Just to kind of put this in perspective, the page for this thread before I posted was 123,127 bytes, but comes out to 17,645 bytes when compressed for about an 85% compression ratio.
The images, css, js and all that comes out to 141,965 bytes. Of that, 63,873 is CSS & JS files that compress to 13,937 bytes for a 78% compression ratio.
The images come out to 78,092 bytes, and compress to 81,191 bytes for a compression ratio of -4%. (That number would be worse in real life as I'm compressing them all at once and not individually, so the compression overheard is only counted once per se.)
Still, the textual components (31,582 bytes) of the page are about 40% the size of the images. Not compressed, they're 3.4x larger (340%).
If the numbers were coming from some kind of researcher, it's most likely that the 200KB figure includes compression for text elements (htm, js, css, etc.).
Not wanting to be remiss in this, from a random porn forum page I get 423,208 bytes of images. i.e. Surfing porn will kill bandwidth very quickly. At that rate, you could surf about 2,000 pages before you ran out of 1GB of bandwidth. At 20 pages per day, that's 100 days, but who only surfs 20 pages of porn?
I did the same for the front page of Amazon.com and there you get 282,658 bytes of images, which is comparable to surfing porn (607,248 bytes total without compression). i.e. Online shopping malls are visually intense. Again, if you're looking to buy a new bike, some clothes, or a book, you're likely to surf more than 20 pages if you're doing some comparison shopping.
Basically, I think the 200KB number is a bit skewed. It was probably true about 5 years ago, but sites are moving towards much richer and visually intense experiences now. The money is in delivering fantastic experiences to people that are likely to spend it. i.e. Those with broadband. I'm not saying that people with dialup are poor and won't spend money, but there is a much better chance to make a sale to someone with broadband.
I remember when Windows XP came out, and consistently I saw that sales were heavily skewed towards people with XP over those with Windows 98. Same basic principle there. The web skews towards the latest & greatest, and leaves behind the old & tired (dialup, 98).
I suppose the point is that the web is skewing towards image and multimedia heavy pages that can easily shoot over 200KB, and often in the MB range. Take a blog page with a video for example. i.e. The web is bandwidth intense now.
In either event, the upshot is that I agree with you: "GET THE 10GB!
" I just think that I should "raise the panic level" a bit there.