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Nevertheless, the Financial Times reports that major telcos are pushing ahead with projects that will see dozens of new cables laid before the end of the decade.

At least 25 new cables will be laid by 2010, at a cost of .4bn, according to Tele Geography Research, a Washington-based telecoms consultancy.

AT&T last year pledged to adopt "net neutrality", which promises to treat all web traffic equally, and not give priority access to those providers who pay carriers.

This latest outburst may be an attempt to reignite the debate, with Cicconi specifically pointing out that the internet hinges on the investment of companies such as his.

Ovum said most of the new capacity would be absorbed by a doubling of internet connections in the region by 2011, but it warned operators to avoid a price war. Attorneys for telecommunications companies say the litigation is needed because municipalities with the ability to borrow money cheaply -- and not hobbled by the need to return a profit -- have unfair competitive advantages. This litigation was an attempt [by Qwest] to recreate the old monopolistic system." The suit settled in 2006. Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, No. "This is similar to electrification a century ago when small towns and rural areas were left behind, so they formed their own authorities." Many involved in the issue see a typical clash of viewpoints in the litigation embroiling Monticello, Minn., a town near Minneapolis, and TDS Telecom, a subsidiary of Bridgewater Telephone Co.

"In light of the tremendous untapped potential capacity on many submarine cables, it may seem surprising that a new cable-building boom is underway," Tele Geography claims.

"The reasons for cable construction are often a combination of several factors; including dwindling available capacity on some cables, a desire for wider restoration options, the need for physically diverse routes, competition, and high capacity prices in some regions of the world." The cables are predominantly set to be laid in areas such as Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East, which are currently underserved.

Google, for example, announced plans to build a 10,000km fibre-optic cable linking the US and Japan in February.

Internet access to parts of the Middle East was cut off in February this year, when undersea cables were cut.

It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment." – Jameel Jaffer "As one commenter to my blog so aptly said, 'Senator Obama, you can tap my phone or my wallet, but not both.'" – Bob Ostertag July 12th , 2008 20 Houses "To Use More Traffic Than Entire Net By 2011" AT&T claims the internet will run out of capacity in 2010, joining the gathering crowd of net doom mongers.

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