Death Of The Internet Greatly Exaggerated (By Those Who Stand To Benefit)

from the check-the-biases dept

Well, here we go again. For well over a decade now, someone will come along every few months or so and claim that the internet is about to be overwhelmed by traffic and will collapse. However, these predictions never seem to come true, and when you dig deeper, you almost always find that the reports misinterpret some data. In fact, when you get down into the details, you'll almost always find that the technology guys say there's little threat of an internet collapse -- but the policy and business guys will often state otherwise. So, take with a large grain of salt the latest research report claiming that the internet will collapse by 2010. Thankfully, Broadband Reports quickly picks apart the report to note that it was funded by the likes of AT&T and Level3, and it's being supported by a group whose job is to lobby for laws that help the telcos. For them, it makes sense to promote the idea that the internet is about to be overwhelmed, so that regulatory subsidies are put in place to help these companies pay for the type of infrastructure they know they need to invest in anyway. In other words, don't worry about the internet collapsing. Worry about telcos trying to squeeze the government for more taxpayer support (as they've been doing for years) to pay for expected business expenses.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    james, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 7:46pm

    the internet break down, i think that is just (buffering 25% complete)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    james, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 7:50pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Max Powers, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 8:01pm

    More Concerned

    I'm more concerned about the talk of who thinks they should control the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    JD, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 8:53pm

    Good one, James!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Ran Simolon, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 3:01am

    This is presumably related to Congress's renewed recent interest in net neutrality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    chris (profile), Nov 20th, 2007 @ 4:49am


    the telcos need lots of money so they can buy each other up and reform the old bell monopoly. the sooner you commies quit your whining and get in line, the sooner we can all go back to the way it should be: slow speeds, high prices, lousy service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Bill M, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 8:23am


    I keep wondering when the internet will finally be considered a utility. I know my kids are required to go on-line and take tests. How much longer before the net loses its "nice to have" status and becomes a necessity much like electricity and running water?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dave Burstein, Nov 20th, 2007 @ 4:27pm

    Report not as bad as the news reports

    To my amazement, 90% + of the report is sensible and even interesting research. If only USA Today had actually read the 70 page report and understood what it implied.

    Johna very clearly says she is not predicting an "internet collapse". Instead she's saying that some things we like to do on an unfettered Internet - like sending grandma the actual DV video from a $400 camera - probably won't occur.

    She's probably right about that. AT&T has made very clear they do not intend to offer more than 1 megabit uploads to most customers for at least a decade. The download will probably be so slow that if you wanted to watch 3 programs on your TVs in the normal quality of 2012 (HD), it may not be possible. Cable may or may not implement the full DOCSIS 3.0 and will have similar limits.

    There were some unguarded comments in the report that can't be sustained, but most of it is a plausible projection of how much bandwidth people would like to have compared to the likelihood of getting those speeds with the current investment by companies like AT&T. She's almost surely right about that, while wrong about any substantial slowdown.

    The most visible reporter took the story from the press release, which was clearly skewed. Then he got even the press release wrong in the second sentence of the article. If it weren't that his paper is in the middle of layofs, I'd be making him look very dumb to his editors.

    The report has become a tool of unsupportable AT&T propaganda. But after reading it, I'm reporting it a different way - AT&T Funded Reports Criticizes AT&T for Insufficient Investment.

    That's much more accurate to the substance of what is there, but not visible until you've read 60 pages (and perhaps interviewed the auther, an acquaintance.) The bad reporting means DSL Reports and now Techdirt had to refute it, and I'm wasting time on similar.

    Time to call to task reporters who print too much corporate spin. As well as the money the carriers spend on lobbying and elections. It's literally in the hundreds of millions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2007 @ 10:18pm

    As long as there is one ISP with brains, other brain-dead ISPs like AT&T, Bell, Cogent, Verizon, etc... (do I really need to name them all?) will have no choice but to compete. Here our two major ISPs started full metered (and much overpriced) service, and are both being followed by nasty class-action lawsuits.

    Hey guess what? Everyone's going to the smaller ISPs that offer unmetered, unfiltered, unlimited, and more importantly CHEAPER internet than the major ones want to make us think they can sell us. The kicker? They rent lines from those same overpriced ISPs. Surely they must be overloaded!

    Am I the only one that thinks you need to pass an IQ test before being able to be publicized? Or even talk in public for crying out loud... this is getting sad. A paper misinterpreting data being misinterpreted by a newspaper. Someone misinterpret this for me please......

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.