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Companies Trying To Restrict Usage Isn't Evidence Of Any Broadband Crunch

from the anecdotes,-not-data dept

This is fascinating. A few weeks back, we noted that a press report in the UK was repeating Nemertes' questionable research on how there was apparently some big bandwidth crunch on the way that would harm the internet. However, someone from Nemertes quickly showed up to claim that the original reporter took their (old) report out of context, and Nemertes wasn't saying what was claimed. However, Zubin Madon, alerts us to the fact that Nemertes' Johna Till Johnson (oddly, without any clear disclaimer that she works for Nemertes) has published a piece at ComputerWorld claiming that, indeed, the internet is running out of bandwidth and that "the Internet sky really is falling." Not only that, but that it's happening even faster than their original estimates?

The proof? Well, there isn't any. She takes two data points (that have nothing to do with actual bandwidth) and extrapolates that we're running out of bandwidth. First, she points out that YouTube was discontinuing servicing certain geographies due to "lack of access capacity." First of all, I'd be interested in some more details on this, because I don't recall seeing the news, and a quick look around isn't turning up much on a story that I would have imagined would have generated a ton of press. Even if it's true, it doesn't seem to support Johnson/Nemertes' point. If YouTube really were pulling out of certain regions due to a lack of access, that would just mean the company is focusing on regions where there is more bandwidth, not that bandwidth is somehow running out. It just means Google is focusing on markets where there's a larger market.

The second data point is Time Warner Cable's weak attempt to try to force metered broadband. However, as the actual research has shown, Time Warner's actions had nothing to do with a bandwidth crunch, and everything to do with simply trying to abuse a market monopoly position to squeeze more money out of customers, even as its own costs were decreasing.

So it's again difficult to take Nemertes' research seriously when these examples are the best it can roll out in support of its position -- especially when Nemertes seemed to step away from its own supposed position just days before Johnson's column.

Filed Under: broadband crunch, evidence
Companies: nemertes

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  1. identicon
    Josh, 13 May 2009 @ 11:43am


    This is due to the ineffecient way that cable companies provide you with bandwith. Instead of giving you a dedicated link, such as DSL does, they give you a shared link. You share this link internally with your TV signal, even if you don't use TV it's on the same wire, and with anyone else in your house, and you also share this link with everyone else in your area. So yes. When the kids get home from school you will see a slowdown, you will also see a slowdown if you live in an area that is full of business people, because they all get on the internet or turn on the TV when they get home from work as well.

    So to say that it's the heavy users that are causing you to experience a slowdown is a fallacy. I consider myself a heavy user and that's only because I play online video games after my children go to bed. But my wife does video editing and is always uploading and downloading videos to her clients and we never get anywhere close to the maximum amount of up/down speeds that we are offered. The closest is when the kids are watching netflix on the xbox, my wife is working and watching a show on netflix and I am playing a game. We hit about 85%-90% usage of our personal allotted bandwith.

    So yes. I can see that you will notice a slowdown when the kids get home if everyone is trying to do what they normally do with what they have payed for.

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