Comcast limits customers to 250 gigs a month

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77 Responses to “Comcast limits customers to 250 gigs a month”

  1. Anonymous says:

    *’nthing the “Japan has Unlimited 100Mbps symmetric FTTH for fucking cheap” statement.*
    *also ‘nthing the “If Japan has it, why can’t major cities?” statement.*

    Seriously. We’ve been played. The government allowed the telcos to take billions of dollars from residential phone users during the 90′s. In exchange, the telcos pledged to light up the nation and bring fiber to *every* home. Where’s that fiber now? Oh… right… The telcos defrauded the government and didn’t build a damn thing. (IOW, the telcos *lied* to us. Big surprise there, right?)

    “AT&T: We’re tired of putting up with your shit!”

  2. The Bus says:

    This is great news.

    Comcast has been, for years now, been criticized for shutting people down who have used their connection excessively. And the problem is people were never told what the cap was, although it was rumored to be in the multiple of GBs per day.

    The argument is if you know what the cap is, someone who is a light user will now become a heavy user and test the limits of the cap, which is stupid and assumes that every Comcast customer is a 14-year old boy.

    Comcast may do a lot of things wrong, but let’s congratulate them on when they’re right. If you don’t like their internet service, switch.

  3. themindfantastic says:

    Comcast has done ‘for the time being’ a reasonably good thing. They came out with ‘unlimited’ and changed the TOS to sometimes cut off people without any sort of recourse, based on ‘excessive’ usage, which isn’t exactly ‘unlimited’ anymore. So people asked ‘Well is what is excessive?!?’ and they came out with a usage amount that was based on photos or songs or videos or emails, which is like comparing oranges to cats. Especially since every file has a different particular size and there is no real uniformity amongst it. This was speculated to be intentionally vague so they could keep the status quo. Now they have been caught fiddling with Torrents and the like and are getting slapped on the wrist by the FCC, but someone said okay lets be particular, and figured 250 gigs ‘SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR ANYONE’. And it is, at the moment, but how long does that last?

    Wasn’t it Bill Gates that once said 640k should be enough for anyone? Things change, and if comcast raises the bar when the bar needs a raising they might only have to deal with bad customer service reviews. This still doesn’t negate the whole ‘Net Neutrality’ thing, thats a whole other can of worms.

  4. Purly says:

    When I work from home, it’s conceivable that I will need to download a 10 GB virtual machine every once and a while.

  5. BdgBill says:

    I have a 30 Gig download and 10 Gig upload limit on my account through Videotron in Montreal. Videotron made no attempt to hide the limits and did not call the service “unlimited”.

    I am on the net for 8 hours a day, watch a good amount of streaming video, listen to hours of streaming audio daily and I have never come close to blowing my download cap.

    It is hard to imagine a legitimate non-commercial use for over 250 gigs a month. Unless you are an enthusiastic collector of Linux distro’s the only way to go over this cap is by being a very heavy torrent user.

    FYI – I think Comcast is one of the most evil companies operating in America.

  6. FZero says:

    250Gb? That’s rather decent, really.

    Here in São Paulo (Brazil’s biggest city), the cap is 120Gb on a 12mbits connection from Virtua – one of the *TWO* (yeah, only two) broadband providers available.

    The cap is even more restrictive for slower connections (60Gb for 6mbits, 20Gb for 2mbits).

  7. bananachair says:

    I’m going to add my useless two cents to the long string of non-americans whose eyes light up at the thought of a 250gb cap, let alone capless internet access. Until about four days ago, the best internet access available to my address was 10gb at 256kb/s, for $60 a month. Now it’s up to a blistering 1500kb/s, still with the miserly 10 gig cap, for $70. No offpeak time, counting uploads and downloads, choked P2P speeds to boot.

    So it’s hard to swallow Comcast being the root of all telecom evil for capping bandwidth at 250 gb. It’s not the end of the internet. I’m sure if anyone actually read the comments it’d put things in perspective.

  8. neWWave says:

    No surprise. Comcast is easily one of the worst companies I’ve had to deal with. They have the market pretty much cornered as far as broadband goes and will do anything to squeeze the customer. There’s bound to be multiple “premium” and “deluxe” internet “packages” soon so you can pay more for more usage. Dropped their internet and phone and can’t wait to drop the cable if FiOS ever comes to town.

  9. Hal says:

    I have a choice between AT&T, RCN and Comcast.
    Not a big fan of any of those companies but at least there is a possibility of changing provider. Comcast might be a monopoly in some areas but not everywhere.
    250Gb may seem adequate now but it will allow isps to charge a lot more for upgraded service as tech improves. Pretty soon we will be paying premium cable type fees for internet access and 250Gb will look like dialup.

  10. Drew from Zhrodague says:

    Here in Pittsburgh, as I mentioned yesterday, Comcast cut 4 channels from their analog television lineup. Now the cable package has one single channel above the federally mandated absolute minimum number of channels for the region: TBS. At least we get Family Guy. Don’t get me started with their digital offerings, as they mutilate the signal before they retransmit it — if the channel isn’t encrypted to begin with. The CSR assured me that they were a business, and that this was their business decision.

    Now you’re telling me that they are specifying a cap on my ‘unlimited’ cable Internet?

    Unfortunately for me, (the pathetic excuse that is) DSL is not available, FIOS is not available, and I can’t even get cable Internet from the competing company that serves people across the freaking street. There’s nobody to switch *to*.

    Time to get together with the other WiFi enthusiasts. Oh wait…

  11. Takuan says:

    a warm up for the iPatriot Act

  12. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    I’m sorry, but what does this mean? 250 gigs doesn’t seem like much to me and I don’t even really torrent things. Just downloading images and running my classes and doing the podcast thing etc. seems like it would take this much.

