Broadband Crunch Still Nowhere To Be Found; Internet Growth May Actually Be Slowing

from the overreact-much? dept

While consultants, telco lobbyists and politicians keep insisting that the internet is on the verge of collapse as more high bandwdith apps and services move online, we continue to rely on the folks who actually understand what's going on (and have access to real traffic reports) to give us a more accurate picture. The most reliable on this subject tends to be Andrew Odlyzko who has been calling the claims of a coming broadband crunch a myth for quite some time.

Broadband Reports points out that Odlyzko is back with his latest analysis of internet traffic (and he actually makes his data available). And, once again, he's quite skeptical of any broadband crunch, noting that internet traffic appears to be growing at a rather predictable pace that can easily be handled by standard technology upgrades.

Actually, he notes that there's even some evidence of that internet growth is actually slowing down. If anything, he suggests that broadband ISPs would probably be better served encouraging greater usage, because it looks like the growth rates aren't keeping up with what they once were. He also notes that in other countries, where there's much greater broadband than in the US, there isn't necessarily a huge corresponding growth in internet usage -- suggesting that, unlike what some claim, there is a point of bandwidth saturation (at least until new apps come along). So the next time you hear a politician or lobbyist insist that the internet is on the verge of collapse, point them over to Odlyzko's data, and suggest that we should be focusing on ways to encourage more internet usage, rather than limiting it with silly and totally unnecessary things like metered broadband usage.

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  1. icon
    Allen (profile), 6 Aug 2008 @ 10:12pm

    I just checked out the source data

    Mike,
    I'm going to have to spend more than 15 minutes looking at Odlyzko's site.

    However, the source data appears to be mostly internet exchanges and universities. The few network operators that I checked appear to be reporting on core traffic. He cites reports from a few other areas that I need to look at to come to a conclusion.

    My first impressions are that he is looking at the wrong part of the network, about as far away from a broadband user as you can get.

    I dont know what broadband traffic patterns look like out at the edge of the network but a quick look at the source leaves me wondering if Odlyzko does either.

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