iDrive wants you to sync your files through the postal service

Cloud storage provider iDrive revealed a novel take on file syncing Wednesday: The company’s new Express Sync service allows paying users to transfer up to 3TB of files to iDrive’s servers, and then selectively sync files to their individual devices. The key here is that the initial transfer won’t slow down anyone’s internet connection: iDrive is sending users USB hard drives, which can then be filled with their data and shipped back to iDrive, where it will be added to a user’s sync storage.

iDrive will send users paying for a personal account one hard drive for free per year, and business customers receive three drives per year to sync their files. This offer obviously makes most sense for people who have lots of data, but a slow internet connection. Think DSL, for example, with a lot less upstream than downstream bandwidth, or cable, but with a monthly data cap that you would burn through in no time if you were going to update all your data to the cloud at once.

And with that, iDrive’s Express Sync is also a sign for the sad state of broadband, which makes shipping physical drives faster and less costly than transferring the same amount of data over the internet.