant to this discussion.

       

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    George Lee, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:24am

    Less legacy software out there

    My guess is that more and more people are dumping Lotus Notes which is a known bandwidth hog to something more efficient and effective like WebMail or switching over to a more advance platform like Outlook/Exchange or Sun Java Communications Suite.

    $0.02

     

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      dave, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 8:26am

      Re: Less legacy software out there

      you might have a point about the bandwidth consumption of some legacy software but Lotus Notes is certainly not a good example unless you are talking about a very old version. Calling Exchange a 'more advanced platform' is heresy, trying to compare the 2 is like comparing apples an pears. Bear in mind that Lotus Notes is not just a mail, calendar & scheduling server, it is also a web server, an application server, a database server, news server and more and is a lot more secure than exchange ...

       

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        Peter Gun, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 9:43pm

        Re: Re: Less legacy software out there

        I think he was referring to Email and you are referring to IBM/Lotus Notes marketing crap.

        More and more people are moving over to Exchange/Outlook, analyst predict more than 70% of the enterprise is already on it.

        What IBM does is come out with more and more products which requires more and more IBM Global Services and more and more resources to run in a DECLINING Economy !

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    So does that mean the price will drop

    If demand goes down and supply stays the same . . . why dont I expect my internet access to get any cheaper?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 8:17am

      Re: So does that mean the price will drop

      If demand goes down and supply stays the same . . . why dont I expect my internet access to get any cheaper?
      Because free market economics only apply to a free market, which broadband service in the US isn't.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    The economy in the US is sinking....

    layoffs and pay cuts are spreading out like wild fire, broadband access qualifies as luxury item these days.

     

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    AnyMouse, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:12pm

    Another Reason

    Teens, whom have used facebook and myspace and various messaging protocols (msn, aol, etc) are now using text messaging via cell phones for their conversations. They don't need to use the internet for that any more.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 5:20pm

    I think more bandwidth is use by malicious traffic then pirating or streaming. couple months ago the company I work for fought off a 50Gbps UDP attack that lasted for 10 hours. This is much more bandwidth then your casual file shared could use in use in a very long time.

     

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    Xlr8, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 11:57pm

    Cogent/Verio

    Cogent bought NTT/Verio's circuits toward the beginning of 2004. Verio never had much in the way of bandwidth or respect (especially after it sold it's dialup customers to Earthlink) from its base or its workers.

    Blame Felecia Dinsmore and Geoffrey Reese.

     

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    Allen (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 1:57am

    whatever

    Did you consider the possibility that Cogent may have simply lost market share? Their major customers are going to be multi-homed and can easily shift traffic to other networks to arbitrage pricing or whatever.

    Cogent doesn't have cancer, therefore no one has cancer? Sorry Mike, but if your going to rant about this stuff you need to start picking better examples.

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 2:04am

      Re: whatever

      Did you consider the possibility that Cogent may have simply lost market share? Their major customers are going to be multi-homed and can easily shift traffic to other networks to arbitrage pricing or whatever.

      There doesn't appear to be any evidence that's the case, and the details from Cogent suggest otherwise.

       

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    D L, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    What about

    Did anyone bother to point out that web apps are becoming more optimized and thus needs to send less data between points? Say if I'm searching for something, not only is Google making search faster, but it's probably using less bandwidth than older search engines. So while searches are up due to being faster and more accurate, they use less bandwidth. Adapt this analogy to other web technologies and it's easy to see how usage can be up while bandwidth is down.

     

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