Comcast's Usage Cap: What Does It Mean?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 29, 2008

Comcast has posted a change to its broadband user policy today. It’s now limiting subscribers to 250 Gigabytes of monthly usage, which can include e-mailing friends or uploading photos.

Near term, the limit may not do much to curtain the average consumer’s Web usage. After all, 250 Gigabytes is a lot: You could download 100 HD movies over the Web, and still have some of that capacity left. Chances are, 99% of consumers will not even notice the change — for now.

But the decision carries weighty implications for the future. As Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett pointed out in his Aug. 29 note, “While the usage level specified is high, it is now finite…. A line has been crossed.” This is the end of unlimited broadband use as we know it. The end of an era.

Chances are, other broadband service providers will follow suit and institute similar — or even lower — limits. In Texas, Time Warner Cable is already trialing usage-based, or tiered broadband pricing. Users’ monthly fee are tied to their broadband usage, which is capped at 5 Gigabytes to 40 Gigabytes. That’s actually not that much: A colleague routinely backs up 8 Gigabytes of photos and video a week. I bet that if you start tracking your broadband usage, with software listed here, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised.

AT&T and Verizon may soon follow in Time Warner’s footsteps, say analysts. I am still waiting for comments from both companies.

In the coming years, as users start to download HD movies en masse, and to watch a ton of Web video, even the Comcast cap — a cap that seems ample today — may not seem so high. A growing percentage of users may have to curb their online activities. And that’s bad news for Web businesses such as those pushing bandwidth-thirsty videos: Think YouTube, Netflix and Joost. Consumer groups hint that the usage cap could eventually curb innovation on the Internet; and, unless Comcast and other providers agree to eventually bump up their usage cap, I tend to agree with that view.

That said, I believe that Comcast and others will be reasonable, and will increase their caps in the future as needed. That will have nothing to do with goodwill, and everything to do with rising competition. Home broadband providers are increasingly competing with a slew of new, wireless broadband carriers like Clearwire.

Traditional wireless networks are getting faster, so that many people now access the Internet via mobile devices like the iPhone for around $30 a month. With consumers having more choices about which broadband provider to go with, Comcast and others simply can’t afford to tighten their usage caps too much – or to keep them at the current levels for long.

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Reader Comments

Dante

August 29, 2008 04:46 PM

Depending on pricing. If more landline based services curtail their bandwidths, cellular may become more and more popular. Especially those with unlimited bandwidths and high speed, like Sprint's. And using a Windows based smartphone allows one to turn the smartphone into a modem by simply plugging it into the PC's USB port.

jim

August 29, 2008 05:09 PM

I'm giving NetMeter a try, to see how endangered I will be as an academic/professional user, as opposed to a hardcore file sharer/video downloader. I don't think I'm in danger, but after 6 hours of trying the program, Comcast could be if enough people try it. In spite of their years of advertising that they were faster than DSL, the window showing upload/download speeds shows that the max speeds attained are slightly less than that of standard DSL, and are only 15-20% of what Comcast claims to offer. Perhaps if they had to disclose true performance as opposed to potential system speed?

anarchyreigns

August 29, 2008 05:41 PM

This is nothing more than an attempt to get around "net neutrality" using bandwidth issues as a red herring. Comcast doesn't want Directv, Vudu, iTunes, NetFlix and the YouTubes of the world competing with their own offerings. That's what this is all about. How long will it take for a Directv customer using Directv's "On Demand" service (which uses the Internet) to reach the cap? How about a Vudu or Roku customer? What about when YouTube has high definition videos, and so on and so on?

The Canadians ISP's made the same arguments when they instituted their caps that American ISP's are now making, then later when investigations were done, it was shown that they had no bandwidth clogging issues at all.

I'm sure Comcast has no problem with you downloading their own video services via Comcast On Demand all day long without any limitations whatsoever.

These kinds of caps will forever change how the Internet can be used. Don't let them do it! Lodge your complaints with your local franchise board, representatives and the FCC.

anarchyreigns

August 29, 2008 05:56 PM

This is nothing more than an attempt to get around "net neutrality" using bandwidth issues as a red herring. Comcast doesn't want Directv, Vudu, iTunes, NetFlix and the YouTubes of the world competing with their own offerings. That's what this is all about. How long will it take for a Directv customer using Directv's "On Demand" service (which uses the Internet) to reach the cap? How about a Vudu or Roku customer? What about when YouTube has high definition videos, and so on and so on?

