Monday, July 7, 2008

ISPs and download caps

The download cap debate by ISPs has been swirling around the blogosphere of late. Is there another motive why ISPs would like to see download caps imposed?

Over the past few years the amount of entertainment media on the Internet has exploded. From downloading music posted on discussion boards to watching CBS's Jericho and ABC's Lost online. The amount of entertainment available is staggering, I have only named two of my favourites.

The purpose of download caps is to help ISPs manage their respective networks. After all a report from Sandvine shows that the P2P traffic accounts for 44% of Internet traffic, and 14.8% of Internet traffic is a result of streaming media. (I am not sure where iTunes or Netflix online videos fit into this picture.) ISPs have also argued that network management would help other users, by freeing up some bandwidth from the P2P users. (Wise assumption that we need to test).

However there could be anther reason why ISPs are pushing for download caps. Most of the progams I have seen have a limit, one was for 5GB and another for 40GB total for a month. But each plan has a mechanism in place to allow for more data to be downloaded, for a price. So if you watch a lot of TV online (like me), play a lot of online games (me again), download lots of files (me again, you have to love researching and articles in PDF that are 12MB), or have a particular amount of fun with digital photography which you must share with friends and family(me yet again) you could be in some trouble.

The download caps amount to nothing more than a potential new revenue stream for ISPs, especially if the download caps are small. It should be interesting how the future unfolds.

1 comment:

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