Average American Consumes 34 Gigs Of Data Per Day; Good Thing ISPs Want To Limit You To 5 Gigs/Month

from the unworkable dept

There's a new study that's making the rounds, noting that the average American consumes about 34 gigs worth of data/information each day. That number has been increasing at a pretty fast pace as well. This is, obviously, not just internet data. It includes TV, radio, mobile phones, newspapers, video games, etc. However, what struck me is that more and more of that is moving to the internet, and that seems like a trend that will continue. And, yet, we still hear stories of ISPs looking to put in place broadband caps that are as low as 5 gigs per month. Clearly, something has to give. Even Comcast's relatively generous cap of 250 gigs per month could run into trouble at some point as well.

And, indeed, this is part of what concerns me most about efforts to put in place broadband caps. As we consume more data and a growing amount of that data consumption moves to the internet, more and more people may find themselves butting up against those caps. Even though plenty of studies (and many comments from the technology -- not policy or marketing -- people at ISPs) show that ISPs can easily invest in infrastructure upgrades to keep pace with the traffic, the move to put in place broadband caps may create serious unintended consequences for broadband. They add a mental transaction cost to any kind of internet usage (you have to think if it's worth it) and limit the interest and/or ability to build newer, more powerful internet applications and services that can serve what we need.
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Filed Under: broadband, broadband caps, data usage

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  1. identicon
    Lobo Santo's Ugly Cat, 11 Dec 2009 @ 8:45am

    This is a very typical Mike Masnick Techdirt reach sort of a post. It uses poor data, and then tries to slam one of the hated companies with it.

    The reality? Americans don't consumer 34 gigs of data per day. They consumer a very few gigs, and the rest is broadcast.

    The other reality? Americans don't consumer all of their gigs with a mobile or handheld device. Most of them do it over more normal internet connections, including using their handhelds via WiFi rather than the 3G networks.

    So slamming AT&T for having a bandwidth cap at 5 gig and comparing it to an extremely fluffed up number made by combining all sorts of non-network "data" is a joke, a truly misleading post that companies like Sun and Intel should be ashamed to have their names attached to.

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