Where is all the bandwidth going?

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 01/23/2019 - 11:17

Our use of bandwidth has been doubling every two years since the commercial use of the Internet started in 1993. Depending on whose statistics you believe, it may be doubling every eighteen months. It can't keep doing that forever, but these days, the 25 Meg down/3 Meg up defined by the FCC as "broadband" is setting the bar quite low.

One of the problems is video advertising. Visit almost any Web site in the Internet that carries ads, and you are bombarded with self-playing video. Some of the video ads are embedded on the page, and you have to find some tiny little 'x' to stop them. But the worst are the pop-up videos that follow you from page to page on a site. If you read a three page news article, you might see six or more video ads.

If you don't keep clicking away to get rid of them, you might read a few kilobytes of actual content, while the video ads consume megabytes of data--orders of magnitude more data than the actual content you came to the site to see.

It's a mess, and more so in rural areas of the country where broadband service is very slow. And it is why wireless broadband, while critically important in the short term (the next five to seven years), fiber is the only thing that can tame the bandwidth monster.

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