AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010

AT@T logoA CNET article reports that, at a recent forum in London Jim Cicconi, VP of legislative affairs for AT&T, warned that the current systems that constitute the Internet will not be able to cope with the increasing amounts of video and user-generated content being uploaded.

“The surge in online content is at the center of the most dramatic changes affecting the Internet today,” he said. “In three years’ time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today.”

From the article:

Cicconi, who was speaking at the event as part of a wider series of meetings with
U.K. government officials, said that at least $55 billion worth of investment was
needed in new infrastructure in the next three years in the U.S. alone, with the
figure rising to $130 billion to improve the network worldwide. “We are going to be
butting up against the physical capacity of the Internet by 2010,” he said.

He claimed that the “unprecedented new wave of broadband traffic” would increase
50-fold by 2015 and that AT&T is investing $19 billion to maintain its network and
upgrade its backbone network.

Cicconi added that more demand for high-definition video will put an increasing
strain on the Internet infrastructure. “Eight hours of video is loaded onto YouTube
every minute. Everything will become HD very soon, and HD is 7 to 10 times more
bandwidth-hungry than typical video today. Video will be 80 percent of all traffic
by 2010, up from 30 percent today,” he said.

The AT&T executive pointed out that the Internet exists, thanks to the
infrastructure provided by a group of mostly private companies. “There is nothing
magic or ethereal about the Internet–it is no more ethereal than the highway
system. It is not created by an act of God, but upgraded and maintained by private
investors,” he said.

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2 thoughts on “AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010

  1. Response from Bob Frankston to the IP list:

    How does one define “capacity”? To use a trivial example — what’s the capacity of a copper wire? We know it can usually carry a single phone call or maybe 1GB Ethernet or … to treat capacity as a constant is either naïve or stupid or lying. If ATT is declaring that it is incapable of understanding how to operate a transport and can’t afford to then why would shareholders continue to trust it with their money and why would we trust it with our future. It’s one thing for to claim the disserve a return just because they spent money ­ it’s another thing to say that they are incapable of meeting our needs while refusing to give others the opportunity to do something very simple ­ haul bits from point A to point B. The Post Office doesn’t complain that people are sending too much mail.

    As to this myth that HD will flood the Internet —

  2. Response from Patrick W. Gilmore on the IP list:

    The largest link currently available anywhere is 40 Gbps. The
    Internet is more than 800 Gbps (20 x 40 Gbps). There are individual
    networks pushing more traffic than that today.

    The IEEE & industry is trying to finish the 100 Gbps ethernet
    standard. Current estimates are 2010 for general availability. Even
    assuming we could get 100 Gbps to the home at the same time we get it
    into the core, which is obviously impossible, there is still more than
    2 Tbps of traffic on the network today.

    This is not FUD. There is no fear, uncertainty, or doubt about Mr.
    Cicconi’s statement. Anyone with even a modicum of understanding
    about the Internet knows his statements are so far off they’re not
    even wrong.

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