Internet By 2 To 1

Podcasting news offers us an article with some amazing statistics about Internet usage:

  • The Internet is the medium on which online users spend the most time (32.7 hours/week). This is equivalent to almost half of the total time spent each week using all media (70.6 hours).
  • People spend twice as much time on the Internet as they spend watching television (16.4 hours).
  • People spend eight times as much time on the Internet as they spentd (sic) reading newspapers and magazines (3.9 hours).

Clearly there is convergence occurring between television and the Internet to the point where they will be fully integrated.  Still, I’m surprised that today there is a 2 to 1 difference between them.

The Slower Web

Here is an interesting prediction for 2008 from The Economist (my editing):

PEERING into Tech.view’s crystal ball, the one thing we can predict with at least some certainty is that 2008 will be the year we stop taking access to the internet for granted. The internet is not about to grind to a halt, but as more and more users clamber aboard to download music, video clips and games while communicating incessantly by e-mail, chat and instant messaging, the information superhighway sometimes crawls with bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The biggest road-hog remains spam (unsolicited e-mail), which accounts for 90% of traffic on the internet. Phone companies and other large ISPs (internet service providers) have tolerated it for years because it would cost too much to fix. Besides, eliminating spam would only benefit their customers, not themselves.

How so? Because the big fat pipes used by ISPs operate symmetrically, with equal bandwidth for upstream and downstream traffic. But end-users have traditionally downloaded megabytes of information from the web, while uploading only kilobytes of key strokes and mouse clicks. So, when spammers dump billions of pieces of e-mail onto the internet, it travels over the phone companies’ relatively empty upstream segments.

Meanwhile, users are changing the way they use the internet: they are now uploading, as well as downloading, gigabytes galore—thanks to the popularity of social networks like Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

While major internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all plan to upgrade their backbones, it will be a year or two before improvements begin to show. By then, internet television will be in full bloom, spammers will have multiplied ten-fold, WiFi will be embedded in every moving object, and users will be screaming for yet more capacity.

(h/t Online Media Daily)

I certainly hope this prediction does not come true, but the entire article makes a compelling argument.