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Consumer demand for bandwidth could see the internet running out of capacity as early as 2010, a new study warns. US analyst firm Nemertes Research predicted a drastic slowdown as the network struggles to cope with the amount of data being carried on it.
Such gridlock wouldn drastically affect how people use the web and could mean the next Google or YouTube simply doesn't get off the ground, it said. The report said billions needed to be spent upgrading broadband networks.
Nearly 75% of US internet users watched an average of 158 minutes of online video and viewed more than 8.3bn video streams during May, according to research by measurement firm comScore.
The financial invested required to "bridge the gap" between demand and capacity would range from $42bn (£20bn) to $55bn (£27bn) in the US, Nemertes estimates.