The Canadians ISP's made the same arguments when they instituted their caps that American ISP's are now making, then later when investigations were done, it was shown that they had no bandwidth clogging issues at all.

I'm sure Comcast has no problem with you downloading their own video services via Comcast On Demand all day long without any limitations whatsoever.

These kinds of caps will forever change how the Internet can be used. Don't let them do it! Lodge your complaints with your local franchise board, representatives and the FCC.

ExATCer

August 29, 2008 06:18 PM

This should be very interesting to the groups that are planning on using Broadband for Movies and Television access. Maybe they are in this together?

Chuck G.

August 29, 2008 06:22 PM

This is a HUGE mistake on the part of Comcast and any other company stupid enough to do this. This will do nothing but hinder the internet and the progress it has done and will do for the future. Every company that does this will get a backlash, granted the bandwidth given is enough for now but it won't be for long. This reminds me of the days with AOL CDs that gave you 600 hours of internet time. They crossed a line alright and it won't go well at all by anyone who uses the web, especially those who live off it for their income!

uhuh

August 29, 2008 08:19 PM

I find this to be more than reasonable. Did you ever try direcway? On direcway you coundn't even make it through half a day without reaching their cap. After about 100meg they would cut you down to about 14k transfer rate.
Comcast made the right decision here. In order to use 250gig in a month you need to seriously be hogging bandwidth. That's like Kirsty Alley pulling a chair up to the buffet table and camping out! People have to start using some sense. The reason laws are made is not because of the smart people who excersize self control.

Anon

August 29, 2008 10:30 PM

100 movies in less than 250 gigabytes means less that 2.5 gigabytes per movie, on average. That is NOT HD in my book. That is smaller than a standard definition movie on a regular DVD. I will grant that DVD compression is out of date, but you still cannot fit an HD movie in 2.5GB.

A single-layer blu-ray disc is 25GB, and a dual-layer blu-ray disc is 50GB.

The sorry state of broadband speeds in the US are why truly HD movies are not available yet for download. These bandwidth caps make it even less likely that we will see that any time soon.

mike

August 29, 2008 11:01 PM

Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have an unwritten rule or its in small print that their monthly caps are at 5GB. Really there isnt many choices left out there. Right now 250GB/month is a lot but in 5 years that will be a real problem.

Sankar

August 30, 2008 03:11 AM

A very unfortunate development. I hope Verizon and AT&T do not do this which would eventually force Comcast to repeal the limit imposed.

I think its like forcing a natural evolution process by trying mutate a gene. But as Mendel's Theory states the fittest would survive the evolution and I think in this game Internet is fitter than its facilitators. So service providers will be eventually forced to open their shutters. How long will that take might be the question.

Craig

August 30, 2008 05:57 AM

I'm from the UK and we've always had caps and 'fair use policies'. I'm pretty sure I break my cap quite a few times but I don't think my ISP has done anything about it.

LessThanVirtuous

August 30, 2008 07:10 AM

To expect internet speed and network capacities to keep up with and exceed the consumption of efficiency-disrupting content is a tad too much to ask. I am all for ever-increasing tech innovations and greatly appreciate how technology and the web has truly enabled the masses and entreprenuers to offer useful services and products.
Case in point: Netflix/Blockbuster has wonderfully proven that most efficient mode of data transfer exceeding multi-GB content is in fact, snail mail. The effectiveness of the medium is amplified for HD content.
With median download speeds of 2.35MBits/s = ~300KBytes/s (excludes the 15% Dial-Up users), a 50GBytes movie would take ~48.5 hrs.
Where's the logic. It would be great to click and download a movie. But, so would downloading a pizza. Learn to be happy with where we are. Another great wave of innovation will make your lives easier.

http://www.speedmatters.org/document-library/sourcematerials/cwa_report_on_internet_speeds_2008.pdf

Caroline

August 30, 2008 10:05 AM

It is already a problem for those of us who use the internet for work purposes. I regularly transfer upwards of 50-100 gigs of materials a week for my job. Then, I don't have a TV, so every show I watch is via NBC/ABC/FOX/TNT.com or Hulu.

With this cap in place, not only will my ability to make money go way down, but I won't have the internet for regular surfing or entertainment purposes.

I'm hardly the only one this will affect in such a way.

AJ

August 30, 2008 11:50 AM

Dude, Mike,

Seriously, you need to get your facts correct. That 5 GB is for mobile phone users...I don't even know that Sprint offers broadband for home

Ryan

August 30, 2008 11:53 AM

Too bad this is going to slow the adoption of web video (hulu.com and joost.com) being a substitute for cable TV.

