The End of the Internet?

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Okay, so we made it past the doomsday of Y2K…but now, another technological apocalypse is on the way. At least, if you believe AT&T.

A company exec has started quite the buzz by predicting we’ll reach the end of the internet by the year 2010. CNET News reported the warnings from AT&T’s vice president of legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi, made during a London-based eForum this week.

“We are going to be butting up against the physical capacity of the internet,” CNET reports Cicconi claiming.

The exec’s reported comments go on to say the ever-increasing amounts of high bandwidth content, such as videos and other multimedia streams, will reach a point that’s higher than the current internet infrastructure can handle. And his statements get even more extreme, going as far as claiming that within three years, “20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire internet today.”

Of course, Cicconi goes on to mention how AT&T is spending billions of dollars to upgrade its systems to stay ahead of the curve.

So is this a real threat, or is it just another Y2K-esque conspiracy theory? Let’s weigh it against other 2010 predictions floating around the net right now:

  • Religious author Roderick C. Meredith says the world could end altogether in under two years. Better back up your data.
  • Others interpret biblical texts to believe a worldwide holocaust will come that same year.
  • In a slightly less deadly prediction, business expert Dave Chase foresees Google as becoming the world’s biggest ad agency by 2010.
  • Back in the late 80s, Apple put out a promo showing the computer of the year 2010. The video is worth a watch.
  • Audience-measuring giant Nielsen sees valet parking and metal detectors at grocery stores by 2010.
  • And, slightly later, the geek classic Back to the Future 2 had a grand vision for the year 2015. I, for one, am still hoping it happens.

Do you buy the “end of the internet” theory, or any of the other predictions above? Or maybe you have some insight of your own? The floor is open for discussion. And if your premonition includes the hoverboard, for the love of God, let me know where it’ll be sold.

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50 Responses to The End of the Internet?

  1. Well we may not have to worry about high bandwidth issues as at the moment the internet is already under threat of major limiting due to Virgin Media.

    Virgin Media plans to limit what website have current speeds (those that pay virgin) and all others would be put into a slow lane with speeds probably not much better than an old dial up connection.

    I have more info on my site a http://www.phoenixfox.info/petition about this and I think that this should be internet users current concerns not space limits as these wont matter if thousands of site disappear due to users not visiting them due to the load times that will massively increase world wide. Because if Virgin do this others are likely to follow suit

  2. Well we may not have to worry about high bandwidth issues as at the moment the internet is already under threat of major limiting due to Virgin Media.

    Virgin Media plans to limit what website have current speeds (those that pay virgin) and all others would be put into a slow lane with speeds probably not much better than an old dial up connection.

    I have more info on my site a http://www.phoenixfox.info/petition about this and I think that this should be internet users current concerns not space limits as these wont matter if thousands of site disappear due to users not visiting them due to the load times that will massively increase world wide. Because if Virgin do this others are likely to follow suit

  3. It's not even a matter of bandwidth. The more pertinent problem is that routing tables are too big, too full. If we don't get it over with and transition to IPv6 ASAP, the inability to route all of the traffic will kill the internet first.

    I spent yesterday evening being taught about IPv6 by a friend who has spent the last 5 years researching it. It's exceedingly cool. He was showing me how Bonjour works. He also explained how routing in IPv6 works. The first 64bits determine the routing context. The other 64 are the specific computer. The packet headers are fixed size. This means routers just look at the first 64 bits and know if it's theirs or not. If it's not, pass it on. If it is, check the last 64. IPv4's headers are variably-sized, so checking a specific number of bits is impossible. Instead it has to traverse the packet headers until it finds the end-of-IP marker.

    Multicasting is also very cool and a nice for this bandwidth thing. You can do 1 multicast stream of a video. The video's bandwidth is only used once by you while thousands (or millions) of people watch. The routers all pass the traffic around and distribute it, so the source of the multicast stream isn't even traceable.

  4. It’s not even a matter of bandwidth. The more pertinent problem is that routing tables are too big, too full. If we don’t get it over with and transition to IPv6 ASAP, the inability to route all of the traffic will kill the internet first.

