AT&T Lobbyist Predicts Doom & Gloom, Clogged Internet By 2010

from the would-you-put-money-on-that? dept

We’ve noticed a nice little pattern. Whenever you hear news reports about how the internet is getting clogged up due to things like music downloading or YouTube or video downloads, the claims are almost always from consultants or lobbyists (or politicians who take their cues from the lobbyists). But when you talk to the actual technologists who understand what’s actually happening on the network, a very different story emerges (even if those technologists work for the telcos complaining about a bandwidth crunch). They point out that there’s no bandwidth crunch and the impact of P2P traffic is overstated and that any increase in bandwidth can be easily dealt with.

So, with headlines blaring out this weekend that AT&T is predicting that “the internet will run out of capacity by 2010,” take a wild guess at the role of the guy making the prediction. Yup, it’s the company’s vice president of legislative affairs. If it’s such a burden, then why does AT&T continue to build out its network? The answer is because it still makes the company plenty of money, despite what he’d have you believe. It’s because the government was kind enough to grant AT&T all sorts of monopoly rights of way and subsidies — and the only way to keep those flowing is to warn about some impending doom to hit the network. While he also talks up how he wants the government to keep a “light regulatory touch” when it comes to network neutrality, he skips the part about the heavy regulatory touch that’s gone on in terms of benefiting AT&T for years. Funny how that works. No, the internet isn’t at risk of collapsing in 2010. AT&T is just trying to squeeze more subsidies out of the government.

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “AT&T Lobbyist Predicts Doom & Gloom, Clogged Internet By 2010”

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PopeRatzo (profile) says:

Re: I wish the major news orgs would beat up them...

It’s not that the major news orgs are “plain blind”, Skeptic, but rather, they are totally complicit.

Every major news organization is owned by a large corporation. Many of them also have interests in military contracting, transportation, manufacturing, and the entertainment industry. It is in their best interest to have a weak government with no regulatory power.

They played stupid when there was still a chance to prevent this war in Iraq. They are playing stupid now when the same gang is trying to start a war with Iran. They will push John McCain at any cost (see the recent ABC “debate”).

The media is in no way a “victim” of the current regime. They are sitting side-by-side in the drivers seat.

That’s why it’s crucial that strong net neutrality laws are enacted right away.

Anonymous Coward says:

American Corporate Greed

AT&T is not only trying to squeeze more money (e.g. Sales pitch – higher rates for non clogged/slow bandwidth!!!),they are also too cheap to invest more into their own infrastructure and/or technology to improve throughput.

Just another example of American corporate greed. Shoot them all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: American Corporate Greed

More like American government foolishness. By granting monopoly rights to AT&T you promote a system by which fair competition is removed.

In a healthy industry AT&T would have to put up or shut up. Basically someone would see the need for better infrastructure, promote that, get funding, and deploy it. Thus taking business away from those refusing to adapt. This is how qwest started actually (before they became part of the problem).

However the government went and allowed AT&T to get protection, and in turn AT&T used that influence to push even more regulation in its favor. So in essence your tax dollars are going to AT&T so that it can charge you more money and deliver a substandard product (its all a big circle that has stared to flow in the wrong direction).

How do you fix it? Start removing AT&Ts monopolistic grants. Then issue seed-grants, short term substitutes for companies to deliver better access & innovation. Create a X-prize like foundations for communities that go to municipal deployments. Ratify regulations to promote physical line sharing. Change the FCC codes to cover communications network coverages independently of what services they offer (Rules based on the network, not what you send over it).

This would foster new companies to fill in the niche markets. Some communities could create non-profit local solutions. Competition would increase for using better more efficient markets. And it would allow the small ISP/TV/etc providers to lease bandwidth to consumers to deliver more specialized services (instead of having large one-size-fits -all services by the owners of the lines).

No company with almost guaranteed exclusivity will screw up that sort of arrangement. Its sort of like the movie industry…no matter how much money a movie makes they still find a way to say its a loss so they can swindle people into giving more money and more exclusive deals next time.

Jake says:

What this probably means in reality is that AT&T -and in fairness, a number of their contemporaries- botched their traffic growth predictions and are now stuck with a capacity shortfall, and are now trying to wriggle out of any kind of constructive solution like reinvesting some of their not-inconsiderable profits in upgrading their infrastructure to meet the extra demand.

Bob Dunno says:

They may be right

The thing is, you see, that AT&T may be right, considering the inflated size of bits now cramming gig-a-wise sideways into their pipe and how many slow ants are following suit. It scares me to ponder their proposed oiling of the lines to increase speed since bandwidth expansion is beyond their capability. Perhaps it may come to it. Or maybe it was past. I think just maybe things might be, or not.

Ferin says:

Put the money in your bloody networks

Heh, this is the arguement I have with my aunt (a manager at qwest) all the time. During the 90s when they had a boom year in revenue, they sunk tons of money into improving infrastructure. Now that times are lean, instead of sinking money into the netowkr, they’re ignoring the networks in favor of pumping up their profitability. Instead of filtering the net and crying for government help, they need to buckle down and remind their investors that stagnating in design and standards of technology was what killed the domestic auto manufacturers. (She believes telcos should be allowed charge extra for certain uptime and delivery guaruntees.)

Anonymous Coward says:

You write:

“But when you talk to the actual technologists who understand what’s actually happening on the network, a very different story emerges (even if those technologists work for the telcos complaining about a bandwidth crunch). They point out that there’s no bandwidth crunch and the impact of P2P traffic is overstated and that any increase in bandwidth can be easily dealt with.”

You don’t name the “technologists” you claim to have consulted. But I’m an actual technologist and an ISP, and I can attest to the fact that P2P truly is hogging bandwidth, degrading users’ legitimate activities, and unfairly shifting costs to ISPs (which must in turn be shifted to consumers if ISPs are not to go out of business). See my remarks to the FCC at

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