April 18, 2008 7:17 AM PDT

AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010

U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has claimed that, without investment, the Internet's current network architecture will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010.

Speaking at a Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 this week in London, Jim Cicconi, vice president 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."

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.

Although Cicconi's speech did not explicitly refer to the term "Net neutrality," some audience members tackled him on the issue in a question-and-answer session, asking whether the subtext of his speech was really around prioritizing some kinds of traffic. Cicconi responded by saying he believed government intervention in the Internet was fundamentally wrong.

"I think people agree why the Internet is successful. My personal view is that government has widely chosen to...keep a light touch and let innovators develop it," he said. "The reason I resist using the term 'Net neutrality' is that I don't think government intervention is the right way to do this kind of thing. I don't think government can anticipate these kinds of technical problems. Right now, I think Net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem."

Net neutrality refers to an ongoing campaign calling for governments to legislate to prevent Internet service providers from charging content providers for prioritization of their traffic. The debate is more heated in the United States than in the United Kingdom because there is less competition between ISPs in the States.

Content creators argue that Net neutrality should be legislated in order to protect consumers and keep all Internet traffic equal. Network operators and service providers argue that the Internet is already unequal, and certain types of traffic--VoIP, for example--require prioritization by default.

"However well-intentioned, regulatory restraints can inefficiently skew investment, delay innovation, and diminish consumer welfare, and there is reason to believe that the kinds of broad marketplace restrictions proposed in the name of 'neutrality' would do just that, with respect to the Internet," the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement last year.

The BBC has come under fire from service providers such as Tiscali, which claim that its iPlayer online-TV service is becoming a major drain on network bandwidth.

In a recent posting on his BBC blog, Ashley Highfield, the corporation's director of future media and technology, defended the iPlayer: "I would not suggest that ISPs start to try and charge content providers. They are already charging their customers for broadband to receive any content they want."

Andrew Donoghue of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
government intervention, Net Neutrality, AT&T Corp., traffic, government


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The old 'regulation is bad' crap again
Haven't they learned yet that NO ONE is stupid enough to fall for that, even the people in CONGRESS are beginning to or have wised up to the fact that regulation is part of governments job and, done correctly, regulation improves things.
Posted by Leria (585 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yea right!
YOU can have all the regulation you want and YOU can pay for it. Just keep it out of my life!

I would much rather have more competition instead of the one choice I now have for broadband...mostly due to prior regulations.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Link Flag
"fact that regulation is part of governments job and, done correctly, regulation improves things."

Yeah? And just when has this government ever regulated anything correctly? Hmmmm. Try never.
Posted by lkrupp (1608 comments )
Link Flag
bull.. it's the spam
I heartily endorse spam as a method to tax the ones not yet eligible
for the Darwin award, but I do think the vast amount of spam
traffic out there is a significant contributor to the bandwidth
Posted by afterhours (215 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I find this hard to believe
During the "dot com" years huge amounts of fiber were laid around the world. Most of it was never activated, and as of a few years ago only 5% of the added capacity was in use.
To start running out of bandwidth, this soon, is hard to believe. More likely these companies are creating FUD as an excuse to raise rates and/or cut back on service.

Anyone have any recent stats. that they could add in?
Posted by Marcus Westrup (630 comments )
Reply Link Flag
based on the content of the Buzz Report...
I'd say there is so much garbage content out there, surely it must
be choking the pipes.
Posted by afterhours (215 comments )
Link Flag
Two fiber optic lines
PacBell/SBC/AT&T and TimeWarner Cable TV both laid fiber optics
in our neighborhood and right up to the houses, but never did
anything with them.

A few weeks ago I chatted with an AT&T guy measuring on my
street who said they are going to be doing some new stuff for
Posted by Lee in San Diego (608 comments )
Link Flag
Better start building
I read some time back that Google now holds leases on a very large
part of the world's dark fiber. (They might have the lion's share of

ATT better start building or they might find Google poised to
become the world's ISP.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ah just bring Internet/2 online fully and that will take care of it all
Posted by dswatik (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For educational use only.
Please research before trying to make suggestions.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.internet2.edu/" target="_newWindow">http://www.internet2.edu/</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://360Oregon.com" target="_newWindow">http://360Oregon.com</a>
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Link Flag
I call BS
"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."

