Web facing meltdown

It was all doom and gloom when a top AT&T exec addressed a web forum in London.

Jim Cicconi, AT&T's VP of legislative affairs, declared to the Westminster eForum on Web 2.0 that if drastic measures are not taken soon, the web is going to break.

"The surge in online content is at the centre of the most dramatic changes affecting the internet today", he said. "In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire internet today."

And Cicconi pointed at HD video as the catalyst.

"Eight hours of video is loaded onto YouTube every minute", Cicconi told the crowd.

"Everything will become HD very soon, and HD is 7 to 10 times more bandwidth-hungry than typical video today. Video will be 80% of all traffic by 2010, up from 30% today."

Bloggers are already dismissing his claims, but Cicconi insists that investment is needed to prevent "internet armageddon".

Cicconi said that at least $55 billion worth of investment was needed in new infrastructure in the next 3 years in the US alone, and it will cost a staggering $130 billion to improve the network worldwide.

He concluded: "We are going to be butting up against the physical capacity of the internet by 2010".

Meanwhile, in the UK, ISPs and the Beeb continue to wrangle over the extra costs that internet providers insist they are fronting because of iPlayer traffic.

ISPs are suggesting an "iPlayer tax" while the BBC is threatening to blacklist any provider that tries to control traffic from the service to their subscribers.