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Comcast to trial slight increase in data caps

Thousands of Comcast customers around the country were far from happy back in 2008 when the cable company announced that it would put a 250 GB cap on its monthly broadband customers. Once that 250 GB cap was reached, customers were forced to pay an additional $10 for 50 GB of additional data.

Comcast has now announced that it will be making changes to the data caps it places on its plans. The cable company says that over the next few months it will begin the trial of improved data usage management approaches. The company says it will be piloting at least two different approaches in various markets. Details will be provided closer to launch, but Comcast is offering a broad overview.
The first new approach Comcast is talking about will offer multitier usage allowances that increase for each tier of its high-speed data services. The plan will start with the 300 GB usage allotment on internet essentials, economy, and performance tiers. Blast and Extreme tiers would get a higher allotment, but the specific amount isn't mentioned. Once those allotments were reached customers would pay an additional $10 for 50 GB of data.
The second approach would be to increase data usage thresholds for all tiers to 300 GB monthly with the same $10 per 50 GB over charges. The changes boil down to customers in the trial areas will get an extra 50 GB of monthly allotment.
Comcast wrote, "Our goal with this improved approach, these consumer trials, and our continued investment in our network is to create products that meet the needs of all of our residential customers (even the heaviest users) and provide everyone with a choice." 

Source: Comcast

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Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By CColtManM on 5/21/2012 9:33:40 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is not with the amount they are capping people with, that is only one dilemma. The problem is with the caps themselves.

I find it interesting I have a 150GiB cap on my AT&T DSL but a 5 GiB on my mobile phone. Isn't the bandwith the same?

In the end, I want there to be alternatives and competition, then caps may go away or be more competitive.

By zlandar on 5/21/2012 10:15:55 AM , Rating: 3
"I find it interesting I have a 150GiB cap on my AT&T DSL but a 5 GiB on my mobile phone. Isn't the bandwith the same?"

No it's not. Smartphone data goes through cell towers which have a much lower capacity than a wired cable/DSL connection.

RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By Jeremy87 on 5/21/12, Rating: 0
RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By MrBlastman on 5/21/2012 11:25:44 AM , Rating: 1
Doing what? People like yourself, besides greed, are one of the reasons we have caps like this.

I never come close to the cap right now but when I cut off cable and home phone I'm sure I'll come close to it.

By Jeremy87 on 5/21/2012 12:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
I may have agreed if caps actually existed where I live, but they don't.
It's like saying Americans are the reason people in Africa are starving. We only live as our own region allows us to.

RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By Trisped on 5/21/2012 2:43:49 PM , Rating: 2
The caps are arbitrary and designed to be fear mongering.

The fact is that all internet connections are capped. There is only so much data you can download at your specified speed in a month. The only reason to introduce a lower cap is to discourage users from using the service.

With an Internet connection (especially a home connection) this makes no sense. The major cost is the lines, and since most home internet connections are used between 4 PM and 11 PM (with the heaviest usage some where around 9PM depending on the area). This means that the highest bandwidth usage will be the same time everyday. Data caps will not change this, nor will they reduce costs.

The real reason Comcast introduced data caps is not because some users are greedy, it is because they wanted to stop people from using Hulu and Netflix. It is a 100% anti-competitive move, designed to leverage Comcast's internet services to gain it market share it is late to the game on. Don't believe me? Then why does their Xfinity service not count against the cap It is true that they can use local servers, there by saving them from having to pay for use of WAN lines. More telling though is the fact that they are not offering the same feature to current competitors.

By Solandri on 5/21/2012 6:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
The fact is that all internet connections are capped. There is only so much data you can download at your specified speed in a month. The only reason to introduce a lower cap is to discourage users from using the service.

No it's not. Have you looked at pricing for a T1? 1.5 Mbps down / 1.5 Mbps up T1 = $400/mo. Why is the T1 so expensive? The bandwidth on the T1 is exclusively yours. Nobody else can use it.

