ISP Bandwidth Shortage May Lead to Video Restrictions

Reports from the UK show that some ISPs are engaging in "packet shaping" to restrict the use of peer-to-peer video services, even if they're legal. Given the net neutrality debate in the US, we might very well see such things coming to our shores soon, especially since telcos and cablecos can't keep up the connection speeds. Compared to other nations, the US is in the slow lane when it comes to broadband. While the Japanese enjoy an average rate of 61Mbps and our Canadian neighbors zoom along at 7.6Mbps, Americans have an average speed of anywhere from 1.9Mbps to 4.8Mbps depending on who you ask. It's enough to have Congress ask the GAO to get on the task of figuring out where we've gone wrong.

While some will openly question projects like Verizon's FIOS as more bandwidth that we could ever need, it's worth noting that 20 homes in 2010 will transmit more data than the entire Internet did in 1995. With all of the bandwidth crunches and the stopgap measures like U-Verse (which can manage a measly 24Mbps), fiber is truly the only option left to make ourselves competitive again.

(See full articles here, here, here, here, and here.)

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