Print 78 comment(s) - last by Labotomizer.. on May 20 at 7:56 AM

  (Source: Viacom/Time Warner)
Capped conditions could offer between 300-500 GB per month, or about 130 hours of HD video

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), America's largest cable internet service provider, has been experimenting with data caps in the American South in an effort to crack down on individuals it feels are using the internet too much.

I. Big Family?  Prepare to Pay Fines for "Overusing" Comcast's Pipes

In April it announced:

This information applies only to XFINITY Internet customers in Huntsville and Mobile, AL; Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, GA; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, MS; Knoxville and Memphis, TN; and Charleston, SC.

In these markets, the data amount included with all XFINITY Internet tiers will be 300 GB per month. We will offer additional gigabytes in increments/blocks of 50 GB for $10 each.

Comcastic day
Comcast claims its customers don't mind being capped and metered.
[Image Source: cmorran123/Flickr]

And there's no opting out, unless you're on an Economy Plus plan (one of the cheapest plans):

Unless you are an Economy Plus customer, you cannot opt out of this new usage plan.

300 GB would cover roughly 130 hours worth of gigabytes of HD videos a month.  Or to put it slightly differently, that would be the equivalent of each family member in a four-person family watching about 16 different movies or 30 TV episodes a month (64 movies total for the family).  Of course that's assuming the family members don't do anything on the internet; if they do, that would mean less videos.

This is all music to Comcast's ears at it means bigger profits.  Comcast made "only" $6.8B USD in net profit in 2013, according to its 10-K filing.  A blockade on the traffic of its most active users, such as large families watching "too much" HD video on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube and on Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) could pad those profits, both by cutting maintenance costs due to less network usage and could allow Comcast to pay less money in developing more bandwidth in various regions.

Even with Netflix paying it fees, Comcast refuses to allow its customers to freely use their connections, without paying it yet more fees for "internet overuse" if they watch a lot of video. [Image Source: Mashable]

Of course Comcast is also trying to squeeze on the other end.  It recently began throttling users with Netflix, forcing Netflix to pay it extra fees.  Now Netflix users may face not only the extra costs of Netflix's payout to Comcast -- which Netflix, of course passes on to the consumer -- but also extra fees if they run over their data cap.

YouTube is rumored to be under similar pressure.  Google may have to pay Comcast a toll of its own or be throttled.

Currently, Comcast is charging $10 USD for each additional 50 GB you use over your cap (so $10 USD to watch an additional ~22 hr. of HD video).

II. Plan Will Go Nationwide in 2-5 Years

In a conversation with investors this week, as noted by Ars Technica, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen revealed the plan is to extend these caps to all customers nationwide.  

[Image Source:]

Comments Mr. Cohen:

I would predict that in five years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.  

I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.  And that number may be 350—that may be 350 gig a month today, it might be 500 gig a month in five years.

We don't want to chase our customers away, so we are rolling out different models, different approaches.  We are surveying our customers.

In an interview with Ars Technica from Nov. 2013, a Comcast spokesperson remarked:

We surveyed our heavy data users and 80% thought this approach was fairer than our past approach, which was a 250 GB/month static cap with an extremely rarely used last resort option of account termination for users who went far beyond that amount and who did not voluntarily curb usage when we asked them repeatedly to do so.

The approach we’re trialing in Atlanta, and elsewhere, is fairer because it eliminates that prior policy and creates a flexible mechanism for heavy data users to pay more to use more and for light data users to save money for using less.

98% of our customers nationally don’t use 300GB/month so, for those that want to use more they now can and we’re seeing customers in our trial markets taking advantage of the option to use more if they want to—a clear indication that this approach is working.

To put 300GB in context, our median customer’s data use is about 16 to 18GB per month.

The comment is slightly misleading, though, as Comcast only recently started experimenting with terminating its "overactive" users -- including large families with multiple users -- who "overuse" their connections.  Comcast is likely right in a way; customers might be happier with it charging them a penalty with a slightly higher cap (300 GB) rather than sending threats and eventually terminating them for going over a smaller cap (250 GB).  But customers likely would be a bit irritated at both schemes, particularly given Comcast's record profits.

Comcast originally tried to cast active users as a pack of filesharing pirates, but it's moved away from that message, given that many of the most active users are actually families who view a lot of HD internet video from services such as YouTube and Netflix.  Hence Comcast is largely hitting legitimate, law-abiding customers in the pocket books, not content thieves.

III. Monopoly: No Opt Out Capping Could Soon Extend to Time Warner Customers

What makes the plan even scarier to some users is Comcast's pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), the second place provider of cable internet, for $45.2B USD.

