Cable Tech

10 Meg Is Here!

6:00 AM -- I just boosted my bandwidth again, this time to 10 Mbit/s. Charter Communications Inc. , my service provider, charges me a little more because I don't take their TV service along with my bandwidth subscription. But, interestingly, they aren't exactly advertising the bump up to 10 Meg in my neighborhood, since it's not widely available.

But here's an interesting thing, I think: A look back at my bandwidth prices paid over a three-year period shows that my top download speed is up considerably, but the price per day is down about 3.8 percent.

Table 1: What I Get, What I Pay for Charter Bandwidth
Date Downstream Upstream Price Per Month (After Tax) Price Per Day Price Per Megabit (Per Month)
Sep-03 1.5 Mbit/s 128 kbit/s $62.91 $2.10 $41.94
Mar-04 2 Mbit/s 128 kbit/s $41.23 $1.37 $20.61
Jul-04 3 Mbit/s 256 kbit/s $41.23 $1.37 $13.74
Jan-05 3 Mbit/s 256 kbit/s $52.05 $1.74 $17.35
Mar-06 3 Mbit/s 256 kbit/s $32.46 $1.08 $10.82
Sep-06 10 Mbit/s 1 Mbit/s $60.47 $2.02 $6.04
Mar-07* 10 Mbit/s 1 Mbit/s $86.38 $2.88 $8.63
* Projected price based on the end of a 6-month promotion

The price per megabit of available bandwidth has fallen by about 80 percent in just three years. I'm not complaining -- but how do service providers even hope to make money on bandwidth when prices are falling that fast?

— Phil Harvey, Cheap Bits Editor, Light Reading

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