YouTube Could Take Down Your Internet

Surging demand for video may cause Web 'brownouts': experts
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2009 2:46 PM CDT
Computers will freeze and drop offline with increasing regularity as the web's outdated infrastructure struggles to cope with the surging popularity of bandwidth-hungry video sites.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Watching those Susan Boyle and laughing baby clips on YouTube may soon come with a price: slower, shaky Internet connections, the Telegraph reports. Experts warn of a “brownout,” caused by outdated web systems unable to keep pace with surging online use of video sites, that will paralyze computers, threaten the economy, and leave the Internet an “unreliable toy.”

YouTube’s monthly bandwidth now equals the amount consumed across the entire Internet for all of 2000. “Today people know how home computers slow down when the kids get back from school and start playing games, but by 2012 that traffic jam could last all day long,” said one expert. Still, a plan to charge websites for faster service remains controversial.