USC Prof: Internet Will Soon be Overwhelmed by Video

A University of California, San Diego professor has warned that a massive expansion of Internet capacity is required in the United States to keep the economy from slowing down and possibly stalling.

In the report, titled "Point of Disconnect," Prof. Michael Kleeman, a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Communication, said that compression technology should be used more frequently, especially for large video files, to reduce demands on the network.

As an example, Kleeman said the number of new videos uploaded daily to YouTube.com jumped from 20,000 at the beginning of 2006 to 65,000 daily at the beginning of this year. That kind of trend is the transportation equivalent of having every car owner rush out and trade "in their cars for massive 20-wheel trucks," according to the report.

Kleeman's report calls for a system of "triaging" Internet traffic to assign levels of priority to different kinds of content. One possibility would give voice call packets priority over e-mails because a phone call can't be interrupted by network delays, while an e-mail can arrive a few seconds later.

"Unless we ensure an adequate supply of quality bandwidth at reasonable prices, many current and future business models will be stranded, which will have serious implications for economic growth and national competitiveness in the Internet sector," Kleeman wrote.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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