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The Internet has changed our lives forever. This was proven recently when Go Daddy email servers and websites temporarily shut down.  To fully appreciate our reliance on the Internet, ask yourself, what happens in an Internet minute? Researchers at Intel took on that question and the answers are mind-boggling.
Every minute on the Internet 204 million emails get sent and Facebook records 6 million views. During that same 60 seconds, 30 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube and the site serves up 1.3 million video views. Amazon rings up $83,000 in online sales – which comes to almost $1,400 per second – and consumers download 47,000 mobile apps from Apple.
The explosion in mobile devices and services means we can take the Internet with us anywhere. Thanks to the power of broadband, we can instantly access a video message or a Hollywood movie on our smartphones or tablets via the Internet.
America now has more wireless subscriptions than people, and mobile online traffic last year was roughly equivalent to all the traffic on the Internet in 2004. As another sign of our emerging Internet tastes, video accounts for more than half of wireless data traffic.
Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves another question: What if the Internet disappeared? What would it be like if one day our web searches slowed to crawl and then stopped? If our emails wouldn’t launch or we couldn’t even make a local call with our incredibly powerful smartphone?
Scores of customers of Scottsdale-based Go Daddy got a taste of that recently when the website hosting service had a massive service outage.  All Americans could face that possibility if the surge in Internet traffic overwhelms the capacity of the modern broadband networks that carry it. The FCC has warned that the available supply of wireless spectrum could be outstripped by demand as early as next year.  (Spectrum consists of the airwaves that carry wireless Internet traffic.)  This isn’t surprising considering that by 2015 Internet connected devices are expected to be double the global population.
Keeping the supply of Internet capacity ahead of demand requires continued investment in infrastructure by the communications industry, complemented by government policies that encourage investment, avoid unnecessary and burdensome regulation, and make more spectrum available for commercial use.
The industry is doing its part with annual investment in the neighborhood of $25 billion. The federal government needs to support that commitment with an expansion-friendly Internet policy untainted by outdated regulations from the old days of a voice-centered communications world.
With a policy environment like that in place, Americans would never get a first-hand answer to the question “Where did the Internet go?”
Michael Price is executive director of the Coalition for a Connected West.  He lives in Parker, Colorado.