Comcast has roughly a 25 percent share of the broadband market; TWC controls around 12 percent of the market [source].  Comcast currently controls roughly 19 percent of subscription cable TV market; TWC controls around 9 percent of it.  Together the pair would control roughly a third (37 percent of broadband; 28 percent of cable TV) of two vital U.S. communications markets.  Or to put it in another way Comcast may soon control 2 out of every 5 U.S. internet connections.
Time Warner Cable
[Image Source: Reuters]

And what makes the situation even more severe is that in many regions, Comcast or Time Warner are the only service provider(s), so the deal will give it many local monopolies or duopolies with another large service provider.

For that reason many expected the deal to be scuttled by U.S. antitrust regulators, but Comcast is playing smart and greasing the cogs, paying out millions to members of Congress.  Now the acquisition is generally expected to be approved, with some restrictions.

But Comcast appears to be hoping that regulators won't limit its plans to throttle and cap the internet.  Mr. Cohen comments:

I doubt it [will be a factor] in the merger review because it really has nothing to do with our transaction. It's a generic industry-related issue.  But we wouldn't be stunned [if the FCC tries to ban data caps with net neutrality rules] because people have tried to make this an open Internet issue.

In other words if you regional provider is Time Warner Cable or Comcast, expect to soon have a capped connection and/or be moved to metered pricing schemes.

That's good news for Comcast and its institutional investors, who are reaping the rewards of the monopoly they worked so hard to set up via aggressive acquisitions and political payoffs.  For the average consumer living in a household with 2-4 people it's probably not a huge disaster.  But the real pain will be felt by small businesses and large families, both of which may face major fees on a monthly basis under Comcast's new rules.

Internet cables
After paying off politicians, Comcast expects little resistance to its plan.
[Image Source: Flickr/frankieleon]

Comcast was recently voted the worst company in the U.S. by a consumer survey.  It is the second time that Comcast won that award.

Sources: Comcast [speech to investors; PDF], [2], [3], Ars Technica

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By villageidiotintern on 5/15/2014 4:52:45 PM , Rating: 5
It's not like we pay money to them or anything. Jeez.

RE: Yeah!
By villageidiotintern on 5/15/2014 4:55:04 PM , Rating: 5
And Comcast is daring government to regulate them. It's as if they know they have paid everybody and the checks cleared.

RE: Yeah!
By MScrip on 5/15/14, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah!
By Motoman on 5/15/2014 5:30:19 PM , Rating: 5
That's not the point that's being made.

They're capping data because they *can*. Because they are a monopoly...and you as a user have no choice to use a different cable provider that might offer a better option.

There's nothing more behind this than abuse of a monopoly position. Pure and simple. The monopolies (and rare duopolies) need to be destroyed. The market needs to function.

RE: Yeah!
By Cypherdude1 on 5/16/2014 1:17:06 AM , Rating: 5
That's not the point that's being made. They're capping data because they *can*. Because they are a monopoly...and you as a user have no choice to use a different cable provider that might offer a better option. There's nothing more behind this than abuse of a monopoly position. Pure and simple. The monopolies (and rare duopolies) need to be destroyed. The market needs to function.
When it comes down to it, it's basically the connection to your house which the cable companies are exploiting. Eventually, someone will come up with technology which circumvents this while still giving you 90 Mbps with low latency.

I understand Google is investing heavily to route fiber optic to houses. Maybe that will stop Comcast from gouging us. In fact, a direct fiber optic connection can give you 1 Gbps, 11 times what cable can.

We know how corrupt Washington DC is. We know almost anyone can be bought off for the right price. With Comcast allegedly buying everyone off, now we know why they never upgraded the nations information infrastructure. Now we know why there was never a national effort to create a new federally based fiber optic cable network.

Corruption is why America is failing, why other countries are surpassing us and why the government is broke. That is, our large USA corporations have not been paying any taxes. You're not going to hear about this on any of the cable news channels because they are sponsors. You should know, because the USA no longer has enough money, they're shrinking the size of the Army to pre-WW2 levels and eliminating the A-10 Warthog.

There are several documentaries you must see:
1. Inside Job , 2011 Best Documentary Oscar winner
2. We're Not Broke
3. Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream
4. Gasland I & II
5. Split Estate

RE: Yeah!
By Mitch101 on 5/16/2014 9:26:22 AM , Rating: 2
Im glad there are a few on Capital Hill that might be fighting this.

He wants to adopt "net neutrality" rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites

Lets see if they have the guts to maintain that stance.

RE: Yeah!
By ianweck on 5/16/2014 4:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Did you just link to an article that's four years old?

RE: Yeah!
By Alexvrb on 5/16/2014 9:44:21 PM , Rating: 5
Son, I am disappoint.

Net Neutrality does NOT regulate pricing or data plans - including caps. So "capped" plans like this and wireless data plans are unaffected. All Net "Neutrality" does is transfer control over throttling and access from the ISPs to the Feds. From bad to worse.

