"Video-hungry users could push Net to brink"

Reuters on Friday reported that Nortel Networks is projecting that soaring demand for games, video and music will stretch the Internet to its limits. In an interview, a company spokesperson said that they expect service providers will need to make big investments in networking technology such as its own routers to avoid a crunch.

According to Nortel, massive overbuild of Internet bandwidth capacity helped lead to the dot com led industry meltdown six years ago. The capacity bubble helped service providers cope with the surge in demand for bandwidth that came with the advent of online so-called Web 2.0 file sharing sites like myspace, bebo and YouTube.com.

The traditional broadcast model wherby a television or radio programme is transmitted to all viewers at the same time was an efficient way of using the available spectrum. IPTV and video on demand opens up the possibility of broadcasting to an audience of one.

Without the significant investment programmes to upgrade network capacity and bandwidth made by fixed line carriers over the last five years, the second wave Internet businesses built around user generated content would not have been possible.

THe challenge for the netowrk operators is increasingly how they too can benefit from increased network traffic. Other than charging for consumer broadband access most of the increased network traffic is being generated by Internet busineeese with no connection to the network operators. Most Internet users now freely switch between their favourite web sites and use a search engine to navigate new web pages without referring to a portal previously the landing page for dial-up users.

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