Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cloud computing; fear of Internet traffic jams soon

A couple more wrinkles run along the track with the net neutrality debate.

One of them is a concept called "cloud computing" where data is arranged in huge centers and networked in various relationships, and then accessed from any kind of device, with mobile devices becoming more important. Blogger has been promoting mobile blogging. An acquisition of a small company called Pi started the debate. One is reminded of the little indie black-and-white movie Pi (1998) from Darren Aronofsky. The New York Times story by Steve Lohr from Feb. 25 is here.

But a more urgent story appeared today (March 13) "Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam," on the front page of The New York Times, by Steve Lohr, link here.
The article notes that YouTube used as much bandwidth last year as the entire Internet in 2000, and that Internet efficiency varies widely from country to country and area to area because There is talk of a bandwidth squeeze by 2011. But it will occur gradually, not with a sudden breakdown.

One of the questions underlying the "net neutrality" debate is the way companies in the Internet "ecosystem" have to fine tune their investment in various kinds of instrumentalities, given the unpredictability of consumer tastes. Mobile videoconferencing and conversation with video from business may take up much of the bandwidth.

Cable and high speed Internet companies have to deal with the growth in consumer demand to watch movies and larger videos over the Internet, which has sometimes led to a few customers being cut off for excessive use. Clear pricing policies will be needed, and the possibility of future regulation complicates them, although the bills before Congress now appear somewhat reasonable.

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