Comcast's announcement of a bandwidth cap for home users beginning in October has raised a recurring fear: Is the Internet being overloaded? It's not a new worry. Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe forecasted a meltdown in 1995. But our growing adoption of BitTorrent downloads and YouTube-like streaming clips must be straining the pipes, right?No. Metcalfe literally ate his words two years after his prediction. In the decade since, Internet infrastructure upgrades continue to outpace growth. So even though worldwide traffic grew by half last year, peak utilization is now less than 50 percent of available capacity. Don't believe out-of-date claims about "last mile" bottlenecks, either. Home broadband users have been built out to more traffic than they're using. Comcast's caps are about per-customer profitability, not system overload. If anything, you should feel encouraged to use the Net even more. Just make sure your ISP is willing to let you have at it. (Photo by zinkwazi)
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