Is this not anti-competitive?

People will talk caps and the uninformed will stick with paying their cable TV bill.

john

August 30, 2008 12:45 PM

google, yahoo and microsoft have the opportunity to enter this business and be the first one to give the consumers an option to opt out of any company that would put limits or cap on internet usage.

Bruce Cassler

August 30, 2008 01:55 PM

The old saying is, "Water is free at the spring, but the man who pipes it to your house deserves to be paid". How much? What a wise business man would charge to keep a prudent customer and what a customer would pay to get the service.
If that doesn't work out for everyone, there is always REGULATION. Let's try to keep this game in our own park.

Sir Michael L. Foley

August 30, 2008 02:05 PM

Well, Comcast just lost my business, hope others follow suit.

Robb

August 30, 2008 02:35 PM

Best thing for Comcast; Send all the heavy users to DSL and clog up their systems; I'm sure telcos now whats coming their way-lol.

BobDawg

August 30, 2008 04:13 PM

They say to search the web for bandwidth tools, and to remember that each computer in the home must be monitored; but what about the devices that are not PCs or Macs, like the Xbox360, PS3, Wii, or many other devices. Until they provide a viewable account bandwidth meter, I will continue to believe they are cooking the books and they have no way to disprove it. Even accepted meters are "defective", just look at car odometers for instance (http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-02-19-odometer-usat_x.htm).

Wess Stewart

August 30, 2008 05:07 PM

So lemme see if I understand this...

If I pay for service and have a wi-fi home network (even with it secured...nothing is unhackable) and someone from the neighborhood uses my connection, it will hurt me.

Good thinking, Comcast.

It sounds like a money move to me.

anarchyreigns

August 30, 2008 05:24 PM

@Uhuh;

You have no idea what you're talking about. Whatsoever.

MAD

August 30, 2008 06:20 PM

I am calling them and canceling my service. This is ridiculous and for the reasons anarchyreigns gave. We must stop this. Comcast has been trying to ruin the free and open internet as much as possible. And they are doing a great job of it. I use 250GB while I sleep. With 4 other people in the same house using internet heavy applications and games. We need to show them they go broke with out us. Even just canceling for a month would remind them who owns them.

Geminate

August 30, 2008 07:10 PM

One terabyte a month would be reasonable, for now, per account. They seen to disregard that there may be multiple users per household - 250 gigabytes per user of an account would be reasonable, or again, one terabyte a month per account. As far as a over-usage penalty, only allow each account to go over 10 gigabytes, with several warnings before service is suspended. There will a be an extra $10.00 charge for over use, but the user will not be suspended services for an entire year, that's insane, especially if Comcast is the only area provider. Comcast should not be able to provide 'limited' service where there are no other broadband choices for internet access. If Comcast is the only provider to an area, users aren't given any options and that isn't acceptable. If Comcast is the only broadband provider for a specific area, then that area cannot be limited in data usage.

gerrrg

August 30, 2008 08:58 PM

This is definitely an end run around FCC's emphasis on net neutrality, when you consider that Comcast offers their own video services.

Nothing the FCC can do, except to push free white space wireless, and see if Google can succeed pushing forward.

Mark

August 30, 2008 09:30 PM

250GB cap! WOW - I dont think the best Australian plan has even a tenth of that cap! The 'unlimited' plan here comes with a 20gb monthly cap! Yeah its Australian English...

The resulting effect on the progress of content delivery over the net etc. is that it grows at a snails pace and at ludicrous prices compared to other developed nations.

Its a shame that people here really dont know any better to ask for more or simply a better option even.

melv

August 30, 2008 09:33 PM

FCC: Sorry AT&T, we're gonna have to regulate ya.

ATT: NOOOOooooooo! Don't regulate us.

FCC: Well, if you were behaving yourself then maybe we wouldn't have to resort to this. *AT&T is now regulated*

ATT: *AT&T sobbing*

{End of scene.}

David B

August 31, 2008 12:19 AM

This is ridiculous. I am going to cancel my Comcast subscription. I hope more people do the same. Its like stupid AOL all over again. Maybe they need to update their slow networks if they are having problems. But instead of spending money they are making us suffer. I hope their is a huge backlash. But it sounds like they are staying pretty quiet about it.

