New Technologies

Last-mile bandwidth must expand 10-100 times to meet capacity challenges posed by IPTV and online video, Discovery Institute fellows said in their report Estimating the Exaflood. Authors George Gilder and Bret Swanson said that traffic on the Internet in the U.S. will continue to grow rapidly through 2015, when the total number of bytes moved across the network will be 50 times greater than in 2006. “Video, rich media and graphics are really driving this new expansion,” Swanson said.

“Internet growth at these levels will require a dramatic expansion of bandwidth and storage.” Government should lift telecom regulations in order to prepare for the coming bandwidth demand, Gilder said. “The United States economy is not going to be able to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in new infrastructure unless it’s profitable,” he said. “Wall Street will punish these investments… if the regulators create system where no yield can be gained from this outlay.” All told, they estimate that total U.S. IP traffic could reach 1 zettabyte, a term representing a one followed by 21 zeros, by 2015. Movie downloads and peer-to-peer file sharing could make up 100 exabytes of traffic, video conferencing 400 exabytes, IP video and gaming, 300 exabytes, business traffic 100 exabytes and “cloud” computing and typical web applications such as e- mail, music downloads and phone service would account for the rest, the report said.

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