A report by Nemertes Research claims demand for Internet bandwidth may exceed its capacity by 2012. Last year Nemertes predicted this would occur by 2010, but the current economic crisis is expected to slow the growth of the Internet so the problem will be delayed.
The study, which is a follow-up to similar research Nemertes conducted last year, projects that the current global economic recession will only delay rather than eliminate the increased demand for bandwidth the firm predicted last year. Then, Nemertes projected that traffic growth would eclipse supply by 2010, but the firm now says it has adjusted its projections to reflect deteriorating global economic conditions.
Nemertes emphasized it is not projecting that the Internet will crash or shut down altogether. Rather, the typical user probably will experience Internet "brownouts," where such high-bandwidth applications as high-definition video-streaming and peer-to-peer file-sharing will stop performing up to users' expectations, the firm says.
During a presentation at an Internet Innovation Alliance symposium this week, Nemertes analyst Mike Jude said that one consequence of declining Web performance would be that users would look less to the Internet to deliver their desired applications. "More and more applications are coming online that will drive expectations for service quality even higher," he said. "I'm not saying that the Internet is going to crash in 2011, but that people's expectations are going to be throttled. People will stop going to the Internet for those services."