    I am glad that I do not have Comcast.

    Still, weren’t companies like Comcast given billions and billions of American tax-payer’s dollars in the 90s to upgrade the network infrastructure? And isn’t it the case that that money just disappeared and nothing was ever spent overhauling the system? I am pretty sure that I read something like this somewhere. Can we get our money back since obviously Comcast’s system is insufficient to our needs due to their negligent management of funds?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, 250Gb is a LOT of data.

    But if they do not give every user a meter so that we can track our usage any time we want, screw them.

    (Personally I think that if they have to go through with metering everyone, they’ll use up more resources and money than they want and the whole issue will just quietly go away…. unless they have some specific targets in mind and are using the new rule to justify cutting them off through the legal department.)

  14. musicpsych says:

    I thought the point of broadband was to have more or less unlimited access (at least from my very limited non-technical point of view). To me, having a cap like Comcast is implementing is similar to going back to dialup.

  15. SamF says:

    I’m in the “this is not a bad thing” boat. This cap is being driven by the fact that there are some people out there who will use more than 250GB/month. And the way that cable modem technology works, these people interfere with the quality of the connections of those of us who are well under 250GB/month. So Comcast has 2 choices. They can either install new equipment on their end just to handle these few users, and spread the cost out over ALL of their customers, or they can put on a (pretty generous, at least for the next few years) cap and force the heavy users to either cut back, or pay for their own excess bandwidth. At least they’re now being up front about the fact that they don’t actually offer “unlimited” internet. I think Comcast has actually made a good choice here.

    Of course, it doesn’t make up for all of their other monumentally bad choices and I won’t be switching back to them any time soon.

  16. Bobsledboy says:

    Big deal, most Australians don’t even have 100 gigs a month.

  17. travispulley says:

    I’ve seen this story in a couple places now, and I’m concerned that this will affect me even though I don’t consider myself a “heaviest” user. I haven’t really looked, but there are some specifics I’d like to know:
    1. Is this combined upstream AND downstream? Does it matter if it’s used during peak times?
    2. What penalties would I face for exceeding the limit?

  18. Ceronomus says:

    Can someone put this in perspective for me? I mean, this seems like quite a bit of usage really. I mean, if I come to Boing Boing every day, how much bandwidth is that?

  19. jerwin says:

    250 GB seems really generous, for now. But this might well be an anticompetitive move. iTunes programs are already half a gigabyte for 47 minutes of “SD” resolution. How much more for a HD movie? Will this tend to force customers away from NetFlix and AppleTV and back to Comcast’s on demand services?

    @A New Challenger: I have wasted many hours on you tube. It’s a great service. But sometimes it’s just a tad blocky for my taste. If I had the bandwidth (I don’t), and HD content was available (it isn’t, to my knowledge) I’d gladly take advantage of it.

    Internet audio used to be 56Kbs realaudio. Now, it’s 128Kbs MP3. Live video is also available. MacOSX updates used to be 20 megabytes at most. Now, they’re closer to 150 megabytes. Content demands will expand to fill the available bandwidth.

  20. Jarvik7 says:

    I WISH I had a 250GB cap. With resnet at my university dorm we get a maximum of 5GB per week. When I go home it’s a max of 60-100GB per month (combined up/down) and that’s WITH the top-level packages offered by the ISP duopolies.

  21. Man On Pink Corner says:

    #2: 250 GB is a hell of a lot of data. They are charging you less per month to transfer the data than it would cost you to store it.

    Anyone moving more data than that around should be paying for a higher-grade connection. Otherwise normal users are effectively subsidizing them.

  22. Little John says:

    Ceronomus @ #6:
    It depends on whether you just read the BB posts when they’re fresh, read and re-read them when they’ve become heavily commented, or (heaviest of all) viewed Takuan’s comment history even once.

  23. A New Challenger says:

    10 minute YouTube videos are roughly 100 megabytes. If you watch two hours of Youtube vids a day for a whole month that’s about 36 gigs.

    I don’t know what online gaming uses, or what just viewing web pages daily for oh 4-5 hours would use up, but given that video is the most bandwidth-hungry application I can think of, I think I agree with Man On Pink Corner, certainly on his first point.

    At least there’s a disclosure now.

  24. Matt J says:

    That seems an entirely reasonable cap to me. 250GB is an awful lot of data to transfer over a residential connection. If they advertised plans with this cap as unlimited though, that’s a different issue.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure no one’s going to read this all the way down here… but really, it’s not all that hard to rack up this kind of bandwidth, regardless of how big your harddrive is.

    Youtube videos, everything you surf on the web, VOIP calls, online gaming, remote desktop programs, video conferencing, online radio, and dozens of other things take up huge amounts of bandwidth without touching your harddrive… You may not realize it, but you’re passing massive amounts of data over your internets, without actually accumulating anything on your computer.

    I’m able to get download speeds of 1 megabyte per second,.. someone higher in the thread mentioned you’d need to download at 100kbps all day every day to achieve this, well I’d only need to download for two hours a day…

    Yesterday I downloaded and installed debian linux. It was comprised of three DVD images at 4.5gb each, and once I’d installed them I needed to do a partial dist-upgrade through the system updates thing, downloading another few gigs. On my laptop I was letting some streaming music play, while my roommate played xbox live. I have absolutely no doubt I transfered 20gb yesterday, I’d have that 250gb used up in a week or two.

  26. alisong76 says:

    I’m Australian, and most of my workmates are astonished when I tell them I fork out for a big plan and get 60 a month. However, they somehow always come sidling up to me whenever they want the newest episodes of whatever hot show they’re hooked on. I think half the people in my office had already seen Dexter by the time it aired here (Oi, networks, TAKE THE HINT. You make us wait, we’re going to go elsewhere).

