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Why is an AT&T lawyer peddling scare stories about the Internet running out of capacity by 2010? To frighten lawmakers. Jim Cicconi, AT&T's vice president of legislative affairs, surely doesn't believe that "in three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today," as he told Westminster eForum attendees in London. It's just a line that sounds good.

AT&T can save the Internet from certain doom, if it's just left alone to build new fiber-optic lines for its exclusive use. If AT&T doesn't get its way in making sure laws aren't passed that mandate "network neutrality" and limit AT&T's control over Internet traffic on its network, it will pick up its cables and go home, Cicconi is more or less implying. Why don't we hear Google's top lawyer, David Drummond, going around threatening to take away our Web searches if he doesn't get his way in Washington? Because Drummond's not as good as his job.