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April 21, 2008

AT&T Says Internet Full By 2010

AT&T is estimating that the Internet will reach full capacity by 2010.  They base this conclusion on the expected demand for high definition video and more user-generated content passing around.  AT&T additionally offers high definition television services in selected markets, which presumably takes up a good chunk of the tubes pipes.  The statement came in a speech by Jim Cicconi, vice president of legislative affairs for AT&T.  He spoke at the Westminister eForum on Web 2.0 in London. 

The underlying message is simple, let the network operators manage their networks as they set fit and without government regulation.  We may otherwise see the end of the Internet as we know it.  The only option presented by the company is an either-or.  Either back off or suffer a slowdown.  Is there no room for careful management practices that can efficiently use bandwidth without discriminating against content?  Or expanding capacity?  Or some combination?  Interesting that Verizon, Comcast, and others haven't echoed these statements, or that the government hasn't sounded its own warning.  AT&T, no doubt, wishes it could charge home access the same way it does wireless Internet, by the kilobyte.  There's much more profit in that model compared to tiers of speed.  The better to monetize existing customers.

AT&T likes to remind people that the Internet backbone was built by private investors, and the company should profit from this investment.  But it neglects to remember the government involvement that spurred the development of the network or the very public purposes for it.  The Internet isn't the private reserve of AT&T or any of the telecoms.

More on this in USA Today and Ars Technica.

April 21, 2008 | Permalink


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