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The ‘New Internet’ Isn’t Just a Silicon Valley Joke. Here’s What You Should Know About It

Efforts are underway to ‘reinvent’ the Internet as bandwidth is decreasing while video content is on the rise.

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BY Darren Heitner - 31 May 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

If you own a hosting or online streaming company, a marketing agency or simply a website for your business, then you should be concerned. The infrastructure of the Internet as we know it, which almost everyone relies on today for ensuring the success of their businesses, is gradually weakening as heavy video content proliferates while available bandwidth is depleted.

It is projected that by 2020, more than 232 million people in the U.S. will be considered digital video viewers. Further, Cisco forecasts that traffic related to virtual reality and augmented reality will increase 20-fold between 2016 and 2021.

The burden of hosting that content seemingly will be placed on content delivery networks (CDNs) to satisfy content demand and accelerate data loading, which means that unless a new infrastructure is developed, the market for CDNs should shoot up. One forecast is that the CDN market will go from $6.05 billion in 2016 to $30.89 billion by 2022, which is a massive increase in value and a cost that businesses will be forced to bear in order to continue to offer high quality content that consumers have come to expect.

But there may be a solution that alters the infrastructure of the Internet in a way that still allows for what is destined to occur -- increasing demand for higher quality video content as well as an enhancement in the quantity of such content -- at a lower cost than what is anticipated under the current CDN model.

Your business should be cognizant about attempts to create a "New Internet," its advantages and challenges.

The big idea is to convert households and existing data centers with bandwidth storage not being fully utilized into a network that increases content distribution efficiency. Every device on the network would become a node that connects into a a layer of Internet infrastructure. This model would effectively allow users to "rent out" bandwidth of their unused devices in a way that is similar to how Uber lets people use their cars to make extra money by driving around commuters in their free time.

One company that is exploring this space is called NOIA. It plans to incentivize people to "rent out" their unused bandwidth in exchange for a token and then basically provide its network to websites looking for new hosting options where bandwidth may not be as big of an issue as it is projected to be by prognosticators.

But a startup like NOIA, which sounds a lot like the "New Internet" described on the HBO show Silicon Valley, may have an adoption issue similar to that which the fictional Pied Piper company encountered on the show. A major challenge is in attracting website owners to add NOIA software to their hosting infrastructure while there are a small amount of nodes. Another challenge is increasing the number of nodes, since there will only be a small number of paying website owners at NOIA's infancy.

Should you consider being a part of this "New Internet," then you will want to carefully weigh the perceived positives and negatives of being an early adopter. But be aware that the landscape of the Internet, as we know it, is changing.

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