The bandwidth on DSL or cable/fiber is shared with others. It's essentially like a bunch of users sharing a T1 and splitting the cost. They each only have to pay a fraction the cost of a dedicated T1, while getting close to the full speed of the T1 at any given time. As long as nobody abuses it and uses up most of that bandwidth 24/7. The caps are meant to insure no single user abuses the shared service.

The T1 works out to 0.15 Mbps per $40 for a month.

300 GB over 1 month (30 days * 24 hours * 3600 sec) works out to 0.12 Mbps, and I'll bet costs in the ballpark of $40 a month.

The cap is priced about the same as what you'd pay for a dedicated connection. But you get the advantage of much higher burst speeds.

RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By tallcool1 on 5/21/2012 11:53:25 AM , Rating: 1
Ditto on the what are you doing in a home that causes you to upload 1TB every month?

RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By Jeremy87 on 5/21/2012 12:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for one, I host a webpage with videos I've recorded that people download. I also frequently access personal files when I'm not at home.
What other family members do I don't know, but I'm pretty sure 90% of our traffic is from the above.

RE: Concept of Caps versus Reasonable Caps
By Real_Time on 5/21/2012 2:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
I host a webpage with videos I've recorded that people download.

Shouldn't you be on a business plan then? Tsk Tsk.

By Trisped on 5/21/2012 2:50:46 PM , Rating: 1
You do not get business plans when you are working from a residential area. They are usually not available.

In addition, business plans cost more because they provide different services. If he does not need the up time and bandwidth guarantees, and if he does not want to pay for a faster upload (which is where most of the cost comes from) then there is no reason he should not be able to use a standard residential plan.

By heffeque on 5/21/2012 3:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
It could be his personal webpage and not for commercial use, so... give him the benefit of doubt!

250GB limit
By Samus on 5/21/2012 9:25:37 AM , Rating: 3
I've gone over a number of months over the past few years and never received an email or phone call or notification on my bill. I used almost 400GB one month last year (my torrent community had frozen ratio's that month and I went nuts with the pr0n) and Comcast didn't do anything. I've never been charged an extra $10/50GB...

I think these warnings are for chronic abusers who consistantly go over their data allowance and by a huge margin. 250GB is still a lot for residential internet. I have a very hard time going over it and I never think about it 'being a limitation.'

RE: 250GB limit
By Ytsejamer1 on 5/21/2012 9:41:49 AM , Rating: 2
I haven't touched anywhere close to my 250Gb limit. I cut the cord awhile ago and stream channels, Hulu, Netflix, etc without abandon. I use up only about 150GB. I do know that different devices will stream Netflix at a different bitrate. I have a media PC hooked up to my tv sets and stream through that. One of my friends streamed Netflix through his Wii and he went over his cap all the time. So, your mileage my vary.

RE: 250GB limit
By Assimilator87 on 5/21/2012 11:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
I try to reach the cap every month. My mentality is that I'm paying for 250GB, so if I don't use it all, I'm wasting it. Anyways, the month that I upgraded to a new computer, I had to redownload my Steam games and I hit a little over 500GB. Never got a warning though, so they seem fairly lenient.

Is there any place to run to?
By Dr of crap on 5/21/2012 10:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
Really data caps on your home interenet connection???
Is there any place you can go to get unlimited service anymore?

I have DSl through Century Link and as far as I know I have no data limits or have not exceeded it if there is one. And they always want to sell you a higher speed, so why limit your data if they want to sell higher speed in which you'd use MORE data?

I would HOPE that at least your wired home internet, where you WANT to have access to hugh data in streaming and such, would not limit you at all.

RE: Is there any place to run to?
By Samus on 5/21/2012 12:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T Uverse/DSL have identical caps for residential service to Comcast (250GB) but again, I don't know what they do when you go over. Supposedly they bill you $10 for every 50GB over, but that's never happened to me.

