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back to article Comcast mulls overage fees for bandwidth lovers

Comcast is considering monthly download caps for all those people on its cable-based internet service. According to a report from Broadband Reports, America's second largest ISP is mulling a plan that would cap user downloads at 250GB a month. Under the plan, users would not be penalized if they crossed that 250GB threshold once …

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At last someone's making sense!

Perish the thought that people using more bandwidth would have to pay more money for the service!

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As a Comcast user, I say...

250 gig a month? Hah! That's 95 KB per second, if run constantly. Comcast is flattering themselves if they think their customers CAN consistently get much more downstream than that.

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Good, bad, can't decide

AS allergetic as I can be to the word "cap", they might actually do it right. Monthly cap considered on a 12-month basis seems quite fair if you HAVE to cap. Shurely they won't call it "unlimited" though. Or will they?

Two other concerns. First, my experience of Comcast cable connexion in Washington (you know, the capital of the world) left me quite unimpressed -or should it be strngly impressed, in a bad way?. I've seen comcast subscribers hijack the neighbour's WiFi to avoid random disconnections. So, a cap would be fine if they improved their poor service in the meantime. Again, will they? Second, caps on "unlimited" connexions can lead to rather ridiculous situation. My ISP here in Canada sells very expensive "unlimited" connexions, which are now capped, and extra traffick is VERY expensive (but still the connexions are marketted as unlimited), so I went for a cheap very limited connexion with small "extra traffick" fees, which ends up being much cheaper for huge data transfers. Where's the logic?

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Dead Vulture

Or perhaps

It's because the companies instituting these caps and transport filtering are doing so to constrain emerging alternative online video and phone services that will threaten their revenue. As a consumer, If you can't reliably and cost effectively use a non-Comcast service for VOD or audio / video conferencing, but instead can get quasi-similar Comcast-provided offerings, then... right. You'll suck it up and consolidate on their systems.

I understand the bandwidth concerns, and the digital cable conversion in the United States should help some of that, but if the bandwidth is constrained to such a degree that Comcast need to institute new caps and protocol policing, then how are they pushing ahead with "HD," VOD, and phone rollouts?

Take a quick look their most recent earnings info - look very closely at the growth #'s and then think on applications like Skype, Google's Grand Central, iChat, Hulu, Netflix on demand, etc.

http://biz.yahoo.com/e/080501/cmcsa10-q.html

I'm no tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, but I know when I'm being manipulated by a company. And yes - that's business - but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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Ever eaten at a smorgasbord??

Comcast began as an "all-you-can-eat" model. If you go to a buffet, do they charge you more if you are fat ??

Steady customers of buffet restaurants would SCREAM if they were singled out as "heavy eaters" and charged a premium.

Comcast is making plenty of money. If they change their model, then there is always FIOS.

Competition is a GOOD thing !!!

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Sounds reasonable

That is much better than Canada.

The cap for the 2 largest providers is between 60-90GB per month with fees per GB after that.

250 GB seems reasonable that someone should be using a more expensive service (much more reasonable than my ISP)

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This is Ridiculous!

It's going to give other ISPs in North America that it's acceptable to put a cap like this.

It's *not*. I pay for 8mbit service, I expect to be able to use that 8mbit service 24x7x365 and not have to pay extra to use it past what the "average user" uses. I use far more than 250GB of bandwidth per month and there's not a single P2P client installed on any system in my house.

This is going to affect more than just P2P users. I'll admit that I've been pretty upset by some of the things they've done in the past, but they've lost my business if they do this.

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I'd Leave Comcast

I have Comcast and I'm a photographer, which means that I use bandwidth to promote my activity. If Comcast put a cap to hurt me I would quit them in a heartbit, even if the solution I choose ended up being more expensive, but it's a matter of principle. I'm tired of corporations telling me what to do.

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Get over it.

Limited resource. User pays. Get over it.

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Unhappy

250gb???!!!

There damn lucky... In New Zealand we are on the 'best' plan available, which costs NZ$70 a month for 30gb at about 7.5/1.5 ADSL, and after we use that it costs $20/gb...

ffs.. feel sorry for us!