Bruce Lancaster

August 31, 2008 12:36 AM

250 Gb is not "a lot" as some keep saying. I might be a lot for some, but not for others. Heck, even getting your microsoft updates some months can be a few hundred megs. there is a 380 meg quickbooks patch for the current version. There is a full gigabyte patch for the current version of autocad. A big patch for photoshop... a big patch for adobe acrobat... Now a person will have to think about things like that if they have been downloading a few movies in a month. The home pc is now the home network of PCs and other internet enabled devices. Cloud computing is the new hot thing. Furthermore, if they are monitoring how much bandwidth for each customer and able to select services not to count (like their VOIP), then how are they counting? And what else are they keeping track of? Are they monitoring traffic for each port? Are they watching how much you use per service? In fact, if they are watching anything, then are they watching everything? Are they monitoring which websites you visit? Are they looking into your VPN sessions? If they can meter and exclude from their count traffic from the VOIP ports, then they must have some idea about how much traffic you cause on other ports like FTP and secure sessions on https. Metering may well equal privacy intrusion if they are selecting services to supposedly exclude from the meter.

Bill

August 31, 2008 01:39 AM

I am deeply concerned what this means to all Broadband media in the future.

What this comes down to is that Comcast is a media provider as well as an ISP and is having trouble competing.

Unfortunately they have very little content of their own and not nearly enough bandwith to really deliver HD quality. As it is now, the consumer gets about 20% of the digital information that is actually transmitted over the air. A set of rabbit ears provides a far better HD picture than the compressed garbage Comcast delivers.

To survive, they need to hold consumers hostage and deter them from watching content Comcast does not own or provide.

I hope every consumer that is affected dumps the triple play using this material change in service to opt out of a bad contract from a poorly run company with pathetic customer service.

What is even more intriguing is what may happen next spring. The current FCC has approach regulating cable and taking control of this mess. It is most likely the next head of the FCC (especially if appointed by a DEM) will be even more willing to step in and regulate this behavior to the detriment of Comcast, cable tv in general, and most likely the consumer at large.

Peter

August 31, 2008 10:17 AM

Dear all,

From this side of the ocean (I live in Belgium), we have been living with monthly caps for years now. Our ISP recently raised the bandwidth to 20 Gbytes/month (up-and download combined), after an initial increase to 12 Gbyte one or two years ago.
Speed is capped at 10 Mbps, which on average is acceptable, but by no means sufficient for future use (HD, video-on-demand). In that respect we face the same situation over here.

The Divagator

August 31, 2008 11:09 AM

This goes way beyond 'Net Neutrality'. You can trace this behavior back to the hash we made with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which purported to increase competition, but in reality, led to greater consolidation and less competition. The major cable and phone companies own the infrastructure and until they are forced to unbundle their operations, you should not expect Asian- or European-style internet services.

Nate

August 31, 2008 05:29 PM

They actually already had a cap, it was just not specified in writing. They would call you up (this happened to me) and tell you that you had to upgrade to a business class line or they would seize providing service to you. When I mentioned that I had unlimited service, he said no it was unlimited access meaning you could access it anytime of the day for any amount of time, but nothing was ever written about unlimited data (basically they just choose when to say something to customers who did a lot).

john

August 31, 2008 09:41 PM

why doesn't google enter this arena and give the people an option.

joe

August 31, 2008 10:42 PM

The internet was supposed to be free of all limitations. the only thing in the world moving forward fast is the computer and the internet. this will put a stop to so many industries. TV on the net will stop. HDTV over the net will stop. businesses using internet , mostly small businesses, will not look to the net to do their businesses as their 'rent' increases. and most areas of the country do not have competition. this cannot be allowed and i will tell my congressman to stop this. the net was a public government project and access to it should be free, and unlimited. paying for internet is already a scam, and now trying to charge for usage is even more of a scam. everyone stop this now. make petitions, call your senator and congressman.

howard

August 31, 2008 10:43 PM

The internet was supposed to be free of all limitations. the only thing in the world moving forward fast is the computer and the internet. this will put a stop to so many industries. TV on the net will stop. HDTV over the net will stop. businesses using internet , mostly small businesses, will not look to the net to do their businesses as their 'rent' increases. and most areas of the country do not have competition. this cannot be allowed and i will tell my congressman to stop this. the net was a public government project and access to it should be free, and unlimited. paying for internet is already a scam, and now trying to charge for usage is even more of a scam. everyone stop this now. make petitions, call your senator and congressman.

