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Sometime in the mid-1990s, a group called the Bandwidth Conservation Society made its appearance. It tried to reduce Internet traffic in a few ways-getting Web site designers and developers to create smaller pages, convincing people to do large-file transfers late at night, and so on. I argued in an Internet World editorial that we should encourage the opposite-that we should use as much bandwidth as possible to encourage the development of faster backbones and better connections. Create the necessity to spur the invention.

That’s what happened. T-1 backbones gave way to T-3 and DS3, then OC3, OC12, and other high-bandwidth connections. Cable and DSL access for the masses became commonplace. Streaming audio and video became possible for people at home. The lack of conservation gave us Internet access that is, for all intents and purposes, too cheap to meter.

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