So many streamers, so little bandwidth

A pair of reports from Cisco and ABI Research are fueling speculation that broadband video sites are going to choke off the Internet. Cisco, the Silicon Valley backbone player said peer-to-peer and video distribution could double 'Net traffic within a couple of years, according to coverage by Jim Duffy with IDG News Service. He reports that Cisco sees video and consumer traffic surpassing business traffic by next year, and driving a 5X increase in traffic between 2006 and 2011.

Mike Wolf, research director with ABI Research in Oyster Bay, N.Y., wrote about how Joost and BitTorrent are cozying up to consumer electronics makers to get their software into hardware. For Joost, he says, "They see the TV as the ultimate destination for their content, and they know that the only way to get there is through attaching themselves to different boxes that reside in the living room."

It may not be a cakewalk, he notes, because some broadband providers are "actively throttling the bandwidth allocated to these services. Limiting bandwidth could be crippling to a service such as Joost, and consumer electronics vendors may cringe at the thought of any promised services being hobbled."

The reports will no doubt stir the network neutrality pot again, giving ammunition to broadband providers who say they need to create speed tiers to manage Web traffic. A similar phenomenon is afoot in Europe, where providers are talking about charging the BBC for its online video-on-demand portal, the iPlayer. More on that below.

For More:
- Jim Duffy's coverage appears in ComputerWorld here
- Matt Chapman of Australia's iTnews provides a summary here