AfterDawn: Tech news

Comcast considers official limits on downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 07 May 2008 23:47 User comments (46)

Comcast considers official limits on downloads Like a number of broadband ISPs, Comcast has a policy of contacting subscribers who use an excessive amount of bandwidth, and giving them the choice of either reducing downloads or having their internet service canceled. However, as we reported last year even when the company terminates service the customer isn't told exactly where the line they supposedly crossed was.
As part of what looks like a campaign to repair their tarnished image with both customers and the FCC, Comcast is now considering a change to their terms of service that would limit subscribers to 250GB of downloads per month. Under this plan users who download more than 250GB could be charged as much as $15 for each additional 10GB transferred.

So far the company hasn't made any decision whether to go ahead with such a plan. They've already received a lot of criticism over the proposal already, perhaps enough to give up on the idea completely, but perhaps the most vocal critics are missing the point just a little. The issue doesn't seem to be whether Comcast will be able to cut off customers for using "too much" bandwidth. The real question is whether subscribers are told what the limits are up front, and that seems to be at least a slight improvement.

Previous Next  

46 user comments

18.5.2008 0:58

250 gigs is still A LOT of bandwidth! I see no reason why anybody should complain with that. I understand in the past Comcast has canceled service with no real number given to the question "how much is too much," but now that there is a concrete data figure, people should be happy.

And if you complain about 250 gigs not being enough, it is clearly time to open the door, turn off the comp, and come to terms with the fact there IS LIFE outside the internet.

28.5.2008 1:02

i hardly doubt i'll download 250 gigs a month but if i pay for a service i would think i should be able to donwload as much as i want i pay for a isp to give me watever bandwidth i pay to use.

38.5.2008 2:26
nobrainer
Inactive

Originally posted by svtstang:
250 gigs is still A LOT of bandwidth! I see no reason why anybody should complain with that. I understand in the past Comcast has canceled service with no real number given to the question "how much is too much," but now that there is a concrete data figure, people should be happy.

And if you complain about 250 gigs not being enough, it is clearly time to open the door, turn off the comp, and come to terms with the fact there IS LIFE outside the internet.
250 is ok for the moment but what about them HD streaming services and downloads that are poised to flood the web?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 2:28

48.5.2008 2:55

250 Gb is a lot for a month. But as previously stated, what happens when HD streaming comes ?


"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


58.5.2008 3:49

Ok well I somewhat get this.

But if people download programs does that count.

I would like too know too if anyone has heard of the problem coming in 2010 where it will all go kaputt because of the bandwidth.

Will someone give me a web site or in layman's terms what bandwidth means and what it does and how it is used.


I must be slow I read the bandwidth def and still doesn't make since since we all are on the Internet why is there bandwidth control if there wasn't what really would happen.

I say nothing.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 3:55

68.5.2008 5:01
nobrainer
Inactive

Originally posted by wolf123:
Ok well I somewhat get this.

But if people download programs does that count.

I would like too know too if anyone has heard of the problem coming in 2010 where it will all go kaputt because of the bandwidth.

Will someone give me a web site or in layman's terms what bandwidth means and what it does and how it is used.


I must be slow I read the bandwidth def and still doesn't make since since we all are on the Internet why is there bandwidth control if there wasn't what really would happen.

I say nothing.
all internet traffic including web pages, youtube videos, online virus checkers, iPlayer, iTunes,ect, ect, ect, is included in totals.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 5:09

78.5.2008 6:19

Quote:
Originally posted by wolf123:
Ok well I somewhat get this.

But if people download programs does that count.

I would like too know too if anyone has heard of the problem coming in 2010 where it will all go kaputt because of the bandwidth.

Will someone give me a web site or in layman's terms what bandwidth means and what it does and how it is used.


I must be slow I read the bandwidth def and still doesn't make since since we all are on the Internet why is there bandwidth control if there wasn't what really would happen.

I say nothing.
all internet traffic including web pages, youtube videos, online virus checkers, iPlayer, iTunes,ect, ect, ect, is included in totals.
I guess people are fraked!!!