    I don’t even know what I’d do with 250 gig. I am never short on stuff to watch, and it’s not thanks to free to air TV or cable. I do that I’m the only person in the household – it might be a different story if there were more than one person using the account.

  27. MrFinch says:

    Here in beautiful Melbourne, Australia, I’m paying $60 a month for local phone calls and my broadband connection bundled together. With a monthly cap of 20Gb. Upstream and downstream.

    Yes, you read that right. 20Gb.

    Can I has Comcast now pls?

  28. bloodyfork says:

    Please tell me someone is now attempting to disguise regular traffic as VOIP or some similar comcast service that does not count towards a monthly limit.

  29. Simon Bradshaw says:

    250 GB/month equates to 100kB/s all day, every day. Only a few years ago that would have involved getting the phone company to install fifteen extra land lines, putting a 56kbps (i.e. 7kB/s) modem on each, and paying for fifteen phone lines to be in use all the time. (Mux’ing together fifteen serial inputs is left as an exercise for the reader.)

    Compare that to the cost of a broadband connection, and a cap of 250 GB (beyond which I imagine you pay more and/or get your connection throttled) doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

  30. mdhatter says:

    @the bus

    Comcast may do a lot of things wrong,

    agreed

    but let’s congratulate them on when they’re right.

    I will be sure to.

    If you don’t like their internet service, switch.

    I have. Took me 6 whole months of bad service, rude CSRs, and overbilling to tell them to shove it.

    I was thoughtful enough to do so in person at a local office. They refused to take my converter box back – so I just left it there anyow.

    My lawyer clarified the details with them when they tried to get me to pay for my last month – for the second time (for the third time, actually) – and for the box.

    Why do some people feel that corporate entities have feelings and deserve respect, often more so than their flesh and blood customers?

    They do not.

  31. loraksus says:

    #53 posted by Magpye , August 29, 2008 8:47 AM
    Oooh, those naughty telco execs.
    Take a look at BT, NTL, Telewest, Telecom NZ, Telstra or any other privatised telco and you’ll find the same story.

    Great, so all telecoms get a free pass. We really shouldn’t expect anything in return for money given to telecom companies explicitly for upgrades to the network. Or ask for anything in exchange for monopoly status.

    Roughly about the same time when the internet exploded from several thousand users to several million ? What a strange coincidence.

    Yeah, it’s almost like economies of scale and bulk purchasing actually increase your costs! And technology actually costs more and works worse as time goes on.

    I don’t get this, you’re now criticising them for giving you free stuff.
    Sigh…

    The article you’re referring to is simply another example of one eyed, knee jerk tech reporting. We get the same articles written here about Australian broadband, likewise when I was in the UK. It means nothing.

    Yeah, clearly it means nothing, seeing how every aussie in this thread is bitching about how their cap is a fraction of 250gb (we have a few UKers complaining too). Or how people hate BT, NTL, Telewest, Telecom NZ, Telstra because they all… wait for it… provide shitty, expensive service.

    Look, I’ll spell it out for you slowly. You get these articles written in Australia, NZ and the UK because the internet connections there are shit.
    It’s not muckraking, it’s not “one eyed, knee jerk tech reporting”, it’s reasonably accurate reporting that states your ISPs and indeed, virtually your entire telecommunications infrastructure are significantly inferior to other countries. Yes, your internet connectivity may be better than connectivity in countries like Turkey (not so fast Australia), but that isn’t saying much.

    Articles like this are now being written in the states because the USA is getting worse quickly.
    And even though you may be happy with your slow connections, caps and bandwidth throttling, some of us are not interested in regressing. Some of us want some actual goddamn progress and get a decent level of service in exchange for our money.

    Other countries may have faster uptake, but that’s invariably because of recent telco infrastructure upgrades than the US falling behind, much like a bamboo will grow much faster than a redwood oak, but which one is going to be more solid?

    I’d say that depends if the redwood oak is rotten on the inside.

    You have nothing to fret about..
    Clearly.
    NTL/Telewest (currently called Virgin) introduced throttle caps last year. Now people who download as little as 350mb between 10am and 9pm get their connections throttled to 25% of normal speeds because of “excessive bandwidth usage”. Pretty sure when that kicked in people didn’t get a discount on their bills. Another “working example of capitialism” according to some.

    Yea, nothing to fret about, after all, a telecom would never screw its customers.

  32. zuzu says:

    But still, if you are using TBs, buy a commercial line since you are either hosting or running a torrent server. At the curb you share with everyone else and that’s what people seem to forget.

    It’s not commercial traffic. (Never mind that the distinction of “commercial” and “residential” is totally arbitrary and meaningless.)

    It’s not just my legal torrents — which are a more efficient way to deliver traffic than other common standards such as HTTP, FTP, and NNTP, by the way — but also using my VPN to connect to home for VNC sessions to administer the computers on my LAN or fix problems that have cropped up, while I’m on the road. Not to mention that I get UMA / GAN VoIP service from T-Mobile so that I have unlimited minutes anywhere I can pick up 802.11g “Wi-Fi” signal — which is mostly at home where I’m likely to make long conversations. Or that I use EyeTV like a Slingbox to watch local HDTV remotely while I’m traveling.

    And that’s just with the protocols and tools available now; who knows that new functionality and disruptive innovation will occur in the future? And that’s precisely the problem with bandwidth tiering, Quality of Service (or other “smart networks”), and Deep Packet Inspection. It’s the economic calculation problem all over again. Which is why David Reed et. al. were so brilliant with their formulation of the end-to-end principle; the network must be totally agnostic / “dumb” for innovation to flourish on the edges (where we are).