    I spent yesterday evening being taught about IPv6 by a friend who has spent the last 5 years researching it. It’s exceedingly cool. He was showing me how Bonjour works. He also explained how routing in IPv6 works. The first 64bits determine the routing context. The other 64 are the specific computer. The packet headers are fixed size. This means routers just look at the first 64 bits and know if it’s theirs or not. If it’s not, pass it on. If it is, check the last 64. IPv4’s headers are variably-sized, so checking a specific number of bits is impossible. Instead it has to traverse the packet headers until it finds the end-of-IP marker.

    Multicasting is also very cool and a nice for this bandwidth thing. You can do 1 multicast stream of a video. The video’s bandwidth is only used once by you while thousands (or millions) of people watch. The routers all pass the traffic around and distribute it, so the source of the multicast stream isn’t even traceable.

  5. It always has to be the "end of" something, doesnt it? People are already working on ways to fix this. But i guess some people dont want to be part of the solution, they just want to complain about the problem.

  6. It always has to be the “end of” something, doesnt it? People are already working on ways to fix this. But i guess some people dont want to be part of the solution, they just want to complain about the problem.

  7. Oh wow how dare you use conspiracy theory in this article"So is this a real threat, or is it just another Y2K-esque conspiracy theory?" who is conspiring here ? i hate it when people say conspiracy theory without meaning the definition ……9/11 was an inside job and until you do research and not just go to some anti conspiracy debunking site for 1 minute and think they are right research the facts

  8. Oh wow how dare you use conspiracy theory in this article”So is this a real threat, or is it just another Y2K-esque conspiracy theory?” who is conspiring here ? i hate it when people say conspiracy theory without meaning the definition ……9/11 was an inside job and until you do research and not just go to some anti conspiracy debunking site for 1 minute and think they are right research the facts

  9. ever-increasing amounts of high bandwidth content, such as videos and other multimedia streams, will reach a point that’s higher than the current internet infrastructure can handle.

    Of course it will, just like today's bandwidth requirements wouldn't be met by the internet infrastructure of two years ago.

  10. ever-increasing amounts of high bandwidth content, such as videos and other multimedia streams, will reach a point that’s higher than the current internet infrastructure can handle.

    Of course it will, just like today’s bandwidth requirements wouldn’t be met by the internet infrastructure of two years ago.

  11. Valet parking and metal detectors at grocery stores? Woo-hoo!!!

    Oh wait, you were kidding, weren't you? Damn!

  12. Valet parking and metal detectors at grocery stores? Woo-hoo!!!

    Oh wait, you were kidding, weren’t you? Damn!

  13. The websites started hosting videos when broadband became ubiquitous. So its the availability of infrastructure that dictates how internet progresses. It doesn't mean that internet is going to die just because we run out of bandwidth. We will have some innovative technologies that do immense caching that eliminate the need of direct connection to the web server.

  14. The websites started hosting videos when broadband became ubiquitous. So its the availability of infrastructure that dictates how internet progresses. It doesn’t mean that internet is going to die just because we run out of bandwidth. We will have some innovative technologies that do immense caching that eliminate the need of direct connection to the web server.

  15. I completely agree with Kishore.

    How could you say that "a thing that is the basis of the future" will come to an END??

    Does Anyone think that a single problem of BandWidth, will bring an END to the Great Internet, which is evolved from many years of development.

    Problems/threats like these have aroused in the past also. But, all of them were solved and you know what is Internet right now.

    Anyway, I can't digest that "Internet is nearing it's END". Never. It could happen NEVER.

    As long as there are people like you & me in the Earth, there is Internet, there WILL BE internet.

  16. I completely agree with Kishore.
    How could you say that “a thing that is the basis of the future” will come to an END??

    Does Anyone think that a single problem of BandWidth, will bring an END to the Great Internet, which is evolved from many years of development.

    Problems/threats like these have aroused in the past also. But, all of them were solved and you know what is Internet right now.

    Anyway, I can’t digest that “Internet is nearing it’s END”. Never. It could happen NEVER.

    As long as there are people like you & me in the Earth, there is Internet, there WILL BE internet.

  17. well… I guess it's time for me to put my tin-foil hat back on and get into the bomb shelter again.

    As for Back to the Future… Doc Brown was a smart man. What better way to cut our dependence on foreign oil than strapping a Mr. Fusion to the back of your car?

  18. well… I guess it’s time for me to put my tin-foil hat back on and get into the bomb shelter again.

