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A metered bandwidth nightmare

July 18th, 2008 | by Klaus Holzapfel |

I woke up in the middle of a dream last night. I was imagining how our (Internet)world would look like if Verizon/Comcast/Time Warner/ATT had it their way with metered bandwidth.

  1. All the nice images were gone. Remember the Internet of 1996 and the first version of Netscape? Things looked surprisingly familiar.
  2. Every website had a bandwidth label on their homepage explaining the impact if someone would turn images at their browsers.
  3. Advertisers were offering me $$$ to click on the links to their ads – compensating me for my bandwidth cost.
  4. A had a bandwidth-meter sidebar installed in Firefox.
  5. File sizes were becoming more popular as a discussion topic than calories.
  6. My cache was connected to my wife’s computer. She could read what I had read before without accessing the Internet.
  7. Videos were store on external hard drives and traded in the neighborhood. There was some real P2P going on.
  8. Wireless Cafes had limits on how much I bandwidth I could access per drink purchased.
  9. People with extra bandwidth were posting and inviting others to use it. They gave them access to their wireless networks and cars were parked in front of peoples home with guys access their laptops from there.
  10. The trend to hack wireless networks and use their bandwidth led to a decrease in Wireless use.
  11. People started to fight and argue over bandwidth use in offices, homes and in the streets. Every other sentence started with “dude”.

Ok that was just a dream. But if metered bandwidth becomes the new standard things will begin to shift. I was in the hosting business one time and still have my own dedicated server. Bandwidth comes with a cost. And our increase need for bandwidth triggered by on-demand video is currently not met by technological breakthroughs generating more GB at a lower cost.

If you’ve been at a data center you can imagine their power bill. Verizon digging up the country to lay down Fiber doesn’t come for free either.

Something has got to give. I am not taking my bandwidth for granted any more and I am glad that I live in a low-tech neighborhood without by hackers breaking into my wireless network (Boulder beware!).

Got something to add to the list?

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