    As Brian Carnell said,

    250gb/month really isn’t that much in a world where pretty much everything is downloadable, where something like Amazon.Com S3 data storage makes a cheap off-site backup system, where I’ve got tens of thousands of photos and other files (not copyrighted stuff) I want to share with family and friends. Those of you not using that much data really aren’t getting the most out of your broadband connection.

    p.s. I actually did the calculation; I can and do expect to move 4.53 terabytes per month of traffic, with my current plan. Verizon offers up to 50Mbps symmetric in truly competitive markets; the PON fibre system they’ve laid down technically offers up to 300Mbps per person. Which is the critical aspect in response to:

    At the curb you share with everyone else and that’s what people seem to forget.

    With DSL, FTTC, and every other technology except cable modems, we don’t share a bandwidth pool with our neighbors. The bandwidth is there for me to use or lose.

  33. John H. says:

    Wow, the number of Comcast apologists here is amazing. I’m surprised no one has yet written about the ever-more-entrenched culture of corporation-begging in the U.S., where people will actually PRAISE news of limits being handed out to them, and thank them for a new service being offered (when a service is a trade).

    In corporation/consumer relationships these days, the corporation increasingly has all the power, and they know it. This can only be a symptom of the laws of capitalism breaking down (such as when there’s a monopoly) over more and more services. The situation won’t change until public outrage becomes great enough that they make it into a voting issue.

  34. Lex10 says:

    It’s preemptive positioning for the time when their subscribers develop their own convergence (in Cable terms, computer on the TV) via Neuros, ATI, big monitors, and other gear and eliminate the TV portion of their bill completely. 7 years ago, profit on Broadband was about a 900% markup, and it funded M&As as well as infrastructure growth. Whatever it is today, it’s still probably egregious, but Wall Street finally understands how as a product Broadband contributes significantly to Comcast’s liquidity. For a while Comcast struggled with communicating to Wall Street that despite waning TV subscriber counts (thanks to DishNetwork, DirecTV, RCN, FiOS, Wow! and others) they had a good thing in Broadband. All Wall Street wanted to see was TV subs – but now Wall Street gets it, and pays attention to Broadband not as an ancillary product, but the potatoes of the meal. So how to protect overall profitability and look accountable? Position yourself to be able to acquire increased revenue when people stop watching TV. If they don’t? Position yourself to be able to acquire increased revenue anyway.

  35. Chan Lee Meng says:

    250GB/mo is a really generous amount.

    If you need more than that every month, then you should be willing to pay for it.

    To put 250GB into perspective:

    You would need 58 standard DVD blanks (4.3GB ea) to store 250GB worth of data.

    If you download mainly ISO image files (assuming 700MB ea), you could get 375 of them.

    If you like TV episodes (about 350MB ea), you could download 714 of them.

    If you like lossless audio files (assuming 50MB ea), you could download 5,000 of them.

    Also note that a fair number of users don’t even have 250GB hard disks on their computers. For notebooks, 250GB hard disks are only just becoming available.

  36. Enochrewt says:

    Ok, first I have to apologize, I’m the one who submitted this story (though I see Xeni has found a more established link for it) as soon as the Comcast press released dropped. I didn’t put a good enough description on it, because I was pissed.

    When I signed up as a Comcast customer, it was under the promise of UNLIMITED high speed internet. People that live in the Comcast market area have seen the ads. They’ve changed recently to not include the “unlimited” part, but I know what I signed up for and there was no cap. It’s a bait and switch.

    It’s unclear on whether the banner ads that appear when I go to comcast.net to check my email are included in the cap. If I have a finite amount of bandwidth now, why is comcast sending me extra data I don’t need? Oki,the KB totals are small, but it’s stuff I didn’t ask for. They shouldn’t be able to push advertising on me and then limit the amount of bandwidth I use. Obviously they can’t be responsible for all ads on all sites, but they sure can be on for their own.

    There is a potential net neutrality issue here. Let’s say that Comcast decides that their content (everything on comcast.com and comcast.net) doesn’t go towards their cap. All of a sudden there is more incentive to get your data from Comcast, rather than a third party source because it doesn’t go towards your cap. This is a very real and sneaky possibility people. They’re limiting other companies ability to deliver you content. It’s just in a different way than you might expect.

    Sure 250GB is a lot (though I’m pretty sure I hit around 200GB/mo). But YouTube is rolling out an HD service, as is Netflix. Game demos are ~1GB on PC, XBox live, and PSN. These new services are going to be more bandwidth intensive in the future. More people might be less inclined to use these services if their worried about how much bandwidth they used, again limiting revenue opportunities for companies that had nothing to do with the Comcast Cap. So if you don’t hit the cap now, what about in one year? Two years? Do you really trust Comcast to raise their cap limit as new more bandwidth-intensive services appear?

    As for all the people in this thread that say “Well, that’s fine, our cap here is only 40/5/60GB, when you signed up for the service you knew about the cap from the get go. Comcast customers didn’t. We were told itwas unlimited.

    The most shocking news of all this is: If you go over the cap twice in 6 months, they terminate your service Really Comcast? That’s the way to grow your business? By cancelling paying customers?

  37. Magpye says:

    Sorry, is it April 1 already ? I can’t believe this is even news..

    Comcast are being damn generous in my not-so-humble opinion. That’s 8GB a day !!

    Me playing 4 hours of playing TF2 uses up only 800MB, and that’s on an ADSL 1 connection.
    My entire household doesn’t get through the 60GB monthly allowance, and that’s with video streaming, torrents and a VoIP PABX.

    I can’t imagine what people would use in excess of 250GB for in a household.
    If you’re needing more than this, then you either:
    - have no life outside the internet, or
    - are running a business, which deserves a business connection.