    As for Back to the Future… Doc Brown was a smart man. What better way to cut our dependence on foreign oil than strapping a Mr. Fusion to the back of your car?

  19. A very ambigous article. So when the next doom day 'bible predictions" dont happen it should make these

    so called prophets look like morons. However, Jesus Himself said 'no man knows the day or the hour of the end' so giving a time frame is an anti-thesis.

    What data 20 households running that require all of todays bandwith is not known but highly unlikely.

  20. A very ambigous article. So when the next doom day ‘bible predictions” dont happen it should make these
    so called prophets look like morons. However, Jesus Himself said ‘no man knows the day or the hour of the end’ so giving a time frame is an anti-thesis.

    What data 20 households running that require all of todays bandwith is not known but highly unlikely.

  21. I am not too sure about this "theory" but then again, I don't know much of the facts either. I agree with some of the people here who said that the internet took years to develop and people will do anything to keep it alive.

    If the internet does actually come to an end, it is going to be the biggest economic catastrophe in history and lots of people and businesses are going to die with it. I can't even imagine how the world is going to be without the internet and I am sure that the whole world is going to unite and get this problem fixed in any way possible.

    It is simple, the internet today = life. And without it, we die.

  22. I am not too sure about this “theory” but then again, I don’t know much of the facts either. I agree with some of the people here who said that the internet took years to develop and people will do anything to keep it alive.

    If the internet does actually come to an end, it is going to be the biggest economic catastrophe in history and lots of people and businesses are going to die with it. I can’t even imagine how the world is going to be without the internet and I am sure that the whole world is going to unite and get this problem fixed in any way possible.

    It is simple, the internet today = life. And without it, we die.

  23. Has everyone forgot about internet over the existing power grid? How much bandwidth do you want? … and the lightbulbs would never even hear a single word!

    • BPL is not the answer. It creates too much interference to those of us using other radio services. Interference to Ham Radio is just one example. And before you say hams have no value, just remember, hams can get a radio signal out of places where phone service and other communications might be disrupted say because of a tornado or hurricane.

  24. Has everyone forgot about internet over the existing power grid? How much bandwidth do you want? … and the lightbulbs would never even hear a single word!

    • BPL is not the answer. It creates too much interference to those of us using other radio services. Interference to Ham Radio is just one example. And before you say hams have no value, just remember, hams can get a radio signal out of places where phone service and other communications might be disrupted say because of a tornado or hurricane.

  25. Sorry, but damn what a horrible post. Did you actually think about what you are saying? Why the hell are you comparing possible technical problems (which are ALREADY SOLVED years ago, but just not implemented yet) with conspiracy theories?

    Starting panic here about a technical problem won't solve anything, let the engineers do the solving.

    • Laurens, you are a dumb ass.

      Did YOU actually think about what you are saying?

      He is just describing exisiting theories, and the reasons behind them, he is not saying he believes them all.

      How about reading a little closer next time?

  26. Sorry, but damn what a horrible post. Did you actually think about what you are saying? Why the hell are you comparing possible technical problems (which are ALREADY SOLVED years ago, but just not implemented yet) with conspiracy theories?

    Starting panic here about a technical problem won’t solve anything, let the engineers do the solving.

    • Laurens, you are a dumb ass.
      Did YOU actually think about what you are saying?
      He is just describing exisiting theories, and the reasons behind them, he is not saying he believes them all.
      How about reading a little closer next time?

  27. Maybe when 90% of the dark fiber is lit at the highest link speeds possible for the fiber type we can predict that the end of the internet is close.

    The fact is that there's tremendous physical capacity that's not in use, and it's kept that way by price fixing. It's not in any of the telco's interest for there to be a collapse in the bandwidth prices when they can incrementally increase them and milk out the consumer surplus along each step.

  28. Maybe when 90% of the dark fiber is lit at the highest link speeds possible for the fiber type we can predict that the end of the internet is close.

    The fact is that there’s tremendous physical capacity that’s not in use, and it’s kept that way by price fixing. It’s not in any of the telco’s interest for there to be a collapse in the bandwidth prices when they can incrementally increase them and milk out the consumer surplus along each step.

  29. Erek is absolutely correct. There is a massive glut of dark fiber already in place not being used. The scarcity of bandwidth is nothing but an artificial scarcity made possible by the lack of regulation. The Bush FCC is an obscenity in and of itself.