In three years 20 housholds generate more traffic than 500 MILLION housholds of today? Maybe if every square inch of their house had a different full HD stream playing 24/7.

No serriously how is he even employed when he is saying somthing so obviously wrong, If this site was anything but CNET i'd be surprised it got past the editors.
Posted by Draxon (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I just wrote about that too here
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.livecrunch.com/2008/04/18/att-running-out-of-bandwith-capacity-by-2010/" target="_newWindow">http://www.livecrunch.com/2008/04/18/att-running-out-of-bandwith-capacity-by-2010/</a>
Posted by livecrunch (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad headline - This isn't news...
The headline itself is not news at all. Internet bandwidth has been growing rapidly for 15 years. Given that, at any point in time one could say that "the Internet will hit full capacity within 2 years without additional investment". You always time investment to demand and growth - the investment is ongoing.

It's a stupid headline.

What is newsworthy is the $130B investment number.
Sure, the fiber is all in the ground, but to make it useful you have to put gear on it to light it up as well as bigger and badder routers to handle all of the traffic demands. Some folks seem to want to equate the massive amount of inter-city fiber built 10 years ago as "capacity". That fiber is not capacity in and of itself, but it is a major investment element that is less of a concern now than before the boom.

And spam, while annoying, is hardly a leading cause of traffic growth today. While mailed to m(b?)illions of mailboxes, spam is mostly text and relatively small jpg's. However, the "typical uses" of the hundreds of millions of Internet users has expanded to include much higher bandwidth uses including uploading / sharing / watching streaming video, online gaming and other higher bandwidth web experiences.
Posted by Boss Drum (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not a stupid headline
Because the 'investment' in more bandwidth usually does not keep up with the DEMAND for more bandwidth.... different organizations like the EFF have been saying that for YEARS, that companies are giving their investors windfall profits at the cost to the rest of the people who use their services.
Posted by Leria (585 comments )
Link Flag
HAHAHA. Good thing I don't have AT&T.
How could AT&#38;T know about the Internet capacity of other providers... AT&#38;T is the largest phone company now in the USA so ofcourse they will have tons of Internet traffic. Verizon will have less because Verizon isn't as big as AT&#38;T. So All I'm saying is just don't use AT&#38;T because they sound like they're saying their own network will maxout.... AT&#38;T isn't "The Internet" alone there's plenty of other providers with long haul Internet connections and besides all you have to do is run parallel fiber optic lines to incrase capacity or use the same-- strand of fiber optics and use different equipment that see their own colour.

E.g. You can take a single piece of fiberoptics and have high speed switching equipment that can only see it's pre-determined color of laser..

E.g. Take a length of fiber optics between say between New York City and Boston:

Then put switching equipment that can only see *blue* laser light on either end. Splice the ends of that same fiber line then- right next to it have switching equipment that can only see *red* laser light... To the human eye it would like like purple coming out by the the twin switching equipment on either end as long as you make it colour blind towards all the other lasers passing through it will only see it's own traffic. You can multiply the instances of a single piece of fibre this way...
Posted by JCPayne (820 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wavelength-division multiplexing
Already being done.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DWDM" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DWDM</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://360oregon.com" target="_newWindow">http://360oregon.com</a>
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Link Flag
What? The first $300 Billion wasn't enough?
Geez, and they didn't even spend all that tax incentive money from the '96 telecom reform bill on the NETWORK (the promise was that everyone in the US would have broadband by 2006, IIRC), they just took the dough and put it against their bottom line, screwing the US taxpayer yet again.


Even worse, they want more, so they can then turn the internet into just another version of Cable TV.

As far as I'm concerned AT&#38;T can sit on their thumbs and rotate.
Posted by bjnovack (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well, the internet SHOULD become like cable TV
But without the massive charges for shows. Personally, I watch almost NOTHING offline anymore, even new episodes of TV shows I watch online because I can sit down and watch them WHEN I WISH TO WATCH THEM, not at some arbitrary time.
Posted by Leria (585 comments )
Link Flag
I posted in my blog today a solution to this problem and it doesn't require more bandwidth or ugly net neutrality measures. Check out blogs dot riverbed dot com.
Posted by bobegilbert (1 comment )
Link Flag
He's Not An Idiot
so that makes him a liar.