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Pah

Due to an unfortunate cock-up by my previous ISP I have found myself as a subscriber to Australia's largest formerly-govt-owned-telco's adsl service.

For the princely sum of $79.95 per month I get a "whopping" 25Gb.

Yay

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Per Month?

I often use more bandwidth than that per week! I'm constantly moving large files between home and work and school via ftp servers. Plus I stream video to/from my TiVo across the net, occasionally play games online, and constantly stream music via online radio stations. 250GB per month is completely unworkable for me, especially when I'm already paying extra for more bandwidth from Commiecast.

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250GB is huge

Unless you're a middle to large company doing lots of multimedia what the hell do you really need 250G for?

That's over 8GB per day or 800MB per hour @10hours per day.

I have 10G and do more than fine on that including telecommuting, Ubuntu updating, mac updating, pulling Linux kernels and the odd iso, wwwing, youtubing, podcasting and much more with 7 computers and 3 other people helping me.

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@Alex

You are confusing volume and bandwidth. They paid for X amount of bandwidth, like 8Mbps. So if they use 8Mbps, they get what they are paying for. It doesn't matter if they use 250GB or 2,500GB, the bandwidth has always been the same. Of course you probably won't get a constant 8Mbps as TCP won't allow it unless both sides are tweaked and the server and client are in close proximity; but that is a different matter. Another issue is congestion from other users.

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Oh noes!1!!111!!eleven!

250GB? Whatever will people do to prevent themselves reaching this low limit?

And $15 per 10GB... How ever will that afford that.

Goat Jam mentioned the monthly fee and limit from our lovely incumbent... He didn't mention that they charge 15c per MB over the limit. In other words $150 per GB. Or 100 times the price Comcast has set.

As others have said... It's a limited resource people are sharing, so get over it.

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Thank you

For those who are saying a cap is unacceptable... gain some perspective. Look, they're being _honest_ about it. They have a certain amount of aggregate bandwidth, and they oversell to let you burst to nice fast speeds. It's the name of the game. Pretty much everyone selling residential service has some sort of cap or termination policy for overuse; most of them just lie and say they don't. If the ISPs were honest about what they offered then at least you could compare them, and you could protect yourself. It's better than underhanded tricks like RST spoofing (which by the way they appear to have stopped).

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Oh you poor comcast users

250gb? There are other first world countries who get a fraction of that per month. In Australia, my home town, the incumbent telco has 'cheap' adsl/cable plan for 12gb/month. And that's one of the upper plans. Which slows down to 64k/sec once the cap has been reached.

(competition between actual ISPs have slightly larger plans, but they still wouldn't even come close to HALF of 250gb. And also majority of -that- usage is in offpeak hours, namely 3:01am until 3:05am*)

*sarcasm, the range is at least an hour

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Oh my god..

You people saying 250GB isn't enough are insane. I download far more than most and my 90GB/mo connection (in Australia) is ample.

I realise that the internet isn't a one-size-fits-all model, but seriously, 250GB EVERY MONTH? What legitimate use could you have for it? "I play some online games"

I love it when massive downloaders threaten to leave their ISP if they begin limiting them. Back in the day when Telstra was charging downstream ISPs $0.25/MB, we used to offer a $30 'unlimited' account.. you'd get people on downloading 2-3GB on a dialup account, then when we put in a limit all of them called and threatened to cancel.

We were more than happy for them to do so, as it would save us hundreds of dollars per user, per month. I'm sure Comcast would be happy to lose the people who are an undue burdon on their network too.

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Hey Andrew Rodland. Hey the port 80 crowd

250 GB a month isn't really a lot when you have to move serious data around. As stated before, due to caps on "unlimited" deals I had to move to limited deals + extra traffick fees (it is really cheaper for really heavy traffick, here in CanuckLand). What can you do to come over the limit? Well, browsing the intarwub won't bring you over the edge, sure. A VPN between my "work" machine at home and my "work" machine at work eats some heavy bandwith ( I have to move around a few TIFF containers that are between 500 MB and 1.5 GB each, on a dayly basis. Serious.). My webservers chomp some serious ressource both up- and down-ways. A bit of gaming (not that a telnet connection eats a lot of bandwidth, but a few tens of them can lead to a noticeable bandwith consumption). Add a bit of (lawful, of course) P2P and here goes your 200+ GB per month!