Andrew

September 1, 2008 12:48 AM

OK, perhaps I live in a more remote little country where most of the useful traffic is labelled as "International" and caps are a way of life - but why should Internet by genuinely unlimited? Why should the costs of the fibre, routers, switches and all of the other fabric needed to carry these gazillions of bits of traffic be shared equally by granny who only sends a few emails a week and some punk running a torrent server in their basement?

There is no other commodity that is unmetered - not power, not water and not gas.

Limits and caps are a reality - what people should fight for are totally transparent systems that are clear to the customer signing up. Let competition take care fo the rest.

wael

September 1, 2008 01:14 AM

Those companies will never stop being greedy. Hopefully the long anticipated wimax will cut their greedness.

Project Dark Fox

September 1, 2008 01:17 AM

A line crossed indeed. 250GB is plenty for me... but I'm not exactly the guy willing to download so much. Just because my PC is bottom of the line doesn't mean most everyone else's is...

Businesses will slow down to no end, and may also cause a little slump in the economy in the long run. Folks need to find another solution. Meanwhile, I'm going to write a few letters to my congressmen here in 'Bama... with pencil and paper, mind you. ;)

Mark

September 1, 2008 03:58 AM

Why do we even need any caps at all?

Can't the ISPs make it such that people who transfer more than the average get the least internet priority, so if there is lots of bandwidth available give them full speed, but as the ISP bandwidth is reached just slow down the high usage users, while giving the least internet users full speed.

This way people who rarely download alot will always get full speed, while people who download alot can always download but download speeds depends on the ISP capacity.

Isn't this way more fairer to everyone?

bruce etc

September 1, 2008 04:31 AM

Comcast users should exercise their power a little bit. Comcast did this as a protest to the FCC "sanctioning" them over bit torrent throttling. Perhaps Comcast users should organize a little bit and see just how much capacity Comcast really has. If a half million or so users decided to fill their pipes for a few hours with the largest files from the fastest servers on the net they can find - and all at the same time maybe the day before the cap goes into effect... Well, maybe a couple of things would come to light. Is comcast lying about their capacity? If they are, it will become evident. If they are not and such activity brings large portions of their network down, then it would serve as a nice little protest that they would have to take heed of. That's the sort of power the users really have. No one would be violating the TOS... Food for thought.

DeF

September 1, 2008 05:22 AM

Here in South Africa you pay an arm and a leg for 1Gig, so a limit of 250Gig is something we can only dream about.

TomV

September 1, 2008 08:35 AM

To be blunt, all the whining and moaning of those saying "The internet was supposed to be free of all limitations" or "this cannot be allowed and i will tell my congressman to stop this" are like the rest of the internet freeloaders who probably used Napster to STEAL (yes, if you did, you are a thief) videos/music and have no concept of the infrastructure needed to maintain the internet we know today. Well get over it. You want fast response time, then pay up so your ISP can put in the equipment for it, and stop expecting everything and paying the little you do. Call your congressman, so that do-nothing person like most we have in office can posture and give speeches, and if he/she is really stupid try to curb/control prices so the companies go out of business paying the bills for all the high capacity servers and switches, you know all the EXPENSIVE stuff needed to run today's high capacity internet, until they go out of business. Of course for the people above screaming how dare someone actually limit what they can do, history talks about someone wanting their cake and eating it too. Hope you share her fate if you can't grow up first. Bottom line, you pay for what you get, stop expecting freebies all the dang time.

Harsha Raghavan

September 1, 2008 10:38 AM

PLEASE! This is the worst way to encourage Internet use. They have this system in India and people are constantly watching and disputing their bills. That is why internet adoption is India has not taken off. I am sure that they will quickly find that competition offering unlimited broadband will eat away at their market share.

www.harsharaghavan.com

Ben Crutcher

September 1, 2008 12:07 PM

The library is still free.

Frankly, it is a precedent that should not be allowed to happen. So as the internet crowd shuffles from ISP to ISP, I'd suggest everyone get their own domain name with E-Mail forwarding so you don't have to alert your freinds and family everytime you change ISP.

DJILY

September 1, 2008 02:00 PM

As a Comcast subscriber who works online, this concerns me a great deal. Part of my job involves checking video sites. Don't they know that the money I make pays for my subscription to their service?

MW

September 1, 2008 02:41 PM

Here's the root of the problem. Comcast, and nearly all other internet providers, imply that they sell fast internet connections, with no restrictions. Their service agreement has pages of fine print, and they reserve the right to change terms at any time for any reason.

What they've done is promise one thing, and deliver another. People feel cheated and threatened. Since most people only have one choice of high speed internet provider, they're locked in and have no alternatives.

