Rumours of the internet’s death have been greatly exaggerated

Internet - serious business.Hey, have you heard? The internet’s goose is pretty much cooked, as far as Nemertes Research are concerned, thanks to exponential traffic increases running up against linear infrastructure investment – and net neutrality legislation will be the nails in the coffin lid.

The thing is, there isn’t a whole lot of factual data to back up the assertion, which has been made (and debunked) numerous times since the rise of video streaming services like YouTube. Ars Technica has a good takedown:

What’s most odd about Johnson’s argument about network neutrality is that she admits that this is default network behavior right now. And while she frets about the huge growth of Internet traffic, the reality is that the growth rates have been much faster in the past (doubling every year or faster)—and the Internet abides! As for ISPs not having the money to invest in enough infrastructure to keep up with demand, well… just take a look at ISP balance sheets. Tremendous profits are being made now, even as cable operators roll out DOCSIS 3.0 tech and boost download speeds to 50Mbps or 100Mbps.

In the end, the song remains the same: of course the Internet has issues, but some kind of network-killing “exaflood” hasn’t materialized in two years and doesn’t look about to wreak devastation on the Internet in the near future. What we have instead is declining traffic growth rates in mature markets, and big boosts to access line capacity (for Verizon and the cable operators, at least), plenty of bandwidth in the core—all on a network that has generally been neutral for decades.

So there’s probably very little to worry about… except perhaps where Nemertes’ research funding originates from.