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Gold badge

Cap!

I have been heavily opposing caps, because of how unreasonable most capped plans are (5 or 10GB? 20GB? Feh). But, 250GB is very high. As Christopher Martin says that comes out to a bit over 95KB/sec continuous. I torrent a fair amount and have gotten nowhere NEAR that amount. If I were heavily torrenting, I would simply cap the torrent app at 95KB/sec (or perhaps 90KB to ensure "wiggle room"). Then you will simply never hit the cap. Personally, it seems like most torrents* will burst to 100s of KB/sec for short time periods (when I get a few fast seeders) but do well below that 90KB/sec the rest of the time anyway (pulling like 2KB/sec apiece off a number of seeders.)

*Umm... entirely Linux ISOs of course. Yeah.

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Anonymous Coward

usage meter

Well if they provide you with a usage meter so you know how much you have left / can use I think it would not be such a bad idea as long as they don't promote it as unlimited.

YahooBB in Japan does never mention a limit but they just cut your connection to a speed that does not even compare to old modems.

When they put you on "smallband" you can hardly look at a webpage that has a picture in it.

of course there are ways around it (luckily)

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Flame

250gb? You are a ....

Anyone who downloads more than 250GB a month is a Tw@, or a Freetard or both.

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250GB!!?

Here in New Zealand I have a 10GB cap and get charged $2.95 per GB if I go over. I'd give my left one for that much...

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preemptive strike...

I rather think its geared at restricting video on demand applications before they gain to big a foothold, and would you like to bet how many ISP's will be trying to pump out their own VOD package, which of course wouldn't be included in measuring that 250gb limit.

They have rather brilliantly set a limit that is hard to argue against *now*, and in 12mnths time will be steering people at their own new media/VOD packages, you will have to pay for thiers as any other providers will be eating into your monthly limit like crazy.

Whether its acceptable, I have to say I am on the fence, when ISP's like Comcast publish massive earnings like...."Comcast posted net income of $732 million" (same article discuss a GAIN of $144million!!!) then really, I have very very limited inclination to support actions to further restrict a service, sole reason is to earn shareholders more $$'s by screwing the customers harder. As already mentioned above it will also green light other ISP's in the US to do the same, but what the hell its what most other nations all ready suffer to a much greater extent (Like the UK here).

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Paris Hilton

Capping

For those who appear to misunderstand.

$ISP sells $user an 8Mbit per second service, which is always on for N dollars. This means the user is entitled to use 100% of 8Mbit per second 100% of the time (contention aside).

If $ISP can't afford to provide that amount of bandwidth for N dollars, then they shouldn't offer that service at that price.

What they're now trying to do is continue to advertise an 8Mbps service, at N dollars, which the user is entitled to use 10% of the time, rather than admit that what they can actually afford to provide for N dollars is a 1M service.

Paris, because at least she appears to be affordable :)

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250gb is not that much

i download a lot of media via bittorrent and usenet and only reach about 160gb per month average but thats combined upload and download (if i was at home i could get the week by week stats but im not) there are several months i would easily break 250gb though

instead of looking at it in terms of GB which down't mean much look at it in terms of video a 1080p xvid movie is over 4gig and a 720p xvid tv episode is ~800mb

most of the vod and illegal media downloaded isn't HD yet and sits at around 1/3 of that size. with other online service like voip and other bandwidth intensive service in a year or so reaching 250 gb is going to become rather easy

as has been previously said 250gb may sound like a lot but in reality it is only going to be a lot for a very short space of time

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Boffin

Bandwidth and cost

If you are on DSL, then the maximum limit by the DSL spec is 8 or 16 or 24 depending on version (1, 2, 2+...).

Between the ISP and you, you can get ressources at line speed (ie. VOIP, streaming TV, Linux iso's from the companies own FTP server...).. and again, this depends on the use of the pipe from your DSL exchange to the ISP's datacentre ressources.

This is part of your ISP's infrastructure.