    Basically, Comcast are telling you to pay for what you get, and that’s a damn good allowance by anyone’s standards.
    Seriously, anyone whining about this, please stay home, because most of the world can’t even sign up for residential 250GB plans, let alone complain about breaching them.

    Complaining about being ‘capped’ is pretty pathetic..

  38. Sean Grimm says:

    I’m not sure what my up and down speeds are in a given month, but I’m not the only person or computer on this connection. I’ve also have a PS3 that lets me play games on-line, and download game demos and new content. So what happens if you go over? Does an alert screen pop up and say, “SORRY YOU’VE RAN OUT OF INTERNETS. GIVE US MORE MONEY AND YOU CAN HAVE INTERNETS BACK.”

  39. badger510 says:

    The main reason Comcast will do this, is to prevent IPTV to get a chance. They are trying to protect their TV and VOD services. By limiting, they will ensure that no one will be able to rely on services that may start competing with their core business. Netflix and iTunes rentals are their biggest concern. Both undercut Comcast in price. And VOD services are a big chuck of their profitability. So much for not having net neutrality.

  40. wilco says:

    Broadband providers shouldn’t sell ‘unlimited’ usage packages. They simply cannot live up to it. Most providers have a 50:1 contention ratio (some of the good ones maybe 20:1), meaning that you share your bandwidth with 49 others. So if all of you get online at the same time and start down/uploading big files, the provider can’t provide anywhere near the promised bandwidth.

    Now that most people are online all the time, this has become a large problem. But their problem is not really the total usage / month, it is the bandwidth at peak times. But it’s easier to measure total usage / month.

    And I agree with Man on Pink Corner that 250 GB / month is a lot. Pricing should be according to usage. So Comcast should offer a range of caps starting at much cheaper prices. The famous 20% that cause 80% of the traffic should pay a proportionate amount, so that the other 80% can have proportionately (much) lower rates.

  41. mdhatter says:

    it begins

  42. Magpye says:

    @29
    I wonder what the comcastic posters here will say then?
    Actually, I’m interested in seeing what these people think now.

    29 posts in, and you’ve not seen a trend ?

    The USA used to be fourth in broadband penetration
    It’s pretty clear the USA isn’t winning.

    What do you get when you win – a prize ?
    Take note, you’re 15th in the world. Y’know , out of 195 countries that’s not a bad placing.
    That’s also only counting broadband. Wireless, 3G, HSDPA, etc aren’t included in those stats.


    Why? I suspect that it’s partially due to all the wonderful people here, who are praising (with tears of joy in their eyes)

    Wonderful people ? Your words..they touch me and make me glow warmly inside..
    So far most of the posts have been less about Comcast flag waving, but more incredulous that anyone would find this to be something to complain about.
    Tears of joy ? More like tears of derision..

    Do note;
    1. The distinct lack of an announcement about a price cut to coincide with this.

    Hmmm, how evil. A working example of capitialism.

    2. Comcast is a monopoly who took an ton (about 200 billion) of public money to “upgrade their network” a few years back.
    And let me guess, the money disappeared and the network didn’t get upgraded, right ?
    Oooh, those naughty telco execs.
    Take a look at BT, NTL, Telewest, Telecom NZ, Telstra or any other privatised telco and you’ll find the same story.

    3. The price of a residential broadband package has only gone up in the past 10 years.

    Roughly about the same time when the internet exploded from several thousand users to several million ? What a strange coincidence.
    In that time, you’ve moved from 1200 baud modems to 24Mb ADSL2+ speeds. Of course, the underlying structure didn’t need to be upgraded at all.
    Oh wait, that’s what all that money was for..

    4. Comcast’s voip, on demand and other products are conveniently exempt from the bandwidth cap. Unlike, you know, everything else. Funny that.

    I don’t get this, you’re now criticising them for giving you free stuff.
    Wow, tough crowd.

    The article you’re referring to is simply another example of one eyed, knee jerk tech reporting. We get the same articles written here about Australian broadband, likewise when I was in the UK. It means nothing.
    Increased penetration doesn’t equate to better quality (I’m trying hard not to make a smutty quip right now).
    Other countries may have faster uptake, but that’s invariably because of recent telco infrastructure upgrades than the US falling behind, much like a bamboo will grow much faster than a redwood oak, but which one is going to be more solid ?

    You have nothing to fret about..

  43. Anonymous says:

    Lucky bastards. Here’s an excerpt from the San Bruno Cable Acceptable Use Policies (San Bruno is just south of San Francisco, and their cable system is an awesome example of the dangers of government mandated monopolies):

    The guidelines for Bandwidth/Network Traffic Usage/month for each service package are the following: Residential – totaling 5 Gigabytes, or 3 Gigabytes download/2 Gigabytes upload; Home Office – totaling 15 Gigabytes, or 10 Gigabytes download/5 Gigabytes upload; Small Office – totaling 25 Gigabytes, or 18 Gigabytes download/7 Gigabytes upload; Professional Office – totaling 60 Gigabytes, or 40 Gigabytes download/20 Gigabyte upload. Users exceeding the Bandwidth/Network Traffic amounts specified for their Service Package may be charged $10.00 for each Gigabyte used in excess of their specified amount.

  44. sabik says:

    @Magpye, I suspect the reason it’s news is that an honest cap is a great improvement on, uhm, certain other techniques previously associated with Comcast.

    η

  45. jerwin says:

    @Lionel

    A comcast provided tool would be quite nice. Of course this can cut both ways– if a customer sees that she’s only using 80 GB per month, this could giver her license to be more profligate with her bandwidth.

  46. Beard of Bees says:

    I’m sorry, Two Hundred and Fifty GIGS?

