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 @ 12:28pm


    Because I am already paying for what I am using. Why do you need to charge me more?

    For example, in my area the local cable provider (Mediacom) offers three levels of service. The basic service is $29 a month and allows for a download speed of up to 3MB/sec, the mid tier is $49 and allows for a download speed of up to 8MB/sec, and the top level offers up to 20MB/sec download speed for ~$70 a month. So if I am paying for the mid-level tier and I am not using more than that amount, which I can't due to the limitations that the cable company puts on the line, and lets say that all of my neighbors have the same plan. Now lets say that we all get online at the same time and we all expect to see the webpages load fast. Except because of how cable interent works none of us get to see that fast speed we are expecting. Yet none of us are going over our purchased limit. So why are we seeing slower speeds? And why should the person that maybe uses 95% of the speed they purchased have to pay more for that speed than the person that purchased the same package yet only used 5% of what's available?

    If we follow this through to your comment then we should be charging our respective cable providers for the slowdown since they have not provided an adacute infrustructure to handle all of the purchased needs of their users.

    This should never fall onto the backs of the users. If I purchase a printer and it says that it can print 55,000 pages on one cartridge but I only get 5,000 pages out of it before it slows down am I required to pay more money to get the rest of my pages? No. The company either fixes the printer or replaces it for me. The same holds true, granted in a slight stretch, to the internet. If I pay for a specific service, 2/4/6/8/50 MB/sec then I should see those speeds regardless of how many people are using the service. If I'm not, the fault for that does not lie with me. It lies with the company that provided me the service. They either oversold what they had available or they lied about what they could provide. Yet nothing is ever done about this.

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