AP Article: How Internet Video Is Clogging the Pipes

I can’t figure out why we still have to read an article every few months talking about how online video is clogging the Internet. Last week the AP published an article titled "How Internet Video Is Clogging the Pipes". It’s basis for the argument is that ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are shaping traffic due to file sharing. Ok, but what does that have to do with online video? Sharing files that may or may not contain video content is not "online video". Sharing a file via a download from one user to another does not involve the playback of any video online, it’s played back locally from the users computer.

Yet, after saying that file sharing is the problem, the article then says that "Internet use keeps climbing, with video being the big driver in recent years. Google Inc.’s YouTube, which started up in 2005, already accounts for about 10 percent of Internet traffic." First, is there anyone out there besides the company who produced that report that believes that YouTube accounts for 10% of all traffic passed on the Internet? And second, how can you compare file sharing to YouTube? They are two different types of traffic. File sharing is usually very large files and most times at very high quality. YouTube is short form content at very low quality.

My point is that we keep having to read articles every few months about how online video is supposedly breaking, clogging, or filling the pipes to the point that the Internet is going to come to a halt. There is no data anywhere to back this up. Yes, video traffic has grown and continues to each year, but it has been doing that for the past 10+ years. Online video is not clogging the Internet and I have yet to see anyone with any real data to back up the theory that online video is going to fill up all of the capacity the Internet has to offer.

  • http://changelog.ca/ Charles Iliya Krempeaux

    “can’t figure out why we still have to read an article every few months talking about how online video is clogging the Internet.”
    (The logical fallacies of) proof by assertion and argumentum ad nauseam maybe?!
    Basically… they just keep on repeating it over and over again… and eventually people who were arguing against it get tired of arguing… and then people will tend to believe it because they don’t hear anyone arguing against it.
    – Charles Iliya Krempeaux
    http://changelog.ca/

  • http://profile.typekey.com/grinsandfun/ grinsandfun

    They will keep arguing the point because they are afraid of what the Internet will bring if they are not successful in impeding it’s process – which is an alternative to Cable TV (IPTV).
    And there is not a bottle neck at the metro – I just read an article last week that was discussing DWDM to the house – which would definitely break any capacity issues for the metro. On the long haul aspect – there is enough fiber in the ground to last our lifetime (and then add DWDM into it’s core and you have an almost infinite amount of extra capacity).

  • Rob

    Senator Ted Stevens said, a few months ago, that he had a message delivered by the internet pipes so it sounds like it was working for him. Confusing.

  • Andy

    Plus…the whole point of CDNs is to distribute content globally. That means dramatically less traffic over long-haul backbone routes, which in turn means greater scalability. That is a point that these “Chicken Little” writers don’t seem to get.

  • http://www.flashcomguru.com Stefan Richter

    I think there is a problem here, but it’s not that pipes are getting clogged. Instead it’s ISPs who are getting nervous as it’s them who need to foot the bill – or shall we say it’s them who aren’t getting paid for our increased hunger in bandwidth. I think this article details it better than the one linked above:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/20/iplayer_isps_broke/
    From there you should also follow the link to Plusnet’s blog (major UK ISP):
    http://community.plus.net/blog/2008/02/08/iplayer-usage-effect-a-bandwidth-explosion/

  • http://profile.typekey.com/Charssun/ Harold J. Johnson

    Charles Iliya Krempeaux: Is that what’s happening with Desktop Linux versus Windows, Charles? Windows advocates keep pushing certain fallacies until Linux devotees finally tire of wasting their breath? ;)
    We need to figure who specifically is publishing this nonsense — you know, the writer(s) and editor(s) — and then request they better their research methods. If they don’t, then we should have a way to filter out any of their future AP articles…

  • Ed Kroeplin

    10% of the internet and growing fast! Video is a great place to be for us all. The pipes would not be so clogged with better technology which makes videos ten times smaller that look like the original. People are sending huge video files around because of the lack of high quality video compression.
    The full-screen 1080p (1080 x 642) video in the main page at http://www.designavs.com is the nicest looking and most highly compressed I’ve ever seen online (without having to download to my hard drive to play or change anything). Didn’t believe so confirmed their small file size claims by looking at my temorary files.
    These guys have something good and support all video file formats on all platforms Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. They also support mobile distribution in formats like H.264. Shaun Maki there has been able to answer my questions and is very responsive.
    Many desire a HD social network that works directly on the computers of today in without additions/changes. To share full screen good looking HD video in 1080p (1280 x 720) like the original when compressed. There is currently no place to share HD online.
    Possibly Limelight could provide a solution for us all and make money. From what I’ve seen Akamai powered sights leave room for improvement.”
    ~ Ed