a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Exaflood: Is it real or is it Oz?

Posted on the December 11th, 2007

When I came across a video on the website of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IAA) warning that at predicted growth rates, online user traffic soon is going to overwhelm capacity, I was fascinated. This approaching tsunami of user demand has been christened with its own name, the Exaflood. What exactly this is, and the user growth patterns of the Internet that are feeding its ominous arrival are presented by IAA in an informative and concise visual package.

Of course, the question that then came to mind was whether there is more than one side to this story.

Nosing around online, I soon found a recent article by New York Times technology reporter Steve Lohr that addressed this very issue (“Is the Exaflood Coming?”, New York Times, Nov 30, 2007).

So in this post, for anyone interested, I re-trace my beginning path in learning some basics about this dark spectre of the Exaflood. Is the threat real? Or is it mostly a scary PR tactic by those opposed to net neutrality (net neutrality = all users are created equal, in effect)?

I recommend that you first read Lohr’s brief analysis (link above). Then, watch the IAA video below. Then decide for yourself.

Whether you agree, disagree or reserve judgement, you’ll be more prepared, in any case, to understand this crucial discussion that is underway.

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