"In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today."

Typical households??

So let's say in 3 years the typical household has FIOS 50/5. They all max their connection, so they are downloading 1Gb and uploading 100Mb. That's not even 1% of traffic today.

This clown is a VP and probably an officer of the corporation. I wish I was a lawyer so I could cheaply file a lawsuit.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Over logging
This problem is due to over logging on. I saw a depiction of what could happen on TV. Was it Mega Disasters? No, wait, it was South Park.

There's only so much Internet to go around and if we all keep using it, eventually we will run out. Man, Matt &#38; Trey are prophets!
Posted by zLensman (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NANOG has interesting discussion on this.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.merit.edu/mail.archives/nanog/msg07568.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.merit.edu/mail.archives/nanog/msg07568.html</a>
I would point out that the CA PUC (and others) gave SBC (now AT&#38;T) rate hikes and regulatory exemptions in the late 90s on the basis that they needed to invest in their infrastructure. Most reasonable assessments indicate that, instead of doing that, they used their advantage to run the DSL CLECs out of business, and then passed the cash onto shareholders as dividends. Now they're back to the trough.<br><br>
We already PAID them to upgrade their network, and they didn't, so I'm disinclined to give them more ratepayer $. Let their network fall apart, and businesses flee to competitors.
Posted by zwithapggb (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree 100% when people start fleeing to Satellite
because they screwed up they'll quickly find some cash to win back their business.
Posted by JCPayne (820 comments )
Link Flag
full capacity? you've got to be kidding
Jim Cicconi, what planet are you from? In the US last I checked Congress gave you the ability to rape us all with fees to pay for the infrastructure well over a decade ago.What happened? Did you spend it hookers?
Honestly,does AT&#38;T think the average consumer is a complete idiot? The only thing that's going to hit full capacity is contempt for corporations that think scare tactics will improve the bottom line.The fact is it's not likely that the backbone of the net is going to reach capacity at any time in the near future.Don't believe me? Do the math, clearly you haven't.The only thing that's going to reach full capacity is public contempt for corporations that promise something and never deliver.You already got your handout buddy, go look elsewhere.Aside from that if you even consider using this as an excuse against net neutrality you'll be shot down for exactly what this ploy is a sad attempt at cashing in yet again.We may be plebeians but we're not stupid.
Posted by ihateregistrationstheymak (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
AT & T:Internet to hit full capacity by 2010
I love seeing the statistics on how many people will be watching
videos online. As a TV producer, and firm believer of Broadband
TV, this is wonderful news. I too enjoy seeing what everyone
else is doing in video online. So many creative people whose
work in many cases would never be showcased without
Broadband. AT &#38; T is very smart to be investing so much money
in the future of this wonderful technology. Hearing that HD will
be used more is also
fantastic news; not only do producers want better quality, but so
do the viewers. I am currently working on 3 projects for
Broadband TV, and will begin to do more as soon as those are
From a producer's perspective, the sky is the limit in
productions and creativity.

JoAnna Levenglick
Posted by latvproducer (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No one invited AT&T
Sheesh, they make it sound like they alone "provide the internet" !
Well, No one asked AT&#38;T to "provide the internet". They did so of their own accord to make money. They started off with dial up service paid by the minute. Now they'd love to offer us DSL paid for by the byte.

If they don't like the profits margins now, then get the hell out.

Someone else will gladly fill their place.

Meantime, they have no business shaking the gloom and doom rattle at the world, saying that if they don't charge internet users alot more money, then the internet will be full up in 3 more years.