Anyway, even if they DID exert even more control over the private sector, and force ISPs to remove caps... they'd just hike the prices of your plans and/or drop your speeds across the board (you know, to be neutral about it). They're not going to lose money, the consumer always pays in the end.

RE: Yeah!
By overlandpark on 5/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah!
By Labotomizer on 5/19/2014 3:01:33 PM , Rating: 3
Entitlement is the reason America is failing, corruption isn't the real problem. Americans feel they are entitled to lots of things. I see it all over the posts on here. Just because the cable service is the best service in your area doesn't mean there isn't competition from other providers. U-Verse, DSL and sometimes wireless are options. Google is rolling out fiber as well as some other companies, including AT&T. Will that competition change these caps? Sure. But for now there is a trade off for the best service. Sorry.

You're not entitled to unlimited bandwidth, you're not entitled to anything. You guys really need to get over yourselves. I just had Comcast installed at my new house in Houston on Friday. I'm seeing amazingly low latency. My TWC in SA gets ~50ms latency to a TWC Metro Ethernet circuit at my office. From Comcast in Houston I'm getting ~9ms.

There are good ideas on here as well. If you're flagged as a high consumption user perhaps they throttle you during peak hours. That's a fantastic suggestion. But the idea that Comcast "has no right" to implement caps is absurd. They have every right. If customers leave for alternatives they'll change their mind.

RE: Yeah!
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2014 3:20:35 PM , Rating: 4
Daily Tech more and more resembles an "Occupy Wall Street" rally, especially on anything ISP/Internet related.

Bring your pitch forks Bra burning optional.

RE: Yeah!
By Labotomizer on 5/19/2014 8:03:53 PM , Rating: 3

It's funny that someone would say a business has no right to do "X" when that service isn't something that they can't live without. So f'in irritating when people have this attitude. Do I like the idea of a cap? Not really. But unless I decide to download my entire steam library again in a couple days it's not something I really have to worry about. And maybe I'd just install the games I actually want to play if it came to that.

RE: Yeah!
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2014 8:42:11 PM , Rating: 2
I obliterated my 350gb cap a few months back. I mean like...way overkill lol. Like 700+gb OVER. I went on a Netflix binge that month and I think I queued up this massive porn collection, like the complete works of Lisa Ann or something huge like that.

So yeah they nailed me with this crazy fine. And yeah it pissed me off. But that doesn't entitle me to think they should be forced by law to not do that.

RE: Yeah!
By Labotomizer on 5/20/2014 7:56:47 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly. I may not like the policy but I will 100% fight for their rights to do something stupid. If it costs then enough business they'll change. That's the entire point of how America is supposed to work.

RE: Yeah!
By nafhan on 5/15/2014 5:44:02 PM , Rating: 5
I'll bite. What happens to that data if you don't use it? I'll tell you: nothing. If they wanted to tie capping to congestion somehow, that would make some sense.

In other words: slowing down the heaviest users during peak usage times, or even slowing down certain types of data when congestion occurs might make sense as it could improve network performance for everyone. Capping people for using a specific amount of data each month is essentially some genius business person's reason to charge people more money. There's no technical reason for it.

Anyway, I don't pay my ISP for an allotment of data. I pay them for a connection to the internet.

RE: Yeah!
By purerice on 5/15/2014 7:36:51 PM , Rating: 5
Indeed, if the load is reaching capacity the most equitable thing is to throttle heaviest users.

However that capacity doesn't shrink during non-peak hours. Loading 10GB of data per day during off-peak hours causes less stress to the network than loading 5MB of data during peak usage hours.

After the tsunami in Japan our power company gave us a choice. We could accept a 20% rate hike or have tiered rates depending on time of day. Peak hours +40%, normal hours +10%, low hours -20%.

If I were an ISP CEO, and I was at capacity load constraints with little ability to expand capacity, I would probably handle the situation by applying a variant of the Japanese model. Heaviest users get 60% speed during peak hours, 80% speed during normal hours, and 100% speed during low hours.

This 300GB cap reminds me of excuses AT&T used for removing their unlimited data offers on iPhones. "Well, this only affects 1% of users..." Then reducing the caps. "Well, this only affects 10% of users..." The lower 90% usage users don't complain because "it doesn't affect them". 3 years later, before returning to Japan, I was paying $20 more per month for 250MB/month and less talk time. I don't know how it happened but it was a wicked slippery slope and this looks no different.

Good luck America.

RE: Yeah!
By Shig on 5/15/2014 8:10:23 PM , Rating: 4
Not only are they reeming people, they are legitamately hurting US economic growth. A dedicated internet connection is no longer a luxury, it's necessary for school, business, etc. Just like the electric grid or the national highway system.

RE: Yeah!
By quiksilvr on 5/16/2014 9:10:03 AM , Rating: 1
I guess that is the confusion. The highway grid is generally a flat rate tax no matter how much you use it. But electricity is charged on a per kilowatt basis.