Your isp then has peering agreements to communicate with other ISP's, and have their own datalinks, and these connections are far more limited than the exchange-to-physical-point-of-presence, especially as they are far more used.

Now, if you want a fully unlimited quick connection, you can contact a professional ISP and get a SDSL line starting at 400 euros a month (£300/$600) in France for a 2mbit/2mbit with 8 fixed ip addresses, SLA defined minimul bandwidth, guaranteed response and reconnection times (like 4 hours after failure).

This you do not get with a home dial up isp.

If you have a professional need to push huge amounts of data around, consider using a professional connection, otherwise, I can fully understand ISP's wanting to end the "free lunch/free beer" connections with 1% of users using 80% of ressources. You are paying 10 times less than an enterprise quality connection, and it is time that the users stop using it as such.

If an enterprise grade connection with guaranteed bandwidth costs 10 times the amount of a "residential" grade connection, there have to be some limitations, and the ISP's have the right to enforce them.

But, they also have the obligation to inform their users of what constitutes reasonable use for a cheap connection, and also provide decent solutions for those who want/need a better solution than the standard one.

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Flame

Impossible

Apart from all the Freetards downloading so much sh*t (just because they can) that they never have time to watch or listen to, does anyone have an genuine/legal reasons to use up 250GB a month? (and I mean for home use)

Anyone?

Anyone?

And not just for some pie in the sky future application. I mean now.

No didn't think so.

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Entitled?

>>"$ISP sells $user an 8Mbit per second service, which is always on for N dollars. This means the user is entitled to use 100% of 8Mbit per second 100% of the time (contention aside)."

If a company at any point makes it clear that there are limits, that means the user, once informed, *isn't* entitled to use 100% of the bandwidth 100% of the time.

AFAIK, the way commerce works is that some people offer services, and others can choose to buy them or not.

Unless there are contractual terms to the contrary, the a purchaser doesn't have a guarantee (or even a reasonable expectation) that things won't change in the future, especially if they are the kind of customer that a company would frankly be better off without.

With an all-you-can-eat restaurant, no-one would expect to be able to sit down and stuff their faces for eternity even if they were biologically able to do so. If someone was taking the mickey, they'd be likely to be declined service or denied re-entry, probably to the delight of most of the other customers who'd been subsidising them.

If someone is told "When you've already eaten many times more than even the average hungry customer, we'd like you to start paying for any extra", that seems to be a less severe response than "Bugger off and don't come back".

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Flame

Content provider, not bandwidth provider

Nothing wrong with Comcast cable that couldn't be fixed with a quick snip of their content services away from their connection services.

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Paris Hilton

So

So , the lies still keep coming , sad really for which wowser is self wanking whom ?

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Well, at least they are making the limits explicit now...

I wish ISPs over here would do that too instead of harping on about "unlimited" broadband. If ISPs were actually offering a properly uncapped service then I would be more upset.

If all ISPs make their limits public and actually advertise them, then we might actually be able to make a rational comparison between them. Which would be much better than the current situation of all ISPs claiming to offer the same thing (even though they are not) and basically only differentiating themselves on price.

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Anonymous Coward

To all you incredible Comcast whiners out there...

Instead of simply assuming that you would use more than 250GB a month, how about actually finding out how much you use on average. You can NOT for one second tell me that you suck down on average 1GB/hour of usage (assuming a relative amount of 8 hours a day).

Those who claim that they need their 250GB+ a month to promote their business are talking baloney (yes, that's you Luca). You can order yourself a co-lo or v/server from any reputable branded ISP and get away with murder. I know several very well-known photographers in Europe who don't even come close to hitting 250GB a month for their work. Besides, if your work is so important that you need more than 250GB, I strongly suggest you actually invest in your work by getting yourself better infrastructure than Comcast (I mean really, COMCAST? Is that the best you can do??).

250GB is a VERY generous cap, even for cable. Be glad you have that size of cap, other countries are far less generous with what you get. Thankfully though, my ISP applies a cap to 'rush-hour' only, which means between the hours of 3pm and 10pm. Beyond that I'm scotfree.

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Free market economics!

