Yesterday, I reported on the cost of a terabyte of data volume as that number gives a good idea of how much money is involved in transferring data, at least from a central place. It's quite low. Now here's another interesting number (sorry, the link to a German resource) that can help in the debate around file sharing and how much active file sharers use the network compare to average consumption.
In the post linked above, Kabel Deutschland (a German cable network operator) says that they only use throttling when file sharing and one-click hosting traffic of a user exceeds 60 gigabyes pe day. Wow, that's more than what I use without file sharing but with lots of online video rental and streaming in a whole month. 60 gigabytes times 30 days, that's 1.8 terabytes a month.
On the other hand, their terms and conditions state that they reserve themselves the right to throttle file sharing and one-click hosting traffic after 10 gigabytes a day. Hm, sometimes I would come close when I download a couple of weeks of recordings from my online video recording service.
According to the post only 0.1% of their customers create such kind of traffic. And here are further interesting numbers from that post:
- 15 per cent of the users create 80% of the traffic in the network in the downlink direction. Unfortunately, they don't say how much traffic those 0.1% of users with 60 gigabytes or more generate. That would be a much more interesting number because I am not impressed by the first number as there will always be a large customer base that only use Internet connectivity only little and still pay the full price of the line.
- In the uplink direction 5 per cent of the users generate 80% of the traffic. Again, the overall amount of traffic of those 0.1% of heavy file sharing users would be an even interesting number.
One can think about those numbers in different ways but traffic shaping vs. net neutrality remains a hot topic. Personally I think I am somewhere in the middle of this debate, being well aware that this middle ground is a very slippery place to be. It get's a little bit less slippery if network operators are up front on the topic and state their T&C's around throttling quite clearly and don't hide them in the fine print. Then it's up for customers to decide when they have all the facts to perhaps choose lower prices when some sort of throttling is applied when they hit some limits vs. something more expensive when this is not done.