So should internet be a service like a highway or should it be like a utility and be charged per GB like electricity?

RE: Yeah!
By nafhan on 5/16/2014 10:33:48 AM , Rating: 5
What the telecoms are doing is attempting to bill you as if it's both a utility and a service. Why charge once when you can charge twice, right? :(

RE: Yeah!
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2014 9:30:23 AM , Rating: 2
Does Comcast offer an "unlimited" plan?

See I wouldn't mind my ISP charging me that "overage" fee so much if I even had the option of paying for an unlimited use plan. Assuming it wasn't completely outrageously priced.

RE: Yeah!
By sorry dog on 5/16/2014 10:37:33 AM , Rating: 2

If Comcast wants to cap their internet offerings, then O.K.... but they sure as hell better not be allowed to advertise it as unlimited...or at least not without getting sued.

That's the thing... I bet that if all of Comcast's customers, existing and new, had to be notified that their internet is no longer unlimited, then Comcast would be going about this differently. Lots of providers have been toying with caps, but problems arise when that starts interfering with their other products. The large MSO I used to work for, dropped the cap when you signed up for their cloud service. I wonder if Comcast will have similar exceptions?

RE: Yeah!
By Labotomizer on 5/19/2014 8:07:40 PM , Rating: 3
You're right, but the 5% of Comcast users this actually impacts will never know or care.

And you will be notified if your plan changes to where you have to pay overages. When cell phone providers went from unlimited to "unlimited" they would call and warn you about excessive usage. This isn't any different. If they're going to set a 300GB cap that you have to pay when you're over they'll need to setup a warning system and inform people. While some people will get upset, like they did when unlimited cell data went away, we'll realize that 300GB is more than enough for most people.

I get I'm on a tech site and it seems like a restriction that will be difficult to live with. It's really not that bad. And considering people are cutting their TV service to stream HD video on their circuit how else would a TV provider respond?

They can either charge everyone more or keep the prices reasonable and implement a restriction. And I have no doubt we'll see a tiered plan anyway likely tied to the speed of your connection.

RE: Yeah!
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 7:53:07 AM , Rating: 1
You pay them for what they offer to sell you.

RE: Yeah!
By FITCamaro on 5/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah!
By CU on 5/16/2014 10:23:36 AM , Rating: 2
Who is your ISP in Charleston? Do they have a limit?

RE: Yeah!
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 10:56:29 AM , Rating: 2
Home Telephone. No cap.

RE: Yeah!
By CU on 5/16/2014 12:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. Not availably where I live, but I plan to ask them if they have any plans to moving over to Mount Pleasant. For now AT&T Uverse will keep my business as they don't seem to enforce their cap.

RE: Yeah!
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
With my next home I definitely plan to make sure its in an area serviced by them. Great service and great plans.

RE: Yeah!
By Piiman on 5/17/2014 8:06:12 AM , Rating: 2
"I'm not against caps wholesale but I think they should be reasonable and fair - "

Dude this is a CORPORATION they have only one goal ..Profit... a Goal they are required by law to improve yearly. Unless the Government stops them, if they aren't all bought off already, sooner or later they will chop up your internet access and sell it like they sell you cable TV.

RE: Yeah!
By Jeffk464 on 5/15/2014 11:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
Every new news story on Comcast makes happier and happier that I gave them the boot. I'm a very satisfied ex Comcast costumer.

RE: Yeah!
By lostvyking on 5/16/2014 12:54:57 PM , Rating: 2
Hellooooooo Verizon!!!!!!

Do I Have a Legal Case?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/15/2014 5:38:20 PM , Rating: 3
My small monopoly regional ISP recently started doing this. I got a whopping $80 charge, which is like almost 3 times the amount of the monthly service itself, because I went over my "cap". The one they never bothered enforcing before and claim they informed the users about, but I'm sure it was buried in small print somewhere.

Anyway, here's my beef. They provide NO way for their customers to check on their data usage. There's no website where I can see how many gigabytes I've used, no smartphone app, no nothing. Unbelievable! They seriously told me I could call tech support for that info. CALL! An ISP, INTERNET PROVIDER, in 2014, is telling me to call a phone number for this info...

Remember when cellular carriers got sued because they were charging customers extra penalties for going over their minutes, but weren't providing those same customers a way to actually check their usage to avoid the charges?

Well isn't this the EXACT same thing?

Soooooo tell me DT, should I sue them or what? Cause I'm super pissed lol.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By ilt24 on 5/15/2014 6:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
If you were a lawyer you might be able to make something on this, but as an individual I imagine any money you might get would not have been worth the time.

Most modern routers have some kind of traffic meter. I currently have a Netgear router, with it I can see daily, weekly and monthly totals for upload and download, the D-link I had before this has something similar.

