Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Will Video kill the Internet?

If I tell you video is big, you’re going to be like ‘No shit, Sherlock?’, right?

Yeh, but the problem is video is getting TOO big. Let me give you an example, I’m on a 25Gb cap with my ISP.

For the benefit of my US readers, in Australia all of our Internet plans are capped. You choose your speed and your download limit and you pay accordingly. It’s been a constant source of frustration for Australians who look enviously at US customers on ‘all you can eat deals’. Australian ISPs aren’t really in a position to offer uncapped plans because in the end we have international carriage fees that all ISPs must pay for.

It wasn’t long ago that I was on a 3Gb plan. I would very ocasionally going over my download limits, but most months 3Gb was pretty good. I don’t torrent. When I moved to the 25Gb plan I’m on, I remember saying to my wife tha we didn’t have to worry about our Internet useage anymore, because 25Gb was effectively unlimited Internet anyway.

This month, I’ve cracked my cap just over half way through the month.

Why? Well, my five year old son is mostly to blame. He loves You Tube. On Sunday, he spent a decent portion of the day watching cartoons on YouTube. And in the process he sucked up 3Gb of bandwidth. In one day, he used as much bandwidth as what used to be my comfortable monthly cap three or four years ago.

So I got capped. So you know what I did tonight. With my family away, I stayed back at the office so I could watch a replay of the Parramatta Eels football match I didn’t get to watch on TV last weekend. (OK, OK, I’m busted. I watch a lot of video myself – mostly news and sport. And on top of the video I download a fair number of podcasts and such forth to my iPhone these days).

So today, I moved up to a 60Gb plan. 60GB! Surely, I’ll never get near that. Well, I don’t think it will take long.  I have 3 boys. I can’t imagine what kind of bandwidth I’d be knocking up if say my youngest was five! And this is really at a time when video is still at a relatively immature stage. The football match I watched tonight was grainy and only just passable to watch in full screen mode.

So maybe I take back what I was saying last week about Australia’s National Broadband Network. We need a lot more bandwidth. Still, a lot of the points I made in that article stand, particularly for non-US countries. International carriage will always be a bottleneck. Someone is always going to have to pay for those big submarine cable. But you get the feeling judging by the move by US ISPs wanting to introduce caps that for once, bandwidth advances have not kept pace with content production. We have all of the technology, we even have the necessary speeds but it seems those great big major Internet arteries are finally getting clogged.

It would seem likely we’re approaching a point where every household will be demanding not just tens of gigabytes but hundreds. Will today’s internet infrastructure and business models stand up? It’s not looking good. And if that is the case, are there the technological advances just waiting around the corner to come to our rescue. Let’s hope so, because you get the feeling that this Internet thingy is just getting cooking.

Filed under: AJAX Challenge

One Response

  1. Businesses thinking the economies of Internet delivery today will still apply tomorrow .. may have to rethink! Video will stress the web enormously .. we’ll get there but it will take time.

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