Are you sure?
By datdamonfoo on 5/21/2012 10:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure about the specifics of Comcast's cap? I have had Comcast both before and after the 250 limit, and the way I was told, and experienced, was that if you cross the 250 GB limit AND you're one of the top 5% downloaders in your area, you are given a warning. If you do it again within 12 months, you are banned from Comcast. You aren't charged extra money for going over the limit (which I've done several times, to the tune of 1-5 GB, and experienced no charge or warning). However, when the cap was first instituted a few years ago, I had a month that I downloaded over 700 GB. I received a phone call warning me not to do it again within 12 months. But that was it.

On a side note, I hate the cap. I could easily download 500 GB a month.

RE: Are you sure?
By Ravensong on 5/22/2012 4:10:07 AM , Rating: 2
I live with two guys and we on average use between 400-500GB's a month(Comcast). One month we hit the 750Gb mark and still didn't receive a call. About 2 months ago one of the guys went absolutely crazy and pushed us over the 1000GB marker.

It was at that point that we received a phone call warning us that if it happened again we would lose service for a short period of time. If they had to call us for a third time we would be completely banned from using their service for a 12 month period.

We primarily use the bandwidth for streaming HD content, downloading Steam games or content from other digital platforms. Where our usage really gets out of control is the guy that lives downstairs torrents like a fiend and doesn't understand computers/torrents all that well.

After leaving uTorrent running 27/7 for a full month with everything he had ever downloaded left on the list... we finally got Comcast's attention. I now monitor his uTorrent like a hawk since he likes to update its version and run the wizard for bandwidth settings thus consuming everything we have (25mb/4mb). The internet is bogging down... my game is lagging. DAMN COMCAST! Oh wait... DAMN STONER DOWNSTAIRS DOWNLOADING "LOADS" OF PORN! :(

By Souka on 5/21/2012 2:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
What's the point of this cap increase?

Per Comcast own statement (sorry I don't have it handy) only a very few percent of users go above 200GB, a vast majority don't go above 50GB.

When the 250GB cap went into effect I recall them making these statements...and that less than %1 of people go above 250GB.

I just find this a bit funny that's all.


RE: odd
By Trisped on 5/21/2012 3:04:06 PM , Rating: 1
It is because a number of their internet subscribers (and probably phone and cable subscribers too) are leaving to go to other providers.

I know I wouldn't pay for a plan which limited me to 67 hours of full download speed. They are basically telling me that I can use my connection for 2 hours a day. The fact is that if everyone only used their internet 2 hours a day, then they would all be using at the same time anyways, so there would be no savings for anyone. The ISP would still have to run lines to handle the bandwidth; lines which would remain unused most of the day.

Not in favor of caps at all
By SixSpeedSamurai on 5/21/2012 12:33:06 PM , Rating: 2
Companies should advertise the cap with the speed if they are going to enforce it.

I have 100 meg internet with a 500 gig cap at Charter. I rarely go over 150 gigs and we use Netflix, Hulu, Epix, and Crackle quite a bit. We only have OTA for TV.

Bad news for everyone
By iluvdeal on 5/21/2012 7:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Pipes are going to continue to get fatter and speeds will increase, whose to say 300GB is a lot of data in a few years? I'm sure 300MB seemed like a reasonable cap during the dial days. But as technology improves, it renders previous benchmarks obsolete. Comcast is issuing a blanket cap no matter the speed service you have? I don't expect this cap to change very often either. This is really bad news for consumers and business as well.

For example, let's say the pipes are fast enough in the future for Netflix to steam 1080p 3D videos to most people, would they decide against it that because while they can stream it, it would use up a customer's data cap too quickly?

There are many sites and services we take for granted now which could not exist back in the 1990s/dial up days as speeds just weren't fast enough. What sort of new sites and services which will be possible with fatter pipes in the future will get shelved or scaled back because they use too much data of the 300GB cap some company in 2012 decided was the maximum amount of data a household should use?

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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