Eric Raymond posits The Iron Laws of Network Cost Scaling (which he applies strictly to communications networks).
- Upgrade cost per increment of capacity decreases as capacity rises.
- Network costs scale primarily with the number of troubleshooters required to run them, not with capacity.
- Under market pressure, network pricing evolves from metered to flat-rate.
I am not sure I buy these as laws, though I don’t necessarily disagree with as general observations,
- is economies of scale of capital costs, which I think do operate in telecommunications in a way differently than transportation
- is operations and maintenance, which is a function of demand as much as supply. Again telecom differs from transportation
- assumes we are on a downward sloping average cost curve. Transportation professionals are trying to move pricing in the other direction (to date, largely unsuccessfully), especially in congested areas, where costs slope upwards.