ISPs and Mirrors

Here’s something I’ve never understood… Why don’t ISPs run mirrors of popular things for their clients? I’m having Debian update its package info, and it’s taking a while because it’s seemingly using a crappy mirror. I can customize it–and will do so later–but I’m left wondering…

From my perspective, it’d be great, because it’d be closer to me and presumably faster. But from my ISP’s perspective, it’d be an even bigger win, because it would be bandwidth that never left their network, lowering their bandwidth bills. I’m sure that work with various Linux distros doesn’t account for that much of Comcast’s (or any other ISP’s) bandwidth, but I’m equally as sure that I’m not the only Comcast user that ran an “apt-get update” today on Debian Lenny. (In fact, Debian and Ubuntu desktops both go out daily to automatically update package listings?)

And it’s not like it’s huge overhead, either. Set up a single server with a few hundred gig of disks, and it’ll merrily keep everything up to date on its own via rsync. Put one in each of your major POPs and you’re done. Maybe $10,000 invested total.

As long as you’re at it, set them up with ntp. It’s always seemed like something an ISP should do. Those are much more accurate if they’re closer. (Northeast Comcast users should note that Comcast appears to peer with MIT; MIT’s public is about 8ms away from me.)

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