@Pierre

Doesn't sound like a problem with my ISP hat on:

1) Moving 1GB TIFFs between work and home? That's a business function, and possibly a violation of the TOS. Anyway, try a PORTABLE HARD DISK!

2) Running a webserver? This is *specifically* against every ISP's TOS I've ever read. You should be paying for a business class connection.

Both of these functions, in actuality, sound like business functions, and therefore both probably require a business connection via the TOS. Subtract out those two, and there's no way your running into a problem. Of course, I do the same exact thing, and will switch to any ISP which lets me get away with it, but at least I'm *aware* that I'm treading on the contract.

@gareth

160GB per month of bittorrent and usenet traffic. I'm sure there is absolutely no illegal content being downloaded there.

While I don't engage in illegal behaviors myself, I actually fully support the p2p media sharing. Keep it up! The media market is, by definition, a monopoly. One company controls a given album/movie, and no other. In this case, I don't consider similar works to be equivalent. Thus it's a monopoly, and it's virtually unregulated. At least illegal file-sharing has introduced true competition, albeit illegal, and has forced Hollywood to begin to *consider* reasonable and ethical business practices. I would have some sympathy if they were at least regulated as other natural monopolies are.

gareth, you must admit, though, that you are the pathologic worst-case user for any ISP, and you're a money-loser for them. They are within their rights to adjust their offerings to accommodate users like you. Of course, there may be other ISPs willing to carry your load in order to garner good publicity, and, by all means, stick with the cheapest solution!

Next point:

This is a reasonable business strategy for Comcast, and it's fairly permissive, as indicated by readers in other countries. As it only affects a small, loud minority, it will surely be successful. Of course, it's a free market, and those who care will vote with their dollars, changing service to another provider. Can't find a cheaper offer? Perhaps Comcast is not being so outrageous for that location after all! Consider relocating to an area with more competition.

Also, as high bandwidth services such as streaming hi-def video, VoIP/video conferencing, and burgeoning software patches (Blizzard, Microsoft) become more widespread, more users are going to begin stressing the system, and this will become more and more or a sticking point for an increasing number of users. Comcast can surely do this now, however it will probably bite them in the future. Either other ISPs will be forced to do similar, or Comcast will be forced by competition to drop the cap. I foresee the former, as ISPs will require increased revenue through higher connection fees to justify investing in the infrastructure needed to carry those services.

In the interim, allow me to recommend moving into a Verizon area and getting FiOS. I keep my FiOS connection maxed, and Verizon has yet to complain/cap/threaten/limit me; and yes, that was a criterion for determining what city and state I chose to work/live!

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Tom
Silver badge

Rogers in Canada

For $55 a month...

* Modem set-up of up to 10.0 Mbps download and 1.0 Mbps upload.

* Use Extreme for music, video streaming, downloading and playing games.

* A 95GB monthly usage allowance.

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@T. Harrell

"2) Running a webserver? This is *specifically* against every ISP's TOS I've ever read. You should be paying for a business class connection."

Then you've obviously never read a TOS from an ISP in any civilised country.

"Business class connection" to run a webserver? You are taking the piss entirely. The very fact that this sort of idea has any creedence at all speaks volumes as to how people are so used to being ripped off that they don't know any other situation. The Intorwub is a peer network. Full stop.

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They are just having a corporate enema, thats all.

They are just doing what a lot of corps do from time to time. Getting rid of their worst customers. They do this and the couple of thousand leachers/freetards that are using most of the bandwidth go elsewhere. Sorted. Plus those bad customers go to their competitors and screw them over. Win/Win.

If you are using 250Gb a month for LEGITIMATE purposes I would suggest as mentioned previously, you either look at using an enterprise/business account or go outside a bit more often.

If all you are doing is torrenting/leaching then you really havent a leg to stand on. Again get off your arse and go pay to see a movie maybe?

I would say 98% of customers would struggle to use 40Gb a month. Those of you using more than that are a minority that most ISPs would rather do without (on domestic accounts that is).

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Happy

Ha!

Pierre - if you're going to post as 'Steen Hive' *and* 'Luca' to make it look like someone's backing you up, maybe you should try not to riddle your posts with such memorable spelling errors as 'intorwub', 'heartbit' and 'creedence'. Not to mention the very distinctive grammar and style. Big giveaway mate, and you're not doing your argument much good by sockpuppeting.

