The loss of local content

It’s interesting to me that we’ve come so far from where we started when looking at the landscape of the Internet. As originally built, content was hosted locally and it was a benefit to obtain it at a distance (over the Internet). Now, all content is hosted in a few locations to be delivered everywhere; nothing is local. We no longer care about network efficiencies.

Case in point, Comcast (Xfinity) sent an email, this morning, to their customers regarding their storm ready website. This link was sent to Xfinity customers for the use of Xfinity users that are, highly likely, sitting on the Xfinity network. These users are local to that network and have no real need to cross any Internet boundaries (they, effectively, wouldn’t be on the Internet since they wouldn’t be leaving the Xfinity network!). This content, however, might need to be accessed by a customer that’s not on the Xfinity network (a mobile user) and, thus, it would be good to have access from the Internet to this content. Again, not a problem…​ this is something that happens every day. Here’s what I discovered when I did a little research:

traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  gateway (  0.445 ms  0.561 ms  0.703 ms
 2 (  10.015 ms  17.502 ms  17.884 ms
 3 (  17.494 ms  17.545 ms  17.595 ms
 4 (  16.036 ms  16.876 ms  16.972 ms
 5 (  25.527 ms  26.451 ms  26.514 ms
 6 (  21.697 ms  11.299 ms  15.775 ms
 7 (  19.385 ms  25.522 ms  24.197 ms
 8 (  37.064 ms  37.445 ms  37.723 ms
 9 (  63.466 ms  64.412 ms  64.855 ms
10 (  61.179 ms  62.127 ms  62.563 ms
11 (  59.910 ms  58.877 ms  46.231 ms
12 (  54.480 ms  53.365 ms  54.106 ms
13  * * *
14 (  50.792 ms (  52.137 ms (  50.897 ms
15 (  51.194 ms (  50.312 ms (  50.032 ms
16 (  46.607 ms (  46.057 ms (  51.107 ms
17 (  50.095 ms  46.238 ms *

Do you see what I see? Xfinity isn’t hosting their content locally within their own network, they are hosting it on Rackspace’s infrastructure! So any interruption in the Internet connections connecting Xfinity to the rest of the world will yield their own content unavailable on their own network. Anyone else see a problem with this?

Hosting content at home

I guess it’s no surprise that Comcast also does not allow someone to stand up their own server from their home to serve their own content over their Xfinity connection (Verizon Fios does not have this restriction). Since they don’t host their own content, why should anyone else want to? If I wanted to serve up content for my neighborhood, which is likely all using Xfinity Internet connectivity, I would be breaking my terms of service to do it even though it would mean faster access to the content, higher availability, less cost, and better resiliency during disasters.

But this isn’t something people really think about, now days, when everything is on Facebook or other social media outlets being hosted everywhere but where you are.