    Here in the U.K, we’re only just now coming to what is hopefully an end to standardly capped broadband packages. For the last few years, most popular services have had caps in the region of 5-20 GB/Month. I’ve paid what has generally worked out to be double or three times as much for my broadband as the cheapest available option, just to keep uncapped downloads. Even ‘uncapped’, of course, is still limited to fair usage policies.

    250GB is more than enough for most residential users. I’m a heavy Internet user; my PC is now, whilst I’m not at home, downloading via bittorrent all day, and this evening I will watch some online video, maybe play some World of Warcraft; whilst my wife makes a video call to her folks or listens to streaming music. The net connection is in constant use, and we don’t get through even 60-70GBs.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand what you guys are freakin’ about… Here in Belgium I have 20 Gigs a month and I pay like 42 euro’s for that… and thats the ONLY ISP that provides cable access. The others are adsl which is not that fast (in my opinion).
    You americans just don’t realize how good you have it concerning internet access!

  48. rimrender says:

    If you are using more than 250GB a month you are part of the problem and should buy commercial service. The internet is not some magical limitless place. Its an electronic system with hardware and logical limits.
    I can set up a LAN on the road with a dedicated T1 serving 200 person team using VPN for everything from Outlook to SAN access and they rarely will go over that in a month.

  49. sturtus says:

    For consideration:

    How have energy costs affected internet service providers? Local network hubs and switches require power, and the more data passing through those locations, the more electricity this costs the provider lowering their bottom line. I’m curious if anyone knows of any real studies that show a kW/s to kb/s statistic. Could this be a valid reason to cap usage?

  50. Enochrewt says:

    Until I get notice from Comcast about these cap, I haven’t been informed. I just happen to see it on the internet, there has been no official notice from the company. They have stated that the notice will be in my bill. My Comcast bill usually comes on the 22-26th of the month. I just recieved it for this month about three days ago. There was no notice of a 250GB cap in it. I’ll recieve my bill the same time next month. Do you consider 4-8 days ample notice?

    Net neutrality a dead horse? Wow. You won’t miss it until it’s gone then eh? And yes, in my opinion it is unfair to the free market to exempt Comcast partners from the cap. They’re trying to strangle out the competition in order to promote their own services.

    I don’t see how anyone can defend Comcast for giving less service for the same amount of money. If I go into a restaurant, order food and the waiter/ess tells me “Sorry, it’s going to take longer because table 9 over there ordered something really complicated”, I’d find it unacceptable and leave. As a customer, table 9′s order isn’t my fucking problem. What one customer does shouldn’t have an effect on another customer. So just like how I’ll leave that restaurant, I’ll leave Comcast.

  51. zuzu says:

    Everyone saying that 250GB is “not bad” or “more than sufficient” can suck a fat one.

    I regularly move terabytes of data per month on my Verizon FiOS fibre-to-the-curb line at 15Mbps symmetric (up and down) for $45/month. I fully expect 15Mbps to mean 15Mbps * 60s/min * 60min/hr * 24hr/day & 30day/month = Xbps / 8b/B / 1024B/MB / 1024MB/GB / 1024 GB/TB.

    But, according to you lot, “640k ought to be enough for anyone”. Remember when you had 4GB hard drives and 33MHz processors? Same deal for bandwidth; we need exponential increases in capacity for exponentially increasing demand.

    It’s nice that Comcast can no longer get away with the fraud of “unlimited” that’s not really unlimited, but this still neglects the total lack of infrastructure investment leaving the United States far far behind places like South Korea where deregulation of Korea Telecom allowed for the development of 100Mbps symmetric for $15/month.

    * Assuring Scarcity by Bob Frankston
    * Overprovisioning is the most cost-effective way to provide bandwidth according to David Isenberg, author of Rise of the Stupid Network
    * Deep Packet Inspection meets Net Neutrality at Ars Technica
    * Regulatory capture and rent seeking by Comcast

  52. danegeld says:

    I think you’d have to try pretty hard to download 250GB of data a month as a home user.

    that’s about 2 DVDs a day, every day.

  53. Takuan says:

    Hear Hear! “Unlimited” either means unlimited or “the company is a thief”. As to “enough”: who is to say what I may need tomorrow? These greedy, dishonest, bloodsucking, techo-laggard, lying businesses need a barbed lash on their backs to keep them halfway in line. Some corrupt CEO’s “need” for a new Porsche every second day should not be allowed to back-seat the absolute socio-economic necessity of building more back-bone.

  54. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Okay, thanks for putting this into perspective for me..I just figured that if I could take 2 gigs worth of photos in 3 hours at the library, watching videos online must put me way over 250gb a month online. Thanks.

    Still, where’d all that money go?

  55. rimrender says:

    I agree with the fact that the cap will come down. That is inevitable. Leaving it at 250 would be livable though. And the term ‘unlimited’ is a lie, speeds are never what they are advertised for residential. But the bandwidth usage of the average home user goes up by a factor almost early.
    I also agree that tax money built the initial infrastructures and that growth has not been maintained and that core infrastructure should not be commercially owned.

    But still, if you are using TBs, buy a commercial line since you are either hosting or running a torrent server. At the curb you share with everyone else and that’s what people seem to forget.

  56. rrsafety says:

    This is just the first step. No doubt the cap amount will be cut in half in another six months. Book it.

  57. Brian Carnell says:

    @56 wrote:

    “Everyone saying that 250GB is “not bad” or “more than sufficient” can suck a fat one.

    I regularly move terabytes of data per month on my Verizon FiOS fibre-to-the-curb line at 15Mbps symmetric (up and down) for $45/month. I fully expect 15Mbps to mean 15Mbps * 60s/min * 60min/hr * 24hr/day & 30day/month = Xbps / 8b/B / 1024B/MB / 1024MB/GB / 1024 GB/TB.