On my current router I can set the day/time to reset the counter for the month; set a Monthly limit; set some warnings (flashing LED on router, Pop up messages) for when I am getting near the limit and have the option to disable internet traffic once I hit the limit.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/15/2014 6:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
I don't want money, the $80 is nothing to me.

It's the principle... :P

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By hpglow on 5/16/2014 12:24:40 AM , Rating: 4
All that money you save living in your moms basement and not paying you child support must be substantial.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By boobo on 5/16/2014 12:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
If it's just for the principle, then start a class action. They must have gotten hundreds of people on this first month of charges.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By Jeffk464 on 5/15/2014 11:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
It might be the same thing but ISP's haven't been sued for this yet so they will see if they can get away with it.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By tayb on 5/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/16/2014 2:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
"Deregulation" has fek all to do with this. My ISP has a monopoly in my city BECAUSE of Government regulation. And they've had it for like 20 years! Long before a "Tea Party".

And of course I'm just venting. I'm not going to sue them.

0/10 troll attempt.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By NicodemusMM on 5/16/2014 7:24:11 PM , Rating: 3
Wrong. If the Tea Party had what they wanted then other ISPs would be able to lease lines from Comcast at fair rates (or establish their own) and offer competition. As it stands now there is a protracted legal battle for anyone to offer broadband if another ISP in that area contests it.

Fair Market my as$... As it stands now it's like banning someone from posting on DT because they may cause other posters to have to think.

RE: Do I Have a Legal Case?
By Rukkian on 5/16/2014 10:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if users effected by this could start a campaign to have 1000's of users call in every day for their balance. If they have to start hiring more call center personnel, maybe they will make an easy way to check.

I don't have to worry about it at this time, as I in a mediacom area and with the 50/5 plan I am on, there is a cap, but it is 999GB/month. I doubt we could hit that if we tried.

By boeush on 5/15/2014 7:44:44 PM , Rating: 1
I don't get it. Your other utility companies (gas, electric, water) don't "throttle" the service to you, or "cap" you at some monthly maximum. They simply charge you more , the more you consume of their service.

Why can't ISPs (like Comcast) simply set up the equivalent of an electricity meter -- a bit meter -- at your broadband hookup? Then they could charge you by-the-bit, and even apply congestion pricing per-bit depending on instantaneous loads over their major pipes.

That way, heavy consumers of video can pay for their indulgence, without the rest of the Internet users being forced to subsidize them while themselves consuming comparatively very little bandwidth.

This would be simple, and fair. The only reason for throttling, would be when they need to guarantee QoS for real-time streaming (e.g. for cable channel video content) for all currently active customers in a given neighborhood -- in that case, obviously such traffic would take precedence over generic Internet traffic...

I. Honestly. Don't. Get. It.

By Jeffk464 on 5/15/2014 11:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
You don't think like a corporation. They want to charge light users a heavy fee for accessing the internet and then charge heavy users an even bigger fee. Using your idea of charging by the bit you couldn't nail grandma who likes to go online to see pictures of her grand kids with the large basic fee.

By Solandri on 5/16/2014 2:15:28 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, this one is on the consumer. We love our "all you can eat" plans. Phone service used to be metered too (both cellular and landline), but most people are switching over to "call anywhere in the U.S. for a fixed monthly fee" plan.

I don't have a problem with metered service or bandwidth caps if they're priced fairly. I've been shopping for a T3 or OC3 for the building I work at. One of the quotes I got was a dedicated 100 Mbps line for $2500/mo. 1 month at 100 Mbps = 31 TB of data. So that's $0.08/GB. Factor in a 30% profit margin, and a plan with a 300 GB bandwidth cap should be about $31.50/mo. An extra 100 GB of cap should be about $10.50/mo.

I suspect Comcast's rates are far above these prices though (thank you monopoly). $10/mo for 50 GB overage is 1.9x what seems fair, and 2.5x what the bandwidth probably costs them.

Comcast only recently started experimenting with terminating its "overactive" users -- including large families with multiple users -- who "overuse" their connections. Comcast is likely right in a way; customers might be happier with it charging them a penalty with a slightly higher cap (300 GB) rather than sending threats and eventually terminating them for going over a smaller cap (250 GB).

If the ISP has a government-granted monopoly, they should be prohibited by law from denying anyone service. That's the price they should pay for being the sole provider - they must provide service for everyone. Even the bandwidth hogs.

By WxDude10 on 5/16/2014 1:57:58 PM , Rating: 4
I would still say your estimated prices for the 300GB service are still significantly overpriced. That 100 Mb T3/OC3 line comes with a quite pricey SLA AND your link is dedicated. You do not get the service guarantees with your cable connection and your are sharing a loop with upwards of 64 other homes. Taking these into account really shows how badly Comcast is trying to rip us off.

