The rate of virtual information we generate and share is growing exponentially. But the Internet “backbone” is finite and limited. The USA is ranked 16th in broadband infrastructure, and falling. The advent of video and other high-speed requirements are taxing the Internet like never before. In early 2005, YouTube didn’t exist. Today, over 100 million videos are downloaded every day.
The IIA advocacy group claims that “consumer and corporate Internet usage could outstrip worldwide network capacity in little more than two years,” generating what they call an exaflood of data. Maybe so, but something smells funny with the group – like they’re working a bit too closely with the backbone community. Anyway, they’ve produced an interesting video which I’ll attach, below.
Regardless of the IIA’s affiliations, the Internet must grow in both bandwidth and, more importantly, egalitarian transparency. Free markets will assure a continued growth in backbone connectivity – no need to sound the alarms. Demand, and the almighty dollar, will drive bandwidth.
What’s of greater concern is the increasing rate of governmental (or quasi-govt) intervention, like we see in Burma and China, restricting the free-flow of information and community. All freedoms, especially on-line religious freedoms, can be snuffed out by heavy-handed central rule. We saw this recently with Burmese Buddhists monks and reporters – a near-total Internet blackout.
And if the information / backbone carriers (ATT, Global Crossing, etc.) had their way, they, too, would curtail interfere with the free-flow of data, as we’ve learned in recent “Net Neutrality” debates. There will come a time, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, when ideological freedom will closely equate with a free global Internet.