A report released by the Nemertes Research Group says that due to the burgeoning bandwidth demands brought on my P2P traffic, video streaming, and other high-demand applications, the Internet could become overburdened by 2010. With too many people transferring too much data, the near-future could experience "Internet brown-outs," says the report.
Projects improving the Internet's backbone infrastructure will require massive injections of cash and resources, in order to keep up with increasing demand. The study applied a sort of Moore's Law approach in chartering sky-rocketing bandwidth requirements, and saw that it will not be long before current Internet infrastructure is over-saturated. "Our findings indicate that although core fiber and switching/routing resources will scale nicely to support virtually any conceivable user demand, Internet access infrastructure, specifically in North America, will likely cease to be adequate for supporting demand within the next three to five years," said one of the guys from Nemertes.
The bandwidth requirements of the Interneter's is raising at an incredible rate: “Internet users will create 161 exabytes of new data this year, and this exaflood is a positive development for Internet users and businesses. An exabyte is 1 quintillion bytes or about 1.1 billion gigabytes. One exabyte is the equivalent of about 50,000 years of DVD quality video,” according to the advocacy group Inernet Innovation Alliance, and quoted by the Washington Post.
The report suggests that the American government should take quicker and greater steps towards partially subsidizing improvements to the communications infrastructure.
According to the report (quoted by ValleyWag) the good ole Internet will require somewhere between $42 and $55 billion bottle caps (USD) to keep up with bandwidth demands.
Sure, someone will come up with the money -- after all, the Internet is somewhat useful -- but whether this money will come from expansive Internet taxes, or offloaded to the private sector, is not yet settled.