Anyone who *needs* 250gb+ for 'business' shouldn't be using a domestic account.

Sock Spotter

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250 GB Downloads and Not Being Enough

Ok 250GB Is not very much, For example a Cent OS yum update just did was 100 GBs, while that one was a bit out of date, there goes just about half of a Months D/Ls.. Then Does VOIP count in for that 250 GBs? Since Comcast Does offer VOIP. Then Take a Look at all those DVD Rentals you can get On-Line.... If you watch a large number of Movies there goes your Limit, while I am sorry that other countries have lower limits in the US we don't so this is a whole new ball of wax. Then what if you are a Gamer, all those MMOs take a few Updates to that, a few downloads for Linux Distros...Heck you can go to M$ and get a Legit Copy of SQL Full version for 60-180 Days(forget what the length of time is last time I needed it was 180 days) that is a 4 GB download, then if you go and try Office '07 for 60 days that is another 3-4 GBs... That 250 GB goes pretty fast. If you sign up for 8mb/sec: There are 2419200 or so seconds in a month (did it by secs in an hour, then day, then week, then just did 4 weeks for ease of numbers). If that many Seconds in a month then that means you can get 19353600 MBs in said Month if you did your whole 8 Mbs a sec 24x7. That is no were near 250 GBs, so once again if a company can not stand behind what they sell then they need not offer that deal. Just remember that Comcast also offers 16mbs/Sec for Personal use also I just did 8mbs since not everyone pays for the full 16mbs.... I guess this limit would also apply for the new 50mbs they are testing in a few cities? (Yes those speeds are being offered to People) Those people will be really nailed and ripped off if they only get to download 250 Gbs.....

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@ T Harrell and AC

"Both of these functions, in actuality, sound like business functions, and therefore both probably require a business connection via the TOS."

Would get a business account if I could (though the webserver is my private, not-for-work one). Just because I wouldn't have that stupid cap then. But unfortunately, my ISP won't give me one, as they require a business registration number (matching the address) for that, and I don't have one. Maybe because I don't run a business there? Anyway, there's nothing in the TOS preventing me from doing what I do. I checked. But you gave me an idea... I'll see if I can have my boss pay for the connexion...

@AC: puppets or not puppets? I'm pretty sure you're noone's sockpuppet yourself, but you type damn fast. I see a whole lot of comments by you all over the site, all the time. You might have a few personality disorders though, as I'm quite sure I spotted you flaming yourself a few times...

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Sounds fair enough..

What they're proposing isn't unreasonable - They're coming clean, saying that there are limits, and explicitly stating what these limits are. As long as they don't have the balls to advertise this as "Unlimited Broadband" - like every other ISP currently does - and lets people break contract if they don't like the new T&C's, that sounds fair enough.

I'm man enough to admit I'm a high bandwidth user: I run a game server, web server, download Technet ISO's and patches for over 300 software packages, Use VPN's to around 70 different sites, and use Web TV.

This is the reason why I've got a BT Business Broadband account - I'm paying almost twice what the equivalent home broadband account costs, for the simple fact I want to be able to go nuts with bandwidth, without worrying I'm not paying my way.

For Home broadband, I think a 250GB cap is fine - if you are using more, then even if you're not a business, you're in the business broadband class, so it's time to pay up and go pro, or put up with the dreaded limits.

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@A. Coward

>>"Ok 250GB Is not very much, For example a Cent OS yum update just did was 100 GBs, while that one was a bit out of date, there goes just about half of a Months D/Ls."

Are you sure that was *GBs?

>>"Heck you can go to M$ and get a Legit Copy of SQL Full version for 60-180 Days(forget what the length of time is last time I needed it was 180 days) that is a 4 GB download, then if you go and try Office '07 for 60 days that is another 3-4 GBs... That 250 GB goes pretty fast."

That 250GB gives something over 8GB per day, every day. Do you really download more than two 4GB software installs every single day?

A 60 day trial would mean that Office, assuming it *was* 4GB, would cost you ~66MB/day for each day you used it, (or 0.5% of your daily allowance).

