Internet usage could outstrip network capacity in North America and worldwide in a couple of years.
That’s the finding of a study by a research advisory firm. Nemertes Research says its report is the first to assess Internet infrastructure and model current/projected traffic patterns independent of one another.
Internet access infrastructure, specifically in North America, “will cease to be adequate for supporting demand within the next three to five years.” It said the cost required to make capacity meet demand is in the area of $42 billion to $55 billion in the U.S., primarily to be spent on broadband access capacity. The firm said that is 60 to 70 percent beyond the $72 billion service providers are planning to invest.
“Required investment globally is estimated at $137 billion, again primarily in broadband access.”
The authors said that as a result, users could increasingly encounter Internet “brownouts” or interruptions to their applications they use online.
“For example, it may take more than one attempt to confirm an online purchase or it may take longer to download the latest video from YouTube. Overall, the impact of this inadequate infrastructure will be primarily to slow down the pace of innovation. The next Amazon, Google or YouTube might not arise — not from a lack of user demand, but because of insufficient infrastructure preventing applications and companies from emerging,” the authors said.
The company’s research is funded by organizations including the Internet Innovation Alliance, which purchased distribution rights to the findings. One IIA official said the report is evidence that “the exaflood is coming.”