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. icon
    Mike (profile), 13 May 2009 @ 5:24pm

    Re: The author confuses cause and effect

    It's ironic. The author says that ISPs' desire to regulate bandwidth is not evidence of a bandwidth crunch. But the author confuses cause and effect. Bandwidth restrictions would never be evidence that there was a crunch; it would be a consequence of it. Furthermore, the author presents no evidence that there is not a bandwidth crunch. Rather, he seems just to be ranting at ISPs because he harbors a grudge against them.

    Hi Brett. I'm sorry we didn't get to meet the past few days, though I know you were here at the Tech Policy Summit as well.

    That said, you are wrong in your statements about me and what I said.

    Nemertes was the one who claimed that the metered bandwidth plans are evidence of a crunch. I, in fact, pointed to evidence that it was not. To claim I have not is simple fallacy. I did right here in this article, and we've done so multiple times in the past.

    Outright lying is beneath you.

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