88.5.2008 6:42
nobrainer
Inactive

Quote:

I guess people are fraked!!!

setting a limit is far more friendly that the current model of traffic management as isp's seem to have forgotten what net neutrality is. They are happy for you to pay for the service but not willing to let you actually use bandwidth you pay for as it eats into their profit margins so unless their bonuses are protected they are atm throttling pages and protocols to a complete standstill.

here is a great easy to use tool for measuring your bandwidth consumption http://www.dumeter.com/ (License: Free to try). remember if you use a router the traffic locally will also be included.

What is Net Neutrality? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP_3WnJ42kw could it be courporate, capitalist scumbags stealing from us?


This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 6:43

98.5.2008 7:35

Originally posted by svtstang:
250 gigs is still A LOT of bandwidth! I see no reason why anybody should complain with that. I understand in the past Comcast has canceled service with no real number given to the question "how much is too much," but now that there is a concrete data figure, people should be happy.

And if you complain about 250 gigs not being enough, it is clearly time to open the door, turn off the comp, and come to terms with the fact there IS LIFE outside the internet.

That's enough is it?
That's barely 13 HD movies at 18GB a piece. (1080p, x264)
And its only legal HD that's 'poised' to start chewing up bandwidth. As always its the regular users (re:pirates) ahead of the industry, since full HD downloads have been available for a long time now.
But when it does become mainstream, look out.

Bandwidth limitations are ridiculous. ISP's just need to be forced to upgrade with the times.
Here's the next step I forsee: We will be paying different ISP packages $xx.xx for basic, $xx.xx for 250GB, $xx.xx for 500GB, and so on.

108.5.2008 7:58

A limit would be bad esp for HD, but I don't think it's even possible for me to download 250GB in a month with my 3Mbps connection [that's all I can get]. I'd have to do the math...nope, too lazy.. ;-)
My relatives' package in Ozzie land ReAllY stinks. They get a limit of 12GB on a 1.5 Mbps line, which slows to 64 Kbps once the limit is reached. I light of that, I think 250 GB is pretty liberal.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 8:00

118.5.2008 11:30

250 is pretty good considedring my ISP is going to switch to a 10 GB limit per month starting in July

128.5.2008 11:48

My ISP hasn't complained yet, and I average between 150-175 GB/month. But I'm confused - this includes web browsing? And streaming various multimedia from websites? So if I browse on YouTube and watch a few clips, that counts toward the 250GB? That would suck if I had Comcast. I know my wife is online all during the day. She's not downloading anything, but she's definitely using bandwidth. Not a good deal if you have a family with kids.

138.5.2008 12:23

Keep the pressure up by switching people!
The a*sh*les deserve to die.

148.5.2008 12:59

Originally posted by emugamer:
My ISP hasn't complained yet, and I average between 150-175 GB/month. But I'm confused - this includes web browsing? And streaming various multimedia from websites? So if I browse on YouTube and watch a few clips, that counts toward the 250GB? That would suck if I had Comcast. I know my wife is online all during the day. She's not downloading anything, but she's definitely using bandwidth. Not a good deal if you have a family with kids.
All activity would be included in your totals (surfing, email etc.) and not just what you actually download, as far as I can tell.

Personally, if this came to reality, I think a few things need to happen:

1. An automated email needs to be sent to subscribers when they are getting close to the download limit (i.e 50GB left) so they know they are almost over the limit and need to throttle back to avoid being charged.

2. If Comcast doesn't setup some sort of notice for individuals who are close to their bandwidth limit they would probably face all sorts of backlash (possible lawsuits, or even just loosing a decent size of their customer database) when hundreds or thousands of individuals get hit with massive "overage" charges.

That being said, I believe 250GB is a decent amount, although I personally think if a limit was to be imposed at all it should be 500GB or more instead of 250GB.

Peace

EDITED by Pop_Smith: Grammar issues :P
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 May 2008 @ 13:01

158.5.2008 14:26
rob0t3ch
Inactive

First off...........Comcast is shady, expensive and poorly customer serviced. They are a disgrace to American Business.

