The next generation of environmental monitoring satellites will provide several orders of magnitude increase in the data volume of science data collected using advanced imager and sounder instruments. In the cases of geosynchronous satellites, continuous access to this data is needed by data centers and users across the world for weather forecasting and environmental monitoring. The public Internet has sometimes been mentioned as an economical medium to distribute real time data. The purpose of this paper is to dispel some of the unreasonable claims for cost efficiency and performance that are expressed in discussions of using the Internet to distribute real-time environmental data. The paper will use the Geosynchronous Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) series as a case in point to describe alternative terrestrial-bases telecommunications services for environmental data distribution, and identify examples where the internet-based technologies are practical and advantageous.