    The end of the internet? Well, perhaps for Americans, but the rest of the world the net is going nowhere but up, up and away and wide open.

  30. Erek is absolutely correct. There is a massive glut of dark fiber already in place not being used. The scarcity of bandwidth is nothing but an artificial scarcity made possible by the lack of regulation. The Bush FCC is an obscenity in and of itself.

    The end of the internet? Well, perhaps for Americans, but the rest of the world the net is going nowhere but up, up and away and wide open.

  31. You've gotta be kidding me… geeksaresexy.net is now propagating these Net-Neutrality-is-bad fear mongering memes? Maybe if AT&T would have done something with the BILLIONS that Gore's bill (and the other two related bills) gave them throughout the 90s, and got our node connections up to 1/2 the speed of (let alone commenting on the 1/5 and 1/6 the speed of) Japan or Korea's node connections, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

    The U.S. is where the internet was born… our node connections are ranked, what, 15th? Thanks Comcast and AT&T, for taking our tax dollars and doing as little as possible with them, pocketing (and politically donating) as much as you could get away with.

    No sane U.S. internet user should support anything but a "neutral net."

    • Hi Jeremy,

      We're not "propagating" anything, read the article carefully :) The goal of posting this was to engage discussion, and I must say it worked quite well by the number of comments the post received!

  32. You’ve gotta be kidding me… geeksaresexy.net is now propagating these Net-Neutrality-is-bad fear mongering memes? Maybe if AT&T would have done something with the BILLIONS that Gore’s bill (and the other two related bills) gave them throughout the 90s, and got our node connections up to 1/2 the speed of (let alone commenting on the 1/5 and 1/6 the speed of) Japan or Korea’s node connections, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

    The U.S. is where the internet was born… our node connections are ranked, what, 15th? Thanks Comcast and AT&T, for taking our tax dollars and doing as little as possible with them, pocketing (and politically donating) as much as you could get away with.

    No sane U.S. internet user should support anything but a “neutral net.”

    • Hi Jeremy,

      We’re not “propagating” anything, read the article carefully :) The goal of posting this was to engage discussion, and I must say it worked quite well by the number of comments the post received!

  33. Not so sure the world is ending in 2010, but if the current petroleum supply & demand curves continue as-is, I'm predicting the global economy will collapse within the next five years. Not exactly the "end of the world" but end of life as we know it.

  34. Not so sure the world is ending in 2010, but if the current petroleum supply & demand curves continue as-is, I’m predicting the global economy will collapse within the next five years. Not exactly the “end of the world” but end of life as we know it.

  35. Doesn't matter anyhow, John Connor will form the resistance for us to survive in our hardship.

    The internet doesn't end it just rejects us.

    According to the Mayan calender the world ends in 2012 anyhow as we know it.

    I think nostradamus predictions are close to the same year.

    LOL well enough of that crap — So we go back to reading books and going outside to play is that such a bad thing?

    Who doesn't love breathing in fresh air during the fall filled with cotton defoliant (an organophosphate) and other great things.

    And besides that Fall went on vacation last year and we went straight from summer to winter.

    Besides we can always go back to hunting for food and people will die and the world population goes down and then we can start over. NO Biggie. just the people who have no life survival skills will die off because they never learned anything except what they found on the internet and we've all seen whats on youtube. so enjoy life.

    NO this post wasn't suppose to make any sense really at all, just for folks to take a break.

  36. Doesn’t matter anyhow, John Connor will form the resistance for us to survive in our hardship.
    The internet doesn’t end it just rejects us.
    According to the Mayan calender the world ends in 2012 anyhow as we know it.
    I think nostradamus predictions are close to the same year.

    LOL well enough of that crap — So we go back to reading books and going outside to play is that such a bad thing?
    Who doesn’t love breathing in fresh air during the fall filled with cotton defoliant (an organophosphate) and other great things.

    And besides that Fall went on vacation last year and we went straight from summer to winter.

    Besides we can always go back to hunting for food and people will die and the world population goes down and then we can start over. NO Biggie. just the people who have no life survival skills will die off because they never learned anything except what they found on the internet and we’ve all seen whats on youtube. so enjoy life.

    NO this post wasn’t suppose to make any sense really at all, just for folks to take a break.