Second, I don't have their TV; rather I have Directv and because of this, Comcast somehow feels inclined and righteous to charge me (and every other customer in the same position) a whopping 57.95 for internet service alone. HOW IS THAT RIGHT??? Isn't that "extortion"?? Kinda like saying "Buy all my services or you'll be sorry with an extraordinary pricetag for only 1"

NOW...........at nigh 60 bucks a month...........my ass should be able to download whatever the frak I want and however much I want. No ifs, ands or buts.

Cap my bandwidth (unfairly of course as 250GB MAY not be bad, except the streaming issues) and I will go somewhere else.........EVEN DSL. If unavailable then I'm hittin' up Sat internet. Little pricey but I guess that may just be the "price" to pay huh?

168.5.2008 14:32

250 Gigs is not enough and more like an abuse. I have their 8mps package so I pay a good amount to be able to be used through three pc's, my Palm, my Xbox, my PS3 and my PSP. 250 might seem like a lot but when two of those computers is in the hands of college students who surf a lot and also watch a lot of You Tube videos and email constantly than the bandwidth usage will be used up rather quickly if the browsing and the streaming is included in the deal. Not that I am attacking the statement svstang made about having a life when it comes to being online, unfortuneatly my two sisters (the college students) are usually online a good 8 hours at a time not including my habits and the fact that I also sometimes work from home, 12 hours a day.

178.5.2008 16:18

Err....I think before everyone says that it is too little or too much, maybe you should see how much you actually use. You might be surprised.

For those worried about streaming from Youtube, don't they use the .flv format? If so, the file sizes are pretty small. I am sure, if you tried, you could use all 250GB in a month but that would be 1,000s of videos. Now HD streaming...that is another story.

Because I don't know, I am curious as to how much bandwidth a MMORPG uses per hour. Some of those hardcore WOW guys/gals could be in trouble.

On the note about the possibility of pay packages for GB amounts, you can think of it exactly like a cell phone plan. I pay $45.00 a month for 1000 anytime minutes and unlimited text messaging. I honestly don't see why ISP didn't do this from the start. But then again, if they did, the internet might not be as big as it is today.

Sadly, as I get older I start to realize something:
I used to pay less and get more. Slowly, I am paying more and getting less.

188.5.2008 18:20

Couple of things...

A) no matter if 250GB is alot or not... it's still not "unlimited" which has been the gripe all along. Sell me "unlimited" and I'll use "unlimited"...

B) A "tiered" plan where you pay a certain amount based on your bandwidth needs will not adhere to the "net neutrality" standards and would/should be dealt with as such by the FCC.

This is what these guys want. They want to be able to charge you based on your usage. The big guys pay a small amount per use while you and I will pay out the nose because we don't have lucrative high bandwidth websites and extensive "deals" with ISPs.

199.5.2008 2:01

250 is not a lot, i dont use that every month, but there are definitely months where i can use double that. thats only 20 hd movies in a month, and normal web browsing.

20 movies isnt much when youre building a library

209.5.2008 14:08

Originally posted by jetyi83:
250 is not a lot, i dont use that every month, but there are definitely months where i can use double that. thats only 20 hd movies in a month, and normal web browsing.

20 movies isnt much when youre building a library
This is what bothers me. Only people that are bothered by a 1/4 tb cap per month are pirates who believe paying for a high speed connection entitles them to everything on the net. A tad delusional me thinks.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 May 2008 @ 14:09


219.5.2008 14:31

Originally posted by svtstang:
Originally posted by jetyi83:
250 is not a lot, i dont use that every month, but there are definitely months where i can use double that. thats only 20 hd movies in a month, and normal web browsing.

20 movies isnt much when youre building a library
This is what bothers me. Only people that are bothered by a 1/4 tb cap per month are pirates who believe paying for a high speed connection entitles them to everything on the net. A tad delusional me thinks.
Sounds like you work for a cable company. :-)
Frankly, any caps are idiotic. Why are we allowing these clueless gatekeepers to charge us for something that should be ours, anyway? When you count up the government subsidies these losers get, and all of the infrastructure that we, the taxpayers, already paid for, where do they get off putting limits on it?
And why are we allowing these greedy jerks to hold us back technologically? We all know they're hoarding fiber to drive the prices up. We all know they're lying about how "hard it is" to "maintain" the Internet (like they're doing that anyway).
So why not decapitate them?
Everybody's crying for nationalization and socialization of resources nowadays, so why not put these fat, greasy corporate heads out to pasture?