AT&#38;T, you already make more than enough money, and then you step on our U.S. Constitution and give a horrid government complete leeway to spy on it's own people.
You should not even be an American company.
Far as I'm concerned, you can get LOST.
Move to China and Rob them.
Posted by bruceslog (112 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's pretty obvious..
that this story is propaganda on the part of AT&#38;T in order to push their view. Can't blame them for that, that's business. So, do they want to do something about the monopoly they have created over telecommunications so that we can have true choice and not require gov't regulation? BTW, the best we have here is an oligopoly situation, and that can be worse than a monopoly, since there is usually less regulation, yet plenty of collusion.
Posted by gabeheim (121 comments )
Reply Link Flag
deal with it, at&t.

i'm sick of these welfare recipients getting our tax dollars.

Posted by tzantatzanta (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Kidding!!
It's like gas and diesel prices. Some well-paid "industry analyst"
comes on the major news networks to tell us that we'll be over four
dollars/ gallon before summer. Lo and behold, here we are. These
aren't visionaries, they only seem to be softening us up for
whatever comes down the pipe next.
Posted by cjwall67 (68 comments )
Link Flag
Liars all
The Interenet would not exist as the free form forum it is today without the governement protecting it from the profiteers for so long. The Internet was established by government and university works and grants, originating out of work by DARPA, how dare AT&#38;T try to take credit for it. Now that its been so privatized, they have gleened billions off of it, and not reinvested just like the comcast issue. Just what we nee, more corperations looking for a handout, only they are not poor by any strech of the imagination.
Posted by chash360 (394 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success...A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny.

The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net.
Posted by roscoepwavetrain (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
AT&#38;T has been trying to tamper with the internet for years! Trying to control what we view on the internet! They want to HOG the internet and control it, just like they late the Bush Admin in to listen to our phone conversations and receive all of our emails, they now want to continue with their spying crap and control what we can view. BAN AT &#38; T they SUCK!!!
Posted by ChimiCelena (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
there network has no problem handling this type of traffic.
Posted by Monkeyboy009 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Typically utilization of bandwidth and usage is directly proportional to the no.,quality &#38; results of QUERIES that a user inputs from the moment he logs on. These queries can be as simple as searching, or as intense as uploading. At the end of it, its all about minimizing the no. of queries.

We are trying to research the potential ways of minimizing these queries by pre-defining most searched "keywords" &#38; "categories".

By not entering any search query, or typing for searches you would be skipping multiple steps and help in saving energy and bandwidth.

If we all try and add to this pre-defined list of searches, we can help save far more energy, bandwidth and money.

Help us all move towards the green technology.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.lazii.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.lazii.com</a>
(currently in beta stage)
Posted by ankurdewani (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Innovation is part of producing new product design. The technology is improving. Therefore, inventing and producing new output is part of the organizational marketing plan. The latest contributors to the national layoff numbers has been Adobe who has cut 600 jobs, AT&#38;T which is cutting 12,000 jobs, Viacom who laid off 850 and NBCU which is letting 500 people go. These are scary measures, for scary times and unfortunately a necessary evil for companies to stay afloat in today's upside-down economy. Consumers, who are paying the most, have been feeling the effects of our economy's fallout since the Federal Reserve stepped in and bailed out many of the nation's banks via American consumer Taxpayer dollars. This was the first big hit the American Taxpayers had to take. Now, that the banks have been extended a hand of Federal mercy, they now begin to clamp down on personal and business financing which has only made it harder for both everyday consumers and business owners who, if not allowed to spend, or operate cannot stimulate the economy. Banks have tightened their belts to cut back on the mortgage defaults which were and still continues to be one of their greatest problems to overcome. Unfortunately for the consumer, the banking industries consistent endeavors to raise banking fees tax the American economy even more. Overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, ATM fees and other miscellaneous fees are among those that have been increased. It has been perceived that the banks are raising their rates to compensate for their losses in revenue due to mortgage defaults. If there is anything good that has come out of the economy, it would be the fact that America's consumer base, which has been so prone to overspending and borrowing more than they can afford, have now woken up to the reality and constraints of personal debt. Click to read more on &lt;a title="Avoiding Excessive Overdraft fees with payday loans" rev="vote-for" href="http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2008/12/03/avoiding-excessive-overdraft-fees-with-payday-loans/"&gt;payday loans&lt;/a&gt;.
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