    But, according to you lot, “640k ought to be enough for anyone”. Remember when you had 4GB hard drives and 33MHz processors? Same deal for bandwidth; we need exponential increases in capacity for exponentially increasing demand.”

    I second that. I’m on Charter and regularly do >300gb of data a month. The people who chime in and say “oh, I only use X/month”…well, good for you.

    250gb/month really isn’t that much in a world where pretty much everything is downloadable, where something like Amazon.Com S3 data storage makes a cheap off-site backup system, where I’ve got tens of thousands of photos and other files (not copyrighted stuff) I want to share with family and friends.

    Those of you not using that much data really aren’t getting the most out of your broadband connection.

    • Antinous says:

      Dearest friends from down under,

      I’m really sorry that you live in the ninth circle of hell. But that doesn’t mean that living in the seventh circle is a picnic, either. Maybe instead of telling us to stop whining because you’ve got it worse, you should try getting a better deal for yourselves.

  58. dequeued says:

    Stop apologizing for comcast everyone!

    How long do you think this cap is going to last?
    Pretty soon we will be down to 40G a month on our “unlimited” plans.
    Of course, streaming movies from comcast’s partners wont count toward the cap.

    Oh well, I guess I have to tolerate it, it’s not as if there is a free market for internet access in America.
    I know, lets give comcast even more authority to meddle with our connections, that will help encourage competition!

  59. peregrine says:

    “…he or she may receive a call from Comcast’s Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use.”

    AKA – abuse@comcast.com

    I get that from my Comcast-workin roommate. So yeah, peace love and abuse.

  60. Chewie_nz says:

    @ #14

    100 gigs! ha!

    WE KIWI’S ARE LUCKY IF WE CAN TOP 30 GIGS

  61. Anonymous says:

    I can’t resist the urge to add a “I’m Australian, have a tissue” comment. But I’ll go a little further than that.

    Back in the days before anyone really had ADSL and cable was the broadband of choice, the companies did actually offer ‘Unlimited’ plans that were not actually unlimited. We’re way past though now and few if any ISPs mark anything as unlimited.

    But you should actually be happy the AUP gives you a number *at all*. For a long time here Optus had a plan with no explicitly defined cap. I suspect they just send warnings to the top x percent of leechers.

    And as a few people have said (and possibly not all whinging Australians) – 250gig is actually quite a lot. Anything on the net that is realtime (like gaming or youtube) uses surprisingly little bandwidth. That’s why it works in the first place. A family of hardcore pirates shouldn’t even chew through that much on a regular basis so I’m sure your average family will be fine.

    And finally I’m a little disappointed to see this on here at all. I know BB does a lot to keep the internet free and fair but you’re going to have to pick your battles and unfortunately this is not one of them.

  62. Anonymous says:

    ZUZU:

    VPN and UMA in and of themselves use little bandwidth. It is the services you use over VPN and UMA that would use the bandwidth. VOIP, and VNC do not use significant bandwidth. Not enough to even be statistically significant over normal HTTP traffic in a month unless you are on VOIP/VNC extremely excessively (approaching 24 hours a day).

    The number of people who would need backup of 20TB of files for personal use would not even register as a demographic. For the populace who have these kind of needs (less than .1% of the broadband users) there are alternatives. I find it beyond belief that you are attempting to store 20 TB of data on S3. Storage costs alone are in excess of $3000 a month. For the cost of 3 months you could build/purchase a proper local backup system.

    As far as torrents are concerned, legal or illegal, moving a TB over torrent a month is excessive and also unlikely unless you are hosting a number of very popular torrents.

    Given FIOS (15Mbps up and down), TOR could use that kind of bandwidth if you do not cap usage. But even then I am not sure that would qualify as reasonable (or common) bandwidth usage.

    So in short if you want/need that level of throughput in a month shop around to find a service that allows for that level and accept that you are not a typical broadband user. Not even close.

    In the near future 250GB per month may be anemic for a much larger audience than it is now. HD Streaming video/movies on demand could make that level of usage more common. Even that does not change the fact that your requirements are beyond belief for a personal user at this time.

  63. Takuan says:

    what are the universal human rights?

  64. mello clello says:

    @25
    ‘Sup.
    I used to think our 10GB deal was pretty sweet. Then I discovered how great American users had it. Screw Telecom NZ, and screw the Labour Party for selling it in 1990. And doubly screw the National Party for proposing to pay Telecom to upgrade its network now. We don’t need fiber-to-the-home, we need a better international pipe, stat!

  65. ozjimbob says:

    Oooh poor darlings! As another Australian, I’m paying $70 a month for a 5gb limit, at 512kbps, and in my location (15 minutes from a capital city) that is honestly the best internet access available to me. They also slow-down peer to peer traffic to dial-up speeds, although I have found ways around that. Most other people I know have caps of 10 to 20 gigs. But I guess it’s what you’re used to, isn’t it? Most Americans I talk to are shocked we have caps at all, which is weird, as most services we rely on (electricity, gas, phone) are on a pay-per-use basis.

  66. ozjimbob says:

    I should note that when we go over our caps in Australia, we don’t get a nice phone call “notifying us of our excessive use”. We get switched to dial-up speed, or in the case of certain telcos, start getting charged at 19c a megabyte!

  67. Anonymous says:

    I contacted Comcast today and confirmed the following:

    - The 250 GB limit applies even if you’ve paid for premium tiers

    - Comcast does not offer customers any way of knowing how close they are to that limit

    Although I don’t use any of the classic p2p clients, I’ve got to believe that between my VoIP for my business phone and mobile phone via Sprint Airave (a femtocell that reroutes cellular calls over my Internet connection), corporate VPN, and regular use of Netflix streaming there’s a decent chance this limit could affect me in the future. As it stands, I spend over $200 a month with Comcast services and I will not hesitate to take all of it away if their new limit affects me. If I were a product manager at Comcast, I would think long and hard about the customers I’m chasing away by not letting customers see their actual usage. Qwest is about to install 20 Mbit FTTH in my area and they may well get me back as a customer at this rate.

