I am sat here in my "man cave" on a Sunday afternoon, watching netflix (working through TNG again). Well, technically, I am doing some work, and trying to fix a 3D printer, and I have netflix on as well.
This uses a lot of bandwidth, but at least I am here and watching the TV, so probably not "wasteful".
I just went to the kitchen to make a coffee, and found that my wife had left "internet radio" playing on the iPad in the kitchen. Nobody listening to it. She has gone shopping.
She is using way less bandwidth than I, but it felt "wrong".
I remember when internet radio would easily use all of the bandwidth of an ISDN channel whilst tying up a port that is supposed to be shared with dozens of other people - it cost money and was using a shared resource.
Even just a few years ago, running internet radio all day would use up a significant share of backhaul and transit bandwidth - making you a high usage user. One of the classic ways to accidentally run up high usage or extra charges in an office would be someone running an internet radio, having later turned down the volume, and forgotten about it.
Times have moved on, and the average usage per customer, and part of a typical package, allows internet radio with no problem, and can even allow watching streaming TV most of the day and still be well within usage levels. Watching TV would still make people a "high usage user" compared to the average, but not the end of the world. We have packages allowing a terabyte a month now for a fixed price.
So I was pondering why the unattended iPad in the kitchen seemed wrong to me, and the best analogy I can come up with is water supply.
We have no water meter in this house - so we pay a fixed price for water, however much we use. There is no major water shortage in the UK, usually, so I have no issue with having a shower every day, the occasional bath, or flushing the toilet! But in spite of all of that I would not run a tap down the sink all day. It would be "wrong", because the water is a shared resource. If we all did that it would not work. It felt like leaving streaming music playing on the iPad was running water down the sink, if you see what I mean. No costs to worry about, but felt "wrong".
I am sure the time will come soon when such notions just seem like a total nonsense when it comes to Internet access. A time when my notions of wasting bandwidth seem strange and hard to understand.
Even now, my "feeling" on this is skewed - leaving the TV playing for the few minutes whilst I made that coffee is probably worth hours of leaving the music playing on the iPad. It is strange how we create these biases.
But I bet there are a lot of people who have no "feeling" for using bandwidth being like using water in the first place (as well as those that have no worries about wasting water either).