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An increasing trend towards online activity could result in slower broadband speeds in the near future, a new study is to predict.

Findings from Nemertes Research, due to be published later this year, will indicate that demand will exceed supply by 2012, the Times reported.

This reduction in the capacity of cyberspace is set to occur as more people rely on the internet for work and "bandwidth-hungry applications" such as YouTube continue to grow in popularity.

Consequently, consumers may start to experience "brownouts", where a computer freezes and the broadband connection is considerably slower.

In its forthcoming report, US think-tank Nemertes Research will predict that the global recession has done little to prevent increasing demand for the internet.

Analyst Ted Ritter was quoted as saying: "With more people working or looking for work from home, or using their PCs more for cheap entertainment, demand could double in 2009. At best, we see the slowdown delaying the fractures for maybe a year."

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