    It’s already bad enough that Comcast trashes my performance every time I download a legitimate and fully legal BitTorrent (and lied about it for months until they were caught), but if they’re going to set limits without providing customers visibility on those limits (or encourage upselling to premium tiers by raising the limits for premium customers), then I get the message loud and clear: Power users not welcome here. Be careful what you with for, Comcast….

  68. cstatman says:

    who is better? is ATT Uverse really any better?

    no, seriously, I am asking, cause I would change, I just do not know which is the lesser evil, or better provider

  69. slowth says:

    I’m glad most of you think this cap is reasonable. Within the next few years, the bandwidth cap will periodically decrease, but the price will probably increase.

    “Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 – 3 GB” so in the near future we will reduce our bandwidth cap to accommodate our users.

    Let’s not delude ourselves, this is only the beginning.

  70. loraksus says:

    #23 posted by rrsafety , August 29, 2008 4:06 AM
    This is just the first step. No doubt the cap amount will be cut in half in another six months. Book it.

    Yup. But more importantly, the other providers out there (i.e. the “competition”) will make similar announcements soon. It’s not collusion, of course, if one company does it first and others follow.

    And then, a few months later, even further reductions will be announced – exactly how it happened in Canada, the land of 60 gig caps.
    In fact, 2 years ago, several major ISPs reduced the cap to as little as 20 gigs a month for residential packages. They only switched to the “standard 60″ when they realized they spent too much time dealing with angry customers on the phone, since the cost of bandwidth pales to the cost of having even a minimum wage CSR on the phone.

    I wonder what the comcastic posters here will say then?
    Actually, I’m interested in seeing what these people think now.

    The USA used to be fourth in broadband penetration and speeds. That was 2001.
    In 2006, the USA fell to 12th.
    In 2008, 15th.

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/services/data/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=207801621

    It’s pretty clear the USA isn’t winning.

    Why? I suspect that it’s partially due to all the wonderful people here, who are praising (with tears of joy in their eyes) Comcast’s decision to cut back the level of service like it’s the greatest thing since the introduction of juche.

    Do note;
    1. The distinct lack of an announcement about a price cut to coincide with this.
    2. Comcast is a monopoly who took an ton (about 200 billion) of public money to “upgrade their network” a few years back.
    3. The price of a residential broadband package has only gone up in the past 10 years.
    4. Comcast’s voip, on demand and other products are conveniently exempt from the bandwidth cap. Unlike, you know, everything else. Funny that.

    It’s really no wonder why the USA is lagging behind other countries. I’m sure Comcast and the other telecoms are thrilled that the majority of their locked in customers are mindless sheep who enjoy reductions in already pathetic service, and increasing prices.
    I’m sure they also appreciate the fact that their average consumer is clueless as to how far behind other first world countries we are.

    And before you reply spouting some bullshit about costs, stop. If someone in Japan can make a profit providing providing truly unlimited 100mbit fiber for less than $40 a month, so can someone in the USA. If you’re going to use the “OMG USA IS TEH BIG” argument, you should be able to get a local point to point connection in a major city at that speed for about that price).

  71. soupisgoodfood says:

    250GB a month? That’s 25x the traffic for the plan we can afford here in NZ.

  72. 14caratseadawg says:

    I think a great many of you are missing the point: there was no previously stated cap and now there is one. Having a service downgraded is never a good thing, even if by comparison it is still better than what some other people are receiving. I would probably never go over that limit, but the taste of the cap is still rotten.

  73. Phil Ward says:

    Wow 250 gigs?

    British Telecoms latest budget broadband offering has a 10gig per month, down AND up limit…

  74. zuzu says:

    Or is it several thousand snapshots in raw format from your megapixel digital camera each month?

    Yes, also source video, uploaded to the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, blip.tv, Revver, and MiNDtv.

    Plus the aforementioned VPN, VNC, and UMA services.

    Do I understand you correctly, you *upload* 250 Gigs (or more) in a month of new, original content to share with “family and friends”?

    It’s called remote backup. I dunno about you, but I have approximately 20TB of personal data archived, and it sure as hell needs to be backed up. (e.g. All of my Tivo / EyeTV time-shifted recordings, all of my purchased CD and DVD backups, etc.)

    Just wait until I get my perpetual SQUID cache running.

    Or when YaCy grows in popularity as a P2P search engine.

    And then there’s running TOR and I2P for cryptographically guaranteed anonymity online.

    However, this is all truly irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the bandwidth is used for. Neither is a conception of “typical residential user” relevant. According to the end-to-end principle all that should matter is that supply keep up with demand for pushing bits. If the pipe is filling up, we’re going to need a bigger pipe.

    Light up all that dark fibre already!

  75. Anonymous says:

    This is a bit rubbish as we look to the big international ISPs to create tension back home but…

    I pay $NZ50 a month for a 5GB limit. As in, if i go over my 5GB limit within that month, my connection is draconianly (word?) slowed to sub dial-up.

    But still… if Comcast follow trends set by Telecom New Zealand (or British)… isn’t that terribly backwards AND just artificially creating revenue for bandwidth, which should logically become cheaper over time?

    Sum: NZ broadband sucks, Comcast sucks worse?

  76. zuzu says:

    I think a great many of you are missing the point: there was no previously stated cap and now there is one. Having a service downgraded is never a good thing, even if by comparison it is still better than what some other people are receiving. I would probably never go over that limit, but the taste of the cap is still rotten.

    Maybe people can dig up all their old free AOL hours to use! :p

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