As explained ad nauseam in prediction #1, bufferbloat is going to be a growing problem this year as Windows XP machines are replaced and more people are downloading Internet video. But terrible latency, jitter, and dropouts may not be all bad if you are a cable ISP. That’s because cable ISPs are first and foremost cable television providers and the main victims of bufferbloat are video services like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube that have become the natural enemies of cable TV. Cable video-on-demand services, while also digital, use separately-provisioned bandwidth and sometimes even different signaling technology, so the ISP’s competitor to Netflix isn’t bothered by bufferbloat at all.
Bufferbloat also affects BitTorrent, which ISPs hate, though they’d hate it a lot less if they’d eliminate bufferbloat entirely, in which case BitTorrent would be a much smaller problem.
This leads to the network neutrality question: how much ISP bitching about BitTorrent is based on their own stupid network architectures that are lame enough for BitTorrent to break? Passing laws to solve Internet technical glitches seems like overkill to me.
And finally bufferbloat can be fatal to third-party voice-over-IP (VoIP) services like Skype and Vonage. Again, your cable ISP’s own VoIP phone service service runs quite happily in separately-provisioned bandwidth, never seeing the bufferbloat.
So bufferbloat is terrible and getting worse, but don’t expect your cable ISP to actually do much about it, because bufferbloat is actually good for their business.