The Podcasting Bandwidth Timebomb

Podcasts are growing popular, and some podcasters have unwittingly started a podcasting bandwidth timebomb.

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When people visit a web site and download or view files (i.e., web pages, text, images, mp3 audio files), data transfer happens. This eats up the bandwidth allowance of a web site. has around 1,200 web pages and served over 50,000 pages last month. The Pinoy Podcast has around seven episodes, and served around 1,000 downloads last month. The bandwidth eaten up by the podcasts was half of that consumed by the ordinary web pages.

If we keep on producing podcasts which become as popular as the usual web pages, we will definitely run out of bandwidth.

(A 5-minute podcast can take up 850 KB of space. The written version of that podcast will eat up less than 5 KB of space.)

Here are some suggestions:

1. Host your podcasts on third-party servers. (Con: access will become slow once many other podcasters host their files on those servers)

2. Delete old podcast episodes. (Con: Isn't that the whole point of podcasting, to allow people to decide when they want to listen to your content?)

3. Produce smaller audio files.

It looks like the dream of grassroots "publishing" will still be text-based. For those who would like to try podcasting, go for it. Just be ready (is that possible?) for the costly bandwidth effects of popularity.

[ First posted on 10/20/2005 by Manuel Viloria ]

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