By NaperJ on 5/19/2014 4:45:51 PM , Rating: 2
Looking at it the other way, they were charging $2500 per month. Comcast charges about $50 per month. For the price Comcast charges, they should only be providing a 2Mbps link which one can use full speed all month long. But, people mostly want to stream during nights and weekends, and a HD stream is generally 6 Mbps per stream. This would work out if slightly less than 1 out of 3 neighbors streams, while allowing a little bit for other to do web surfing. But the other difference in the pricing model is that Comcast has to support 50 endpoints while the 100 Mbps supplier only supports 1.

Even with the dedicated 100 Mbps link, I suspect that the carrier was expecting less than full link utilization. They certainly didn't expect the full bandwidth to go somewhere across an ocean, for which they would need to recover half the cost from you.

AT&T, Verizon, and Google
By laviathan05 on 5/15/2014 5:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Save Us!!!

RE: AT&T, Verizon, and Google
By Kefner on 5/15/2014 5:12:32 PM , Rating: 3
Moved to FiOS a few years back, never going back to Comcast. Have a 75/35 plan where I get 84/43 actual (and NO CAP). Very jealous of those on the Google Gig fiber though, thought what I had was fast! lol

RE: AT&T, Verizon, and Google
By Bateluer on 5/15/2014 6:36:46 PM , Rating: 3
Did you notice Netflix having issues in recent weeks with Verizon FiOS throttling it? People on Reddit were having to Torrent House of Cards instead of watching it on their Netflix subscriptions.

RE: AT&T, Verizon, and Google
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 7:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
Except they largely can't as long as the mandated monopolies stand. They can't just move into an existing area and build out their network without lots of legal fights.

I can live with Caps
By stm1185 on 5/15/2014 7:47:09 PM , Rating: 4
If it was 1000, and $10 for every 100 gb over, I'd be fine with it. Wouldn't even think they were screwing me.

Or if it was 300 for the bottom tier plans (<30 mbps), 500 for the mid tier (30-100), and 750 for the top tier (100+), with $10 for every 50gb after, I'd care but I'd think it is fair.

300gb for every tier is not fair, and $10 for 10gb afterwards is just straight up taking me in the ass without lube! That is some AT&T/Verizon Wireless Cell Phone contract anal punishment right there. Unacceptable by any means.

RE: I can live with Caps
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 8:02:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah the same cap for every tier is retarded. Those paying for a faster connection are doing so likely because they're going to be using more data. So to sell them a connection that just helps them get to that cap faster is a bit ridiculous.

RE: I can live with Caps
By Dr of crap on 5/16/2014 12:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
Really you can?
Started with the cell phones. First no caps, then they restricted and now everyone is ok with it.

Now they are starting on the internet connection. ITS not ok on either the cell network, or ISP.

I pay for a speed value on my ISP. But there is no usage limit/cap as it should be.

What is the purpose of getting me 100mps connection if I cant use it 24/7 as I want to? If the providers network cant supply everyone at peak times, then don't offer unlimited / higher speeds until the time that you can meet it! And it does no good to charge extra for higher usage, if I have restricted speeds as well.

RE: I can live with Caps
By stm1185 on 5/18/2014 11:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
If they could only give access at a speed that every user could use concurrently 24/7, how fast do you think that would be?

I'm guess sub 1mbps.

Avg customer uses 16-18GB/month??
By Deluzion Confuzion on 5/15/2014 7:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
To put 300GB in context, our median customer’s data use is about 16 to 18GB per month.

I find that hard to believe considering I can buy a game off Steam and use that much just downloading it. My girlfriend and I avg between 250GB-350GB/mo just from gaming and Netflix/Prime usage. Hell, just updating the apps and games on our tablets and phones probably uses several GB a month. Just wait a few years till 4k movies are getting streamed, and the caps will already be in place for it.

I currently pay $99/mo to the Mediacom internet monopoly in my very large city. That gets me above their lower tier caps of 150,250, and 350GB/mo. I have seriously been considering dropping it down and just getting Dish network with all the premium channels as it's almost cheaper vs streaming.

I guess that's their ultimate goal, to make it so expensive and slow to stream TV over the internet, that you end up dumping your inet to go back to TV subscriptions.

$99/mo gets me 105Mb with a 2TB/mo cap. and no TV channels, inet only.

By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 8:00:39 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say you have a pretty good deal then. Cable alone is going to run you $50/mo even during the promotional periods and then you're still going to need internet.

By Schrag4 on 5/16/2014 11:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
...just from gaming and Netflix/Prime usage

How much do you watch Netflix/Prime? It sounds to me like you use much more than the average customer. Remember, for every "plugged-in" customer like you, there are probably several like my grandmother, who only uses internet access to send and receive emails. And of course the vast majority fall somewhere in between. I'm not too shocked that the median customer's data use is less than 20 GB per month.

