How can I change the structure of the last sentence?

Ultimately, Spam is facilitated by the low cost of interruption. Unlike written mail and phone calls of the past, there is no postage or per-minute cost. Because Internet access is billed by the month or the data pipe rather than the message, email can be replicated and broadcast to millions of addresses without marginal cost.

Source: Email Scammers: Why can't Google, Yahoo and similar public domain email services delete scam accounts, or report the owners to each country's police? on Quora

I understand the main idea of the sentence but I can't get the part "or the data pipe rather than the message."

  • I edited it. Yes, data pipe is a communications channel that is used to transmit data Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 9:15
  • 2
    1 000 000 people can be contacted as cheaply as 1 using the Internet. (These figures may not be totally accurate.) Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 9:19

2 Answers 2


"the data pipe rather than the message" states that charges are based on the Internet being provided, instead of by usage.

An analogue to this would be limited/unlimited mobile plans - limited plans are billed by how many messages you send or minutes you use in a period of time, while unlimited plans are billed not based on how much you use the service, but based on whether you purchase the service.


The word "pipe" is being used here analogously- similar to a water pipe or a gas pipe, a "data pipe" is a fixture that carries data from a producer to a consumer.

Carrying on with this analogy, I live in a community where I pay a fixed quarterly fee to be connected to the township water supply, regardless of the amount of water used in my home. In other locales, the residents have a water meter- the results of this meter are somehow transmitted to the water company, who charges each resident according to their amount of water usage.

In the case of email and other data, the model used by my township for its water is far more common. You pay for the "pipe" and can then send as little or as much data through that pipe as you choose, with no change in the price. This benefits the spammers, as they can send millions of messages for one price. If they had to pay per message or per kilobyte, it would significantly change how they operate.

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