YouTube Bandwidth Costs

While you may pay a good amount every month in order to connect to the internet, giants on the World Wide Web may be paying significantly less or even nothing at all. A recent report published by Arbor Network suggests that Youtube, in spite of sharing 100 billion videos throughout the globe every year, does not have to pay a single penny in bandwidth bills. This further suggests that the popular rumor that the internet morphs itself according to the user’s behavior may indeed ring true in some cases.

Google’s traffic has been observed as fast approaching as much as 10% of the total internet traffic in the world. This has probably given Google a significant advantage. It now has so much fiber optic cable at hand, that it is trading traffic with other ISP giants. This, in turn, is bringing down the expenses of Google. Craig Labovitz, Chief Scientist at Arbor, commented on the findings, saying, “I think Google’s transit costs are close to zero.”

This trend lends credibility to the concept that the way internet traffic is maintained is undergoing rapid evolution in recent years. In fact, top 30 websites on the internet, with Google in the lead, serve up around 30% of the total internet traffic. This serving may be done via data centers located at various places around the world, or via the website’s own fiber optic network.

A major portion of the internet was served by a total of around 30,000 servers in 2007. In 2009, as much as 50% of the internet was served by as few as 150 blocks of servers. This shows that the control over internet traffic is slowly being taken up by a handful of servers.

Lebovitz commented on the scenario, saying, “What we mean by the internet is changing and it’s happening really quickly. I was blown away to find out that one-tenth of the internet is going [to] or coming from Google.”

The majority of the blocks are from servers of Google and popular content-delivery networks, including Limelight and Akamai. These transfer content from server farms around the world to various websites, at rates far lower than what would be needed to self-host the same content.

Giants like Google may also start asking organizations like Comcast to connect the Google tubes directly with the smaller, localized ISP networks for a fee. That way, the users will be most benefited, since they will experience much faster download speeds on sites like YouTube, as well as faster browsing speed when conducting a Google search. Lebovitz added that the consumers would be most benefited, should an arrangement like that actually take place in future.

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