off-topic: historical query concerning the Internet bubble

Andrew Odlyzko odlyzko at
Sun Aug 8 13:30:44 UTC 2010

Fascinating.  Memories may be plastic (something that has been
established scientifically), or else we may have yet another
inconsistency to add to the pile of others.  Is there any
documentation about the "doubling every nine months"?  I have
never seen that particular claim emanating from anyone involved
with WorldCom/UUNet.

On the other hand, existing record shows (among others):

1.  U.S. Department of Commerce white paper from April 1998,

on p. 8 declares that "UUNET, one of the largest Internet
backbone providers, estimates that Internet traffic doubles
every 100 days," with a reference to an Inktomi white paper
that attributes this claim to Mike O'Dell.  The Inktomi 
report is no longer on the Web, but I can provide a copy
to anyone interested.

2.  The transcript of the May 2000 presentation by O'Dell
at a Stanford conference clearly has him saying that the
capacity of the UUNet network, as measured by OC12-miles,
doubles every four months,

As is explained in my paper, in the 1998-2000 time frame,
essentially all the WorldCom/UUNet claims then seemed to be
about capacity, not traffic.

3.  The year-end 2000 email from O'Dell to Dave Farber's IP list,

has him talking of traffic doubling each year, while capacity
grows 8-fold.

If some time in that period there was a claim of a "doubling 
every nine months," too, that would be very interesting.


Randy Bush <randy at> wrote:

> >> my memory is that he said doubling every nine months.
> > Mine too.
> mo's too.  i asked.
> randy

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