Businesses – sell your unused bandwidth!

During a recent conversation with a colleague at work, it began to dawn on me the sheer wasted bandwidth small and large businesses sit on during the “out of working hours”.

I’ve no idea if anything like this has been done before – if it has, then fair play.  If not, then I think it’d make an interesting experiment to try.

The idea is simple – there’s a lack of bandwidth available to home users, thanks to BT’s monopoly and purely reactive attitude toward rolling out fibre, reducing contention, traffic shaping, etc blah.  There’s also an increased demand for long durations of large bandwidth, like iPlayer for example.

Previously, contention and traffic shaping were sufficient (although in my opinion – unfair and hidden), but these high bandwidth, intensely saturating streaming services require constant amounts of bandwidth being available.

Increasingly, it would seem, businesses up and down the country are taking residence near groups of houses, or perhaps the other way around – houses are increasingly being built near industrial estates etc.  And these businesses in industrial estates often fork out a lot of money for expensively low contention bandwidth – like leased lines.

My proposal is simple – businesses start selling their available bandwidth on to houses near by for some nominal fee (because let’s face it, any money made is a win) – during the problem hours of 6.00pm through 7.00am, weekdays.  Weekends of course would be optional – but advised.

As far as I’m aware – leased lines are a set fee per month, and provide a guaranteed amount of bandwidth (say 5Mb).  If that 5Mb were provided purely for iPlayer use across 20 houses, on a first come first served basis (i.e. 2x 2Mb streams allowed at once, and no more), home users with limited available bandwidth could be entitled to a program an evening at full speed.  Perhaps the special “booster router” in their living room could shine a bright white LED when one of the two slots is available?

Alternatively, the system could be provided vice versa – avoiding all problems of “aggregated bandwidth” etc by having BT provide cost breaks for businesses willing to have their phone lines used to push the excess requirements up from the exchanges to their buildings, where it’s placed onto their unused leased lines (a kind of “put power back on the grid” kind of thing).  The big disadvantage here is, the only problem dealt with is contention – not the last mile problem to houses far from the exchange.

But it’s only a thought, and it’s probably a rubbish one at that!

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