SQL Server 2005 trial download is nearer to 1GB, and the various Office trial downloads (like Professional and Enterprise) talk about needing between 1.5GB and 2GB of peak disk space for the install (that's including the software eventually installed *and* the download).

Even Office Ultimate only seems to need a peak disk space of 3GB, of which you'd expect half or somewhat less to be the download, assuming you could get a trial version of Ultimate, which appears not to be the case.

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Pirate

Home of the free!!

I'm sorry but I have to say forget any of you that says caps are acceptable. Maybe in European controlled countries (or others that aren't so fortunate) where the govt has a long history of tightly controlling it's subjects caps are acceptable. But here in the good ol' US of A we are free men. We don't like being told what we can and can't do. And i say if Comcast does implement a cap (no matter the size or frequency) then everyone who loves their right to do what they want with their service should drop them. Find another ISP - even if it's not as fast - just to prove a point that we control the market, not them.

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Anonymous Coward

Testing Comcast's True Colors

If Comcast is truly trying to prevent bandwidth hogs from slowing other users down, then what it should do is reduce the cost of their service for those who don't use extraordinary amounts of bandwidth (lower than what they currently pay) and increase the cost for those who do. That way they will please a large number of their low usage customers (which might otherwise end their relationship with Comcast), yet not have to take a drop in revenues if high bandwidth users fees offset their lowering the rates of the low bandwidth users. But since Comcast is the only broadband provider available in many U.S. markets, I find it extremely cheap of them to not just increase their bandwidth capacity. Have you ever noticed that the more revenues a company earns, and the less competition it has, the more likely it is to be a cheapscape, not willing to spend the money necessary to keep its infrastucture and hardware upgraded so it can accommodate the increase in the use of its service?

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Free

>>I'm sorry but I have to say forget any of you that says caps are acceptable. Maybe in European controlled countries (or others that aren't so fortunate) where the govt has a long history of tightly controlling it's subjects caps are acceptable. But here in the good ol' US of A we are free men. We don't like being told what we can and can't do."

I'm sure in the USA, there are just as many people as elsewhere who realise that things have to be paid for.

The reason for limits is economics, not politics.

A cheap service may be able to claim to be unlimited (and actually *be* unlimited) as long as there is only the occasional person who runs a connection at way above the average rate.

However, if the provider decides that some customers are too expensive, unless those customers have a contract promising no limits forever, then the provider can simply say "From date X, the product I'm offering has different conditions".

As a free man, you're free to take those new terms, free to find someone else who wants you as a customer, or free to start your own business.

You're not generally free to demand a company keeps you as a customer, or never changes its prices or services.

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What's The Problem?

If companies publish their caps and their fair use policies then it's fair enough to impose them. Would the Comcast users who say they'll leave if the 250GB cap is imposed be happier if, instead, Comcast just terminated the contract of anyone who exceeded some unspecified amount of traffic?

I don't like the idea of caps per se but I think that offering a cheap, low cap service, a medium priced, high cap service and an appropriately priced uncapped service is the way to go. All services should also provide facilities to see what you're using.

@AC 16:01

You're right, 4 weeks is 2419200 seconds but on an 8Mb/s line this equates to 2419200 MB not 19353600 (that figure is megabits not megabytes). That said, that's equivalent to 2362.5 GB which is a lot more than 250GB.

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Gates Horns

0.099290780141843971631205673758865 percent

Interesting... very interesting. I used to worry that my 20gig monthly cap was a "bit constricting" for heavy months. An extra 10 gig cost £10.

But 250 gig... you are either downloading the entire internet systematically or you are utterly incapable of managing your file system.

Okay Pierre, so large data transfers are expected for backing up purposes but WTF is the point in constantly juggling massive quantities of tiff files back and forth between locations. Every copy/move is an invitation for the file to become corrupted. Leave 'em in one place on a mirrored array, edit them there and then back 'em up someplace else if you really feel the need. Oh, and since you have obviously developed your system into a financially viable work environment, why don't you just pay up for the business rates and get the connection you feel the need to waste.

Rule 1 - do it once, properly. "640k should be enough for anyone"? okay maybe not.

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