Thursday, June 28, 2007

Economics of Bandwidth and Disk: Part One

While there is something to be said for Net Neutrality and the battles that can be waged between the famous Google and the other Yahoos out there, it's really one of the biggest distractions on the market, diverting much needed attention from where it belongs: the movies.

I saw 300 again this weekend, and I had a second chance to pay close attention to some of the symbolism. The military commanders are represented as very proud, and their people follow them unquestioningly. An emissary from the Persian force comes seeking a token of earth and water, and it is said to represent the submission of the Greeks. Needless to say for anyone who has seen the film, his message is not well-received by the Spartan commander.

Fast-forward to this day: I have an apartment at Community Manor. There is no monthly water bill, and Kim from the main office says that I can put a garden anywhere I like—it only improves the property value. I pay $25-35 a month for electricity, which accounts for a computer and monitor, a refrigerator and an electric stove, complete with oven. I spend almost as much on food as I do on rent.

Entertainment means Road Runner, the Time Warner internet service, which starts at $30 monthly. I have heard rumors that the price increases at least once, a year after the start of service. Compare to Verizon FiOS, the Next Generation fiber-to-the-premises service that is now offered in some areas; here basic service is priced competitively against cable, at $40-50 monthly, and the high-end service (30Mbit down/5Mbit up) is priced at $180 monthly.

Why in the world would I pay $180 monthly for internet service? There's only one reason: it has a bigger number than my current service, and I know that I have below-average patience. If there is one thing in the world that I hate more than waiting for the commercials to get over with, it's waiting for my pirated movie download to finish. At least a commercial gives me something to watch; those progress bars are so incredibly dull!

Now consider: as long as I can keep a copy of the movie that I just downloaded in my local library, I will never have to watch that progress bar again. If the download was legal (the MPAA would say, if you paid for the disc) then according to copyright law this is your fair use right, to make a copy and keep it for personal use.

If I haven't lost you and you're still following, then it's really no wonder that we continue to wage a meta-cultural battle with DRM restrictions. As I check my investment portfolio day by day, Sony stock is consistently losing money, and Western Digital stock persists in making gains. In these days of unbounded pirate media, statistics prove that an entertainment company really can't beat a hard-drive manufacturer!

In a recent article on KPB Code, please find and read a short listing of networking equipment that has strong potential to impact the market share of companies like Cisco, whose equipment helps to form the underpinnings of the Internet. In the next installment of The Sixth Layer miniseries on bandwidth and disk, we will consider the possible effects of mixing this information with that hardware. I call it community-sponsored manipulation of competing industries, for fun and profit!

1 comment:

Kingdon said...

That's very interesting. All I know is I won't be able to publish my book before the publisher helps me pay my ransom? Yeah, I think that's it.

Definitely time for a full account review and some financial statements. These prices don't sound at all like what I'm paying nowadays, was I really living such a life of excess before? I wasn't getting paid any better then, that's for sure.