229.5.2008 15:31

Lol nah, nowhere close to working for a cable company. What people do on the net is their own business, I just find it amusing what some people think they "deserve" for spending 50 bucks a month for their 8 meg connection. Pirate if you want, just don't make ridiculous arguments that a cap, a large one at that, is not enough because you can't pirate as many movies as you would have otherwise. You must admit, that sounds ridiculous doesn't it?



239.5.2008 15:55

Quote:
I just find it amusing what some people think they "deserve" for spending 50 bucks a month for their 8 meg connection. Pirate if you want, just don't make ridiculous arguments that a cap, a large one at that, is not enough because you can't pirate as many movies as you would have otherwise.
What I think I "deserve" is exactly what I paid for, which is "unlimited". Unlimited means as much as I am capable of getting with my "promised" speeds. If I want to open the pipe and stream the entire fricken internet onto a HD at my measly bitrate that the cable company allows me to use then that is what I "deserve".

The US is LAGGING in the world when it comes to speed. We have nothing compared to Asia. Our current greedy companies cannot keep up with the world or with US demands and so are trying to weasle out of their commitments with this bullcrap.

Try this. UPGRADE YOUR FRIGGEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO FIBER OPTIC AND GIVE US REAL BANDWIDTH ... and quit griping about how much bandwidth Johhny Moviewatcher is stealing from Grandma.

249.5.2008 16:18

Try this. UPGRADE YOUR FRIGGEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO FIBER OPTIC AND GIVE US REAL BANDWIDTH ... and quit griping about how much bandwidth Johhny Moviewatcher is stealing from Grandma.


It was changed over too fiber optics!


It is too live life too the fullest then never lived at all.

259.5.2008 19:57

lol.....edited for, well.....it's too tempting to stir the pot :P

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 May 2008 @ 20:13

269.5.2008 20:07

+1

Common sense still does exist.



279.5.2008 20:20
varnull
Inactive

link in my sig... read more..

2810.5.2008 0:14
susieqbbb
Inactive

I find this stupid first windows vista is downloading 400 meg updates at a time which means within a month 800 megs of your 250 gig's is gone just like that how lame and worse they are punishing people that use bittorrent for legal uses and any one can show a court of law how many legal bittorrents there are out there that are open source legal downloads. even funnier still Comcast currently watches all traffic on there servers and worse they will send teams of employees to search your computers illegally so no amount of limiting will work if they are going to limit me i am going to dsl and will tell comcast to go straight to %$##$% and take there service with them.

lame morons

2910.5.2008 6:23
cousinkix
Inactive

COMCAST will never be my ISP. I'm not gonna do business with jerks who lie about everything; when you ask questions. Their cable TV service is bad enough. If you're lucky, you live in a town, where this corporate whore monopoly bought up another service provider's contract without even re-negotiating a contract with city councils...

3012.5.2008 9:02

stuntman_, I hope you are burning the wires right now! 10 G is an insaine number.

250 is generous in my estimation. Yes, for many this will be a cut back. I suspect my house might use somewhere in that range some months. We have lots of streaming. What I am fearful about is Comcast is fairly dishonest. They need to make your usage clear and easy to know. I am figuring they are hoping to use this to rip off their customers.

I say if you can get a better deal do so. I bet Comcast will not press their customers that can switch to a better service.

3112.5.2008 19:18

I am not a Comcast customer, however, my ISP does have limits also in an "unlimited" plan. They suggest upgrading to a higher speed package....just what I need, hit the limit faster. Here is their communication.

November 7, 2007

Dear Valued Customer:

Please read this critical system message from PenTeleData and Blue Ridge Communications regarding the excessive usage statistics that continue to be recorded for your residential Internet account.

