Have you heard that by 2013 and a bit, the amount of Internet Video transmitted every week will hit a guzillion Gbs? That’s the same as 20 hexabillion or 100 terratillion, and that’s loads. Only five years ago the whole Internet only carried 10 zintillion all year… think what we were missing.
Actually, I just made all that up but it means about as much to me as the real figures banded about by consultants, vendors and carriers as they predict future traffic flows. What they all have in common is a very steep upward trend of ‘illions’ as more connected devices, more bandwidth, more content and more broadband connections all combine to drive traffic through the roof (of very, very tall building).
Of course, it’s possible that in a few years time the phrase “blimey, 100 guzillion gig and nothing on” will enter common use, but until then the path is up and seems very likely to exceed the capacity of the broadband most of us are connected to deliver it.
Coming up (on June 6) is IPv6 day when the likes of Verizon, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, TimeWarner, Comcast and others will cooperate in testing the IPv6 IP address protocol so badly needed to provide the addresses for all these new devices.
But what about the plain old bandwidth capacity? The signs are that the biggest users of capacity (i.e. the biggest providers of content) are publically sticking to their net neutrality guns while privately planning and negotiating for a ‘managed’ and price-banded world. The logic is inexorable, while best effort access must be guaranteed for all content that wants to enter the network, why should broadband providers – and thereby their customers – have to subsidise the bit hungry business models of content providers they may well have no interest in?
The individual customer who wants the service, either as a mega speed ‘all you can eat’ customer – or specifically for a particular content channel – should pay, or, alternatively, the content provider can pay for a premium carriage service if that works for his business model.
Of course, those sticking most resolutely to their guns are those who are ‘getting away with’ the most now. Public service stations, that have often been paid for by their consumers already through a tax, have chosen to recycle their content online for those of their viewers who have broadband. Licence tax payers who don’t use the service will rightly object to subsidising it any more than they already do, and so will broadband subscribers.