The net is getting overloaded. In the short term, dealing with the slowdown is getting nasty.

Just this week, Rogers said it is implementing a tiered-internet service; the more customers use the more they pay.

A few weeks ago, Bell Canada Enterprises changed the amount of Internet access it gives to users who swap big files. Bell didn't tell internet service providers and now some of those providers are considering taking Bell to court over the change.

The problem is file sharing over the net. Movies and music is driving traffic growth of between 60 and 90 percent per year.

This is good news for several Ottawa companies developing technologies to speed up the net and increase capacity.

Victim of its own popularity

The internet is a victim of its own popularity. As more people use it, traffic climbs and now the system is filling up.

Nortel's solution is a 40-gig system, upping capacity of current fibre networks four-fold. A 100-gig system is next.

"People say that in many parts of the world at certain times, fibre optics networks are now saturated," said John Roese, Nortel Chief Technology Officer.

At BTI Photonics business is exploding. One of Canada's fastest growing companies, they make devices that speed up the movement of data. Their latest product is built specifically to move video faster.

Fibre to the home

Ottawa-based Enablence Technologies is a company that produces fibre-to-the-home technology.

Their chip-based technology coupled with fibre optics can dramatically increase traffic flow on the so-called "last mile," the final route into customers' homes or offices with fibre optic lines.

"It is very, very true that the problems with bandwidth are almost here, if they are not already being experienced by people," said Arvind Chhatbar, Enablence CEO.

"It's very good news for company's like us. People may not think its moving as fast as they would like, but the speeds will stay up as long as we develop devices to move information faster and faster," said Ashok Balakrishnan, director of product development at Enablence.

By replacing copper cables with optical fibres, bandwidth could increase up to 1,000 times.

"This is perhaps the biggest most important change in telecommunications network technology and we will not need to make another change for the next 30 to 40 years," Chhatbar told CTV News.

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