"26 years after the release of the film, [if George Lucas spends the weekend at the Ritz Carlton in New York] the accountants at Lucasfilm are going to charge $86,000 to the costs of Return of the Jedi. I am NOT joking. This is what they do. If George Lucas utters the words Star Wars and he’s spending money, they’re putting it on the red line for one of those films."
Mike, thanks for the good links. Isenberg's argument that "bandwidth is so cheap it might as well be free" definitely leads to the conclusion that the Telcos have created artificial scarcity so that they can exploit us.
However, I'd like to see the data supporting that claim. What's the ratio of dark to lit fiber and does peak traffic ever approach capacity? I don't know.
In theory, I can believe that virtually unlimited bandwidth will be available everywhere. But, in practice, won't there be costs and inertia (political, regulartory, economic) that prevent GigE from being everywhere all at once?
If so, won't that create an interim condition where my cheap GigE connection will inspire me to download the collected video works of Stanley Kubrick (in HighDef) thus clogging all the less-than-state-of-the-art routers and pathways between me and my content?
I know physical analogies are flawed when talking about digital domains, but... What you seem to be saying is that we all should be able to commute cross-country in personal airliners every day because there is plenty of empty air along the route. True, but won't travel times (throughput) then be highly dependendent on how smoothly takeoffs and landings for thousands of airliners go in every cornfield airport in-between?
In short, I'm not convinced that 1) bandwidth is as plentiful as you claim and 2) even if it is plentiful to me locally, my IP packets still compete for space wiith yours on every node of the network they pass through.
So, unless you can tell me that the capacity of every router, bridge and relay can handle universal GigE usage patterns, I'll be a reluctant skepic of your impending bandwidth utopia.
Besides, we have two-tier systems for a lot of things (cars, restaurants, colleges, and athletic clubs). These work because there is competition within and between the tiers keeping innovation up and prices down.
I'd worry that if we artificially dictate a bandwidth monoculture we'd end up with the network equivalent of Soviet-era cars, backlogged and crappy.
Sheesh, so many of these comments are tilting at windmills...
Bottom-line: Anonymous Coward has it right - pipeline providers don't want to put a tollbooth on Google or EBay. They want to build a levee against the digital video tsunami and, of course, monetize that flow.
Sure, I'd like video-on-demand for free as much as the next guy but the bandwidth growth curve of all the somebodies like me could choke the Internet.
Neither do I like the idea of a two-tier Internet but that might be preferable to having my Google or EBay or podcast feed hung up while ten thousand idiots download the latest Paris Hilton sex video at the same instant.
If the "digital broadcasters" or "digital consumers" have to pay for truly excessive bandwidth (like the sex video de jeur or pirated movies) that will allow market forces to apply.