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the doubling of internet traffic


During the late 90's, there was a famous statistic that we've all heard at least once: Internet traffic was doubling every 100 days. The claim was made in a report by the US Department of Commerce, but, according to a recent article, the figure did not come from internal research by the DoC. It came from a company: Worldcom.
UUNET, a unit of Worldcom, handles about 50% of the Internet traffic. So when Worldcom executives, including its CEO, presented the figure, everybody assumed it was right. Competitors, when seeing their traffic far below Worldcom's numbers, internally assumed that they had to catch up with them, but externally they inflated their own traffic numbers as well.
Over time, people apparently started to confuse growth in capacity with growth in traffic, and routinely quoted growth figures of 1000% annually.
And to think that so many business plans where funded with astronomic sums on the premise that traffic was growing on that scale...
A tiny error. Just like the one they made on their accounting books. "Nobody Knew," right?
Will this be Arthur Andersen's fault as well?

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on July 27 2002 at 11:07 AM

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