Competition is the cure
By coburn_c on 5/16/2014 2:47:46 AM , Rating: 4
In my town we have both Comcast and FiOS. Comcast in our town has never capped data. Comcast in our town offers 60MBps down for 75 dollars. Comcast in our town is actually competitive.. because it has competition.

bye bye HD
By Shadowmaster625 on 5/16/2014 10:01:22 AM , Rating: 2
Who in their right frickin mind is going to pay comcast extra to watch videos in HD? I will watch youtube in 240p before I pay them extra.

RE: bye bye HD
By Piiman on 5/17/2014 8:31:27 AM , Rating: 2
LOL anyone with Comcast and a HD TV that's who. Because you have to buy an HD package to get any good HD channels. I know that isn't the Internet side but they do charge for HD and you can bet they would love to charge for HD internet streams if they can.

Is this really news?
By johned3 on 5/15/2014 6:41:47 PM , Rating: 1
I live in Michigan. Comcast has had data "thresholds" where I live for years. I moved last year and had to switch from Comcast to Charter. I found an article stating the Charter was "following Comcast" by implementing data caps dated 2010. My Comcast account had a meter when I logged in showing my limit and monthly usage so I could track it. Most I ever used was 160GB of 250. Charter has the same cap where I live now. Unfortunately, Charter doesn't have a meter so it's anybody's guess.

RE: Is this really news?
By Piiman on 5/17/2014 8:22:04 AM , Rating: 2
ditto live in south Florida and Comcast has had a cap for years. It was 250gb and we never came close to going over. However that was before Netflex and streaming in general so I might come close to that cap today. I don't really know though since I went to FIOS 3 years ago.

Nashville has had these for awhile
By Avatar28 on 5/16/2014 10:30:18 AM , Rating: 1
I have yet to go over (or know someone who has) but I've gotten close a couple of times. The worst thing about it is, honestly, the mental transaction cost. If I want to go on a torrenting spree or download some games from my steam library (especially newer ones) the possibility of going over nags at the back of my mind.

The other really shitty thing is that it screws you if you want to use cloud services. E.g. I would like to use Carbonite or a similar service to back up my hard drive, especially pictures, my MP3 collection, etc. Trying to get all of that uploaded would completely rape my cap and probably result in an extra $50 on my bill that is already pushing $240/mo (and that's TV, internet and DVR only, no premium channels or anything).

By FITCamaro on 5/16/2014 10:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I really don't feel for anyone who complains about not being able to pirate lots of stuff. Yes there are legit uses for torrents but let's be honest. Probably around 95% of it is illegal.

big bills
By dgingerich on 5/15/2014 5:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
That's why we pay them so much, to pay off the politicians for their own plans. Why not pay the money to support a politician that won't give in to them?

Oh, yeah, they'll take Comcast's money anyway.

There really is no way out of this. Get used to it.

I wonder....
By dxf2891 on 5/15/2014 7:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
how much longer before they begin to meter TV usage? I can see it now: You've watch more that 30 hours of TV this week, so we're doubling your cable bill. Or you've made to many calls this month, so we're doubling your telephony bill. The only thing their going to do is drive more people into the waiting lap of Uverse. I know it's a horrible service, but sometimes you have to stomach horrible to ensure that better behaves.

Caps are fine...
By radzer0 on 5/16/2014 10:41:06 AM , Rating: 2
But the cap that they are offering is too low for what people use now days. On my phone without streaming anything under basic use between facebook, instagram, etc etc with maybe lets say 60minutes of youtube a month I use around 10gb. Thats no downloading nothing. Tablets, smart tvs, you have 4k streaming around the corner. I say atleast 500gb if not 750gb.

The equipment should be upgraded, has nothing to do with the main feeds being maxed out. Nodes are overloaded and there trying to prevent upgrading them. Cox down here is going around upgrading there oldest docsis3.0 nodes to something that can handle 4x what the old ones could so that they can run more people into a node and backbone system. Less equipment to worry about.

They should offer a unlimited plan also which i doubt many people would get but it would be there. Even if its only 20-25mbit vs the faster capped speeds.

I feel bad for those of you with comcast, hopefully at&t with its basicly unlimited fiber system will get there stuff together and raise to a higher cap since I know they arent anywhere near using all of there node power.

By SeeManRun on 5/16/2014 12:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
My TV comes through the same cable as my Internet access. It is all segregated, but the data still comes through the same pipes.

If I leave my TV on 24 hours a day, there is no problem with that. It is pushing hundreds of gigabytes each month to do that. Yet, if I want to use the same pipe (segregated and QOS'd off as the TV stream) to download a couple hundred gigs, I have to pay extra.

Something seems fishy here.