PenTeleData previously informed you about excessive bandwidth usage through your cable modem account. After careful analysis of recent usage data on your account during the month of October, it was determined that your cable Internet account continues to consume bandwidth in excess of what is considered normal for the package that you are paying for. We asked you to review your computer system(s) and your usage patterns for any activity you thought might cause your account to exceed the acceptable usage totals. PenTeleData also asked that you sharply reduce the bandwidth utilization for your account.

Today, your cable Internet service account remains identified as utilizing an excessive amount of bandwidth.

Due to your obvious bandwidth needs, we ask that you either convert to a higher speed residential package, by calling Blue Ridge Communications 1-800-CABLE77 or a PenTeleData commercial Internet account by contacting our Sales department at 1-800-281-3564, ext 7715, or contact BRC to terminate your cable Internet service account.

Please be advised that if you do not decrease your bandwidth usage or contact us to upgrade your service within 10 (ten) business days of the date of this email/letter, Blue Ridge Communications may stop providing your Internet service. Blue Ridge Communications will suspend your service and appropriately refund you any prepaid amounts.

Thank you for your business and continued support.

PenTeleData/Blue Ridge Communications

It took me 3 phone calls to ACTUALLY get someone to tell me what my limit is...in my case. 85 GIG download, 15 gig UPLOAD. The direction of the traffic is also important. Since I have no other choice in ISP available, I keep my traffic under control, as the only option would be to go to a "business account". Quite pricey. I would be grateful for 250 gig a month download for now.

3212.5.2008 20:20

It boils down to "if you don't like the service, go elsewhere and quit "bitchin" about something which you have no control over.

3314.5.2008 20:11

Originally posted by bilbo65:
It boils down to "if you don't like the service, go elsewhere and quit "bitchin" about something which you have no control over.
I would love to take my business elsewhere..I don't like Comcast at all. THERE are no other providers in Houston, Texas or I would. My Giganews account alone averages 300-500 gb per month. Where should I go elsewhere?

3414.5.2008 20:16

Uggg

Do you expect any rational person, let alone the cable company, to pity you when you are generating 500 gigs a month of pure piracy? God forbid you have to cut it down to a measly 250 gigs a month to stay under the radar...



3514.5.2008 20:22
varnull
Inactive

Soon there will be another way... when we all set up wireless and connect to each other and set up a proper "undernet" free from governments and fascist cartels of ripoff media moguls... Even then you will have to show some respect for bandwidth... because when it is totally free the controllers will block "abusers" who impact on other fair users.

Until then I wasn't born with enough middle fingers............

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 May 2008 @ 20:35

3614.5.2008 23:12

Originally posted by svtstang:
Uggg

Do you expect any rational person, let alone the cable company, to pity you when you are generating 500 gigs a month of pure piracy? God forbid you have to cut it down to a measly 250 gigs a month to stay under the radar...
and who wants pity? Just a shame lackeys to the big corporations come in and pretend they are the ones to judge other's downloads. What piracy? Who said if you download that it's always piracy? I guess there are some that come here to look at the "pirates". Now there are legal downloads of games and movies on the net. I guess now people know exactly what I download & upload.

I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
- Dave Barry

3715.5.2008 0:03

Maybe you should set up your own internet provider company. Then you'd be in complete control. Or use dialup as a backup....

3815.5.2008 5:39

Originally posted by varnull:
Soon there will be another way... when we all set up wireless and connect to each other and set up a proper "undernet" free from governments and fascist cartels of ripoff media moguls... Even then you will have to show some respect for bandwidth... because when it is totally free the controllers will block "abusers" who impact on other fair users.

Until then I wasn't born with enough middle fingers............

Even if you do this someone in the group will make a virus and boom bam bong!!!

3915.5.2008 6:52

Quote:
Try this. UPGRADE YOUR FRIGGEN INFRASTRUCTURE TO FIBER OPTIC AND GIVE US REAL BANDWIDTH ... and quit griping about how much bandwidth Johhny Moviewatcher is stealing from Grandma.


It was changed over too fiber optics!
Mine isn't.It's the same copper drop wire that has been hanging across my yard for the last thirty years.