If at the start, they would spell out exactly what they are offering, they wouldn't have this controversy right now. Add this to their little exercises in "bandwidth management" and they have really lost the trust of their customers.

What I want: bandwidth - for what I want to use. Not Comcast's preferred bits, but anything I want. I want raw data pipeline. If there are limits, fine, spell them out for what price is offered. Trick me, you lose my trust, and and someday I'll get you back.

johnnycanuck

September 1, 2008 03:17 PM

so who is making this software that all the isp's are going to use to monitor our usage? one company that comes to mind is sandvine(svc.to) only on toronto. there must be others too in the us.

Eli Green

September 2, 2008 05:20 AM

If providers begin to limit bandwidth usage, then they will have to regulate content and browsers.Vampire-bandwidth usage, (also known as 'vam' ) is the defined culprit. Vam, namely appears in the form of pop-ups, advertisements, side-bar animations of features and services, news articles,videos on front news-pages, e-mail attachments, viruses, worms, and malware. Unusupecting surfers try out a web page and are hit with an autoplay video that begins to download immediately.

Many will complain that this is a restriction of commerce and free speech.This is not the biggest problem as much as the global and global pirate activity that will continue from unregulated countries.

Much like telemarketers who target cell phone numbers, it is the subscriber who pays for the call. In the case of bandwidth limitation that disadvantage goes to the subscriber.Home restrictions for students will have to increase and as well, public libraries, schools, special organizations,and unsecured wireless home networks. Educational and medical communities might be granted special usage licenses but the future of the internet will be compromised.

A subscriber should not pay for splash screens and windows that are not requested. This goes for users of myspace, facebook, and youtube. Furthermore, should you use your wii phone to browse or even so much as do institutional research, you will find that you have splash alerts that your very usage being metered.Not a smart idea. Then as if there will be a new marketing formula, the company that comes out with unlimited bandwidth usage online service will be the one most favored.

AOL, stand aside.

Eli Green
Internet Analyst
California
xpinfinity

GD38

September 2, 2008 11:15 AM

Didn't read all comments. I agree with Dante about using wireless providers for Internet access. I used to get 3 Mbps with Verizon DSL and now get between 5 and 15 Mbps with Comcast depending on whether I go wireless through my router or hard line. If the 4G networks in developement can at least beat high end DSL speeds it could be quite viable. I already use AT&T for my cell service (and my only phone). It would be nice to pay just one bill for cell and Internet access.

Corey

September 3, 2008 03:14 PM

Maximum monthly transfer limited by speed:

1Mb = 316GB
2Mb = 632GB
3Mb = 949GB
4Mb = 1.2TB
5Mb = 1.5TB
6Mb = 1.9TB
7Mb = 2.2TB
8Mb = 2.5TB

---

The average speed for US connections as calculated by Speedtest.net is about 5Mbps, limiting those connections to 1.5TB.

Given that, a 1TB cap (as suggested above) wouldn't do much since you probably won't hit that even maxing out your torrents due to the network speed and the fluctuation in speed characteristic of a P2P system like torrents.

I think a 250GB cap is a bit ludicrous. A cap of 50% of the theoretical transfer limit for the connection speed would be understandable and acceptable. In the case of the average US connection, that'd be about 750GB.

By the way, there's not a way in hell that Comcast should be having any issues with their networks provided they are maintained properly. As the owner of a popular website, I am responsible for roughly 45TB of data transfer monthly. The total cost to provide that bandwidth to me, after it goes through middle men, is about $10/TB. Again, there is no way in hell that Comcast should be having any issues providing you with a 5Mbps down link without metering and capping.

nohope587

September 10, 2008 06:25 AM

It looks like the cap is here. I have no choice who my cable provider is so if I want Cable internet I have to use Comcast. I have already been tagged this year for excessive usage. My average usage in a month probably does not exceed a 100 gigs but I work away from home so when i am home I stock up my media drive for those long boring trips. If they are going to cap and charge $15 per 10gigs overage then they have to provide their customers with the tools to monitor their own usage. I have called Tech support and got nowhere I kept getting directed to speed test sites...

Choose Verizon FIOS

December 6, 2008 07:42 PM

Offers better speeds, similar prices. And NO CAP! If its out there in your neighborhood and you aren't signed up, you are providing dollars to the fraudulent empire that is Comcast for no reason.

At the end of the day, efficient market theory says that Comcast will succumb to lifting the cap once it sees its revenue pipleine leaking significantly to Verizon.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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