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The Economics of Bandwidth


bloody hell,

premium dsl or cable dousn’t even reach a megabyte a sec where you live?

Premium DSL does a hefty 20Megabits per second down, and 8mb up over here. (that comes down to about 1.4MB per sec true download spead)

Premium Cable scales up to 22mb at the moment, (8mb up)

This is in holland btw. (which is NOT a province of germany)


Great article, but I do have one thing to note – the T1 and T3 prices seem to be port only, meaning there’s additional local loop costs that would be added. For a T1, that can be between $200 and $500 a month, depending on one’s distance from the CO. For a T3/DS3, you’re looking at between $2500 and $4000 a month depending on distance from the CO. And in some cases, a DS3 requires buildout by the local phone company, which can run in the low five-figures.

On a raw bandwidth calculation it’s on target, but when it comes to T1’s, DS3’s, and OC-3’s it’s the loop that is the killer these days.


ATT fiber is 29/mo for 5 meg up/down – it is artificially capped at this rate. It will do 100! meg up/down if you get it with IP-TV. (More$) but still under $70/mo.


Nothing has bandwidth like a 18 wheeler full of DVD’s


Interesting related article, “Don’t expect video to exhaust fiber glut”:


Cisco says that in 2010, just 20 homes using the latest broadband technology to access video content will generate enough traffic to equal the entire load on the Internet in 1995.

Juniper says YouTube already generates traffic equal to the entire Internet load in 2000.


No need to ship harddrives, they are too expansive, when you can use blueray/hd dvd instead. If even that is not enough, ship more than one. They weight less too.


I stumbled upon this blog entry before, and wanted to add a little comment to note that Cogent (which is both loved and hated, but I’ve found their network to be pretty solid) sells extremely well-peered bandwidth (they are a hair’s breadth from tier 1 status, and have been as high as the #2 most peered ASN) at $10/Mb in 100Mb intervals.

If you manage to saturate that, you are paying a hair over 3 cents per GB.

The only time I’ve heard of people getting a better deal than that from an ISP was when they were 90% inbound traffic, which is obviously the opposite of a typical customer pushing web traffic out.


These numbers are very expensive! I work for Cogent Communications, and our flagship product is 100 meg for $1,000. Only $10 per meg. We provide internet access for roughly 20% of the world’s internet traffic. If anyone on the East Cost of the US is interested, feel free to give me a call at (212)625-4791


That reminds me of what a college professor used to say:

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a Ford Econoline Van. It’s true. Especially if you fill it up with hard drives. You can move way more data with an Econoline data in a week than you could with any network technology over months.


Doing these calculations you have to sum some 4-8 hours that would be needed to write and read 1TB of data to/from HDD (I’m assuming they would by commodity SATA drives, not 15K RPM SAS drives).

BTW. doing same with SDXC cards might be interesting alternative. 32GB SD card are already available, 64GB soon to come. They only weight 2g (0.07oz or 0.004lbs). So you could stuff 36TB (72TB with new ones) in your 5lbs package.

@Sam – we’re in 21th century, cell phones have HSPA (14Mb/s) or even HSPA+ (42Mb/s) and there are flat data rates.


@Mark Tomin
Why would you ship HD-DVD/bluray disk, which can’t be read nor written by most computers, while you can ship SD cards, that weight less, have more capacity and can be read and written on any modern PC?


My company (webcasting) moves terabytes of data around via sneakernet. We’ve got these specialize machines, basically a 3U server in a ruggedized enclosure, that we transfer A/V data with. Besides the cost savings, the ability to 2TB of data from a customer location to our offices in 2 hours via currier is fantastic. Sneakernet has also proven to be far more reliable than Internet transfers for smaller volumes of data. (Ever kick off a download/upload in the evening and find it failed for whatever reason the next morning?)

The Internet geek in me would like to see everything happen over the net, but the logistical and economic realities clearly favour sneakernet.


So what happens when UPS loses your drives or they are damaged in shipping?


I think there was an experiment similar to this where someone tested the internet speed to a carrier pigeon, and somehow the pigeon had a higher “bandwidth.”


The ultimate sneakernet!