Traffic Jam

Will Netflix Clog the Internet?

Pack a lunch and a good audio book, because your trip down the information superhighway could slow to a crawl, and soon. With Netflix accounting for 17 percent of all data transfers online, the company's new pricing plan is expected to generate a surge in streaming video, which some fear could overwhelm the Internet. The problem isn't along the information superhighway itself, but along its exit ramps, where data is routed locally to users' computers, and where a sharp uptick in traffic could create bottlenecks. The solution could lead Internet service providers to prioritize traffic from places like Netflix, for a fee, which would spell the end of net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to take up the issue at its upcoming December meeting.