Comcast is Looking Backwards
By nphd on 5/16/2014 1:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
There is no need for metering. Network switching and routing speeds are growing exponentially and current technology is rapidly getting cheaper. If you're an ISP, by the time you have put your metering structure in place (and you have *somehow* been able to convince the FCC that such a system is *fair*), you could have just over-provisioned your network, and made your money by offering higher tiers of service. Comcast is in the process of building its own backbone, so they won't even have to pay usage-based peering fees. DOCSIS 3.0 (the cable internet standard) is capable of providing 1Gbps downstream, 250Mbps up. While Comcast has done a good job deploying IPv6 and DNSSEC, they have failed to upgrade their bandwidth to keep pace with industry innovation, or even effectively leverage or maintain their access network. If you still think they might know what they are doing, consider the fact that Cohen said *maybe* they'll raise the cap to 500GB in 5 years. By that time, a 10Gbps NIC will probably cost about $30. If you were connecting at that speed, you could burn through your cap in about 6 min.

What about 4K video?
By CountRock on 5/16/2014 4:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
How many hours of 4K video can you stream with 500gb data cap?

Comcast says...
By Grimer21 on 5/16/2014 5:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast execs sat down and said something along the lines of:

"Okay, the US populace, as a whole, is finally catching on that we're behind on speeds and ahead on price. They are pushing for faster Internet speeds for cheaper to catch up with the rest of the world. What do we do? Well, 4K video will probably take a good foothold within 5 years from now so what we need to do is start rolling data caps to capitalize on this. We'll make the numbers seems high (300GB of data!? I'll never use that much, doesn't matter to me!) but in reality 5 years from now when people are pushing 200mbps - 1GBPS connections they'll hit the caps rather quickly. Furthermore, we can make it seem like we're doing them a favor by regularly, but only slightly, increasing their caps free of charge.

By p05esto on 5/19/2014 10:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
I wish the government would step in and create some laws to prevent this crap. If the private industry can't offer unlimited bandwidth for fair pricing then it should be a public utility like water or whatever. Internet needs to be much cheaper than it is now and allow unlimited bandwidth. We can't keep expanding and innovating with capped and throttled internet. This is terrible. Screw any ISP that even considers such greedy options like bandwidth caps. It's horrible that cell phone companies charge so much for so little. total BS

how bout a budget play
By frozentundra123456 on 5/15/2014 5:58:01 PM , Rating: 1
I would think a tiered plan would be more fair. Problem is, if you go over, you pay extra, while I assume at least, if you use less than the 300GB you dont get to carry over that usage or get a discount.

You can look at it two ways. It is not really fair for someone that uses 30GB per month to pay the same as someone who uses the 300GB plus. So I can see a point to surcharges past a certain point. OTOH, I dont see the lighter users getting a discount.

We have Comcast for cable, and they do seem overpriced. I am sort of glad we dont have them for internet, but I doubt I would use close to the 300GB cap.

The only way to fix this
By FITCamaro on 5/16/14, Rating: 0
By HostileEffect on 5/15/14, Rating: -1
RE: Boots...
By Kefner on 5/15/2014 5:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Please share your high quality/legal free sources.

RE: Boots...
By Bateluer on 5/15/2014 6:38:34 PM , Rating: 3
Not that I don't take advantage of free wifi at coffee shops and bookstores, but I can't well sit in Barnes and Noble in my PJs and watch the uncut version of Bitten, can I? Nor can I play DCUO on Paradise Bakery's wifi. Nor can I update my Steam Library at Starbucks.

RE: Boots...
By HostileEffect on 5/16/2014 4:18:02 AM , Rating: 2
Its simple, keep using the internet from the boot next door to you after he gives you access to the internet for some random thing.

I roomed with two boots(new joins) for a while and we shared internet. The sad part is, I also gave them a basic rundown of internet security and apparently they didn't listen to a word I had to say because when my new room mates internet died for some unknown reason, just punch in the same unchanged password and its back online. My room mate is probably still using the same dumb boots internet now rather than forking out for his own connection. Its legal, they GAVE us access... at one point.

Public wi-fi, common, if there is one thing libraries ARE good for, its high quality A/C and internet access.

There are plenty other illegal ways too. Free tools to crack the internet in the room above you because hes still using WEP, take a picture of the MAC on someone else' modem, etc.

I did educate someone how to get into a WEP insecure network once, he then proceeded to mooch internet from a squad leader.

Can't forget welfare city wi-fi paid for by your own stolen money. People also unwittingly broadcasting insecure hotspots. Starbucks is always nice, just avoid the drinks unless you want to destroy the bathroom, personal experience here.

But hey, its 3:10 AM, going to sleep, thanks for the rate down from all the computer illiterates. What can I expect though when most of the "news" here is political?

Side note: Doubt there are tools for it yet but WPA2 can be broken into as well now during the address renewal.

Well there you have it, plenty of free, legal, and illegal methods of obtaining free internet.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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