The infrastructure where I live is overwhelmingly copper wire connected to the optical network.
The fact is that my ISP (Sympatico) offers 'unlimited' downloads with speed 'up to' and a tiny asterisk;and is in the process of renting the politicians whom I pay to f**k up the country to allow them to 'shape'
my traffic - i.e. degrade my service to pad their bottom line.
Would anyone put up with this same nonsense if it was voice service on a telephone line."It's only a small minority who yak all day;the people who don't talk a lot are subsidizing the long winded"

4015.5.2008 10:11

svtstang, although I agree with your sentament however, I did not notice much whining. You might be over reacting in this case. There are plenty of cases where users have been slammed for doing legal down loads. That is why the FCC stepped in. Not because they favor pirates over business.

I also am conviced Comcast users will be lucky to get 100G a month. Comcast is known for bait and switch, breaking contracts etc. They are forever getting into touble for doing something so underhanded it is ilegal. Comcast claims normal users only use 2 G per month. I see that happening if you only have broadband to check your email account once a week. I really can't see them paying all that extra money for broad band. I figure they are just doing their usual lying.

attar, you are lucky that you are not in the US as far a many of our laws and practices. You are correct on the copper wire. Comcast wants to charge over $100/month for something the same wire they charged $20 a month for when it was laid. HD TV has has made them hungry for band width they never had in the first place.

4115.5.2008 13:27

The thing is, he said he is using Giganews.....dont know too many people using usenet and downloading 500 gigs of legal content. Lets quantify that, you download over 100 full dvd's of data a month! But of course, that is all linux iso's just like everybody else using up that much bandwidth.

Corporate lackey? It is called common sense. I am afraid you are lacking it. If you want to download the entire freaking internet go ahead, just be prepared to get cut off, as you should. Get ready for this, my isp has a 40 gig cap a month! And guess what, I survive. Your sense of entitlement is ridiculous.



4216.5.2008 7:10

Here is a good one!

A Comcast user downloaded leopard, a Mac OS and his firewall was attacked but it held. Then they sent a Comcast truck out to the house but the owner would not let them in. Sniffing traffic is not legal without a warrent. This company is as lawless as some of their users.

I bet Comcast is really looking at a much lower limit like 50 G. They will need to come up with the smallest limit that will not produce a mass exodus. They just announced a ridiculously high amount to reduce the rush of torrent use. Apparently they have not stopped their torrent attacks either. I just got an email from a Comcast user that suffered a Sandvines attack last night. They promised the FCC they would stop that practice. However, they did not state when.

432.6.2008 23:18

Here we go with more of Comcast Lousy Service. I am a Comcast user and not by choice. They took over our local Cable Company InsightBB as they were Owner anyhow? Service is Lousy and telephone internet help is almost non existant or they hang up on you.I have the whole shooting match with them, Phone,Cable and Broadband and I have been trying for several months to get them to change a ISP they use as one of their roving numbers they change periodically. Problem a couple other Companies have them Black Listed so the people using that service never get's mail I send, but I get plenty Mail Refusal Notices daily. But I can use a Pop3 Gmail and everything fly's right on through. Also we had a large Send limit through Insight but Comcast is still in the older time and limits Send Size to almost ziltch. Guess my next move will be far, far away from this service. Thanks for letting me Vent!

442.6.2008 23:28

This raises an excellent point. Spoiled city people often get a choice of ISP provider. In most areas, the cable company has a monopoly. This is why some of you don't get it.

The bottom line is, the ISPs either need to give us what is rightfully ours or they need to go. Nationalize the fiber and add more. Stop letting dinosaurs hog OUR infrastructure.

453.6.2008 1:47

In a few years whebn the sat providers are lower on there internet service then the cable companies are going what happen too all our people we had oh satallite got internet and faster then cable.

It will be a few years before they have the speed and the people because who really wants to pay 200 a month since I am getting internet for 20 a month through charter.

463.6.2008 7:11

I use Comcast but I have never used their email postoffice. I live near DC. Someone went on a rampage at the Comcast customer service area. She took a hammer to all their computers. She didn't even get any jail time. She had to pay for the damages and had to work plenty of community service. That probably means the judge figured she had been provoked.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive