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  (Source: Medford Mail Tribune)
It seems more ISPs are willing to test broadband data caps that subscribers must adhere to if they don't want to pay extra for their Internet service

After becoming the first major U.S. internet service provider (ISP) to experiment with charging customers if they exceeded a predetermined broadband usage cap, Time Warner Cable is expanding its broadband cap to several other markets.

Despite criticism, Time Warner says it has a system in place that is able to accurately meter and bill ISP subscribers depending on how much bandwidth they use per month over the allotted cap.  Four new cities will help the company test broadband caps, but the company did not reveal which cities have been selected.

Many internet users who simply check email and browse the internet are likely safe from exceeding a broadband cap, but as more consumers begin to watch streaming content and download higher amounts of data, there has been a lot of controversy regarding data caps.

Charter Communications also will test new bandwidth caps on its subscribers, with the cap depending on what plan subscribers are using.  Subscribers with internet speeds up to 15 Mbps per month will have a cap of 100GB, while subscribers with up to 25 Mbps per month will have a cap of 250GB.

Subscribers who have up to 60 Mbps will not have a broadband cap, multiple news publications learned.

"More than 99 percent of current Charter Internet customers use less bandwidth than the threshold allows and therefore will not need to change their surfing habits in any manner," a Charter spokesperson recently said.

Comcast also has increased internet speeds up to 50 Mbps for some subscribers, though there is a 250GB limit per month -- which some internet users can approach a bit faster than they would like.

Critics said bandwidth caps discourage people from using all of the benefits of the internet while also hurting online video and streaming web sites which have become legitimate contenders against TVs.

ISPs that haven't publicly tested broadband caps are likely patiently waiting to see how Time Warner, Charter and other companies handle their tests before launching similar initiatives.



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then why impose caps?
By kevinkreiser on 2/5/2009 9:16:07 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
More than 99 percent of current Charter Internet customers use less bandwidth than the threshold allows and therefore will not need to change their surfing habits in any manner


Tell me why youd spend money to implement a system that only affects less than 1 percent of your customers. It sounds like the less than 1 percent of customers who are overusing are balanced out by the users who aren't.




RE: then why impose caps?
By Lazarus Dark on 2/5/2009 9:50:49 PM , Rating: 5
They don't want you getting your content online, they want you to purchase payperview movies and upgrade your already rediculously overpriced package to the ultra premium package with 1000 channels of crap and all the HBO's and such that show the same 10 movies every 24 hours for a month.

How is HD video streaming ever supposed to supplant Bluray with caps like this? I watch 2 or three Blurays a week. Thats about 50 to 100 Gigabytes a week. I would easily hit even a 250 GB cap every month if I tried to stream 1080p movies instead of buying blurays. In that light, Bluray is actually cheaper than VOD!


RE: then why impose caps?
By pwnsweet on 2/6/2009 3:09:45 AM , Rating: 3
I pay AU$59.95 (about US$45) for 1536/256 20gb download cap per month (upload unlimited) and this connection is shared between 4 people. Charge me $10 per month at the same speed but with a 250gb cap and I'll kiss your feet. Be happy you live in the USA.


RE: then why impose caps?
By AnnihilatorX on 2/6/2009 3:41:00 AM , Rating: 4
In UK it's even murkier. We get so called unlimited broadband, but if you try to download more than 100GB per month, you will likely to get angry mails saying that you violate the fair use policy and if you don't tone down your usage you get speed caps put on. That's not just 1 ISPs. Most ISPs have fair usage policies in small letters.

To be fair at a lowly 2MB real speed connection, (not up to 8MB advertised theoretical unrealistic speed), it's not easy to reach 100GB.


RE: then why impose caps?
By fake01 on 2/6/2009 8:28:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually here in Australia you get capped after exceeding your quota. You get capped to 64Kbps.

I currently upgraded to ADSL TwoPlus and connected to just over 10MBps and have a 40GB quota which I pay $109.95 AUD ($70.77 USD) a month for. I can easily use that 40GB up in a week or less if I wanted to but I go easy on it.

So I'm with the guy above. I would absolutely love to get the same speed I have now for $20 a month with unlimited quota, or even 250GB as I know I'd never use it up.

People in the US have no idea how lucky they really are when it comes to broadband yet they complain when they get capped with huge quotas >:(

And sorry about your connection speed. I just upgraded from an 8MB connection and I was connected at 7.6MB which was considered very good considering the distance I am from my exchange. The cable length from my house to the exchange is roughly 2.5-3km long. How far form the exchange are you?


RE: then why impose caps?
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 12:41:09 PM , Rating: 5
Now imagine if they reduced your cap to 20 gig and made you pay the exact same. Would you think "oh well...Somalians don't get internet at all" or would you get mad?

Ppl in Australia have no idea how lucky they really are when it comes to broadband yet complain when they get capped with huge quotas compared to 3rd world countries.


RE: then why impose caps?
By LordanSS on 2/8/2009 1:04:24 PM , Rating: 1
There is no download quota in Brazil...


RE: then why impose caps?
By achintya on 2/6/2009 2:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
Envy you buggers in all these developed countries.
Here in India, we have always been subjected to download caps on broadband. And our definition of "broadband" is also pretty awesome. Any always-on high speed Internet connection providing a minimum speed of 256kbps.
Awesome!

Here the broadband plans are expensive plus slow. Unlimited plans regularly cost a bomb at shit slow speeds. An "up to" 256kbps unlimited connection can cost anywhere between Rs. 700 to Rs. 1000(USD 14-20)
The other capped connections cost less for higher speeds, but the data caps are ridiculous. I am currently paying about Rs. 700 (USD 14) for a 256kbps connection which is capped at 2mbps, ie depending upon the demand, you receive a share of the 2mbps but the minimum assured speed is 256kbps. Doing a speed test on a regular day can yield speeds of upto 3.4mbps(mysteriously) while the average speeds settle down to about ~800kbps. The data cap on this connection is 2.5GB! Charges for exceeding this cap are 80p (USD 0.016) per MB.

I would love to exchange my connection with you guys and live with a cap of 50GB. You guys simply do not understand how lucky you are. :(


RE: then why impose caps?
By gstacks on 2/7/2009 6:16:06 AM , Rating: 3
I think I may have the worst story of robbery by an ISP. In Trinidad, a communications monopoly called TSTT charges $100 USD for a 2MB connection. Speeds on this are really 400 - 700Kbps.
And the worst thing about it is that they've imposed a cap of 2GB. Yes folks, Two GB is all you can download for the month. for every 250 MB you go over, they charge you 15 USD.
You guys are lucky indeed. But I understand that by not protesting and marching in the streets like you guys are doing, we are allowing ourselves to be raped by our ISP without lube. People in developing countries need to take similar action against ISPs because they are stifling our development.


RE: then why impose caps?
By joex444 on 2/6/2009 11:42:08 AM , Rating: 5
Certainly compared to Australia, American ISPs sound great. But did you ever consider that your pricing has something to do with the fact you're an island country whereas the Internet started in the US?

The problem isn't that the 250GB caps are unfair or harm a large percent of people, its that it is a change that does not benefit end users. It is only benefical to corporations, and it allows them to extort money out of their consumers.

This would be similar to your AU ISP cutting your cap to 10GB and then asking for $15 more to get the 20GB cap. We're going from unlimited to 250GB. The next step could just as easily be 100GB as it could be 500GB. I don't want to give companies that power, at all. What we need is to remove the monopolies that our government has granted to cable operators, and foster competition. If you can pay $45 for 250GB with Comcast, but you have the choice of 100GB for $15 a month with Time Warner, guess where all the light users will go? This forces Comcast to either remove their cap, increase their speeds or decrease their price to lure consumers back.


RE: then why impose caps?
By pwnsweet on 2/8/2009 2:33:17 AM , Rating: 2
This is very true. I understand your point and you are absolutely correct. Even though Australian broadband isn't as great as US broadband, after reading about how bad it is in other countries I'm actually pretty happy now.

If only it were possible to somehow merge all the good and the bad and average it out among all countries so everyone get's an "OK" plan...I'd be willing to lose something from my connection (whether it be download quota or speed) if it meant that poor guy from Trinidad could get a faster connection with a larger cap. Would you?


RE: then why impose caps?
By xphile on 2/9/2009 9:05:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well I'd certainly go so far as to state publicly that it's put a dampener on my plans to move to Trinidad...

It's true though from all other posts that its all a matter of perspective. I live in New Zealand - which is technically next door to Australia for the US reader. And am lucky in my own country to be in one of only three cities that are on a cable network.

We get what has been "super high speed" in comparison to everyone else, IF that is, we are prepared to pay for it. Since I earn good money and rate my internet access highly I'm in that group. $150 NZ ($80US) a month gets me an 80GB cap. After that it is $2.95NZ per 2GB. 1 to 1.5MB connection at all times.

That's nothing like the US figures or prices quoted - but also nothing like what our Indian or Trinidadian friends suffer either. Im not complaining, it does the job and many even here, can only wish they had access to the cable.

As with everything no matter how bad or good you have it - someone has it better - or worse. But I agree when you get used to "X", you dont want to accept going back to "S". Technology is supposed to IMPROVE such issues over time and make things cheaper - not the opposite.


RE: then why impose caps?
By The0ne on 2/6/2009 9:18:29 AM , Rating: 2
yep yep yep


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/6/2009 12:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Well said.


RE: then why impose caps?
By StevoLincolnite on 2/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: then why impose caps?
By segerstein on 2/6/2009 7:10:29 AM , Rating: 3
I don't quite get the quota system, since there is already a natural limit how much you can transfer, and that is the transfer speed.

With 1Mbps DL, one can transfer 128KB/s or 450MB/h, that is 10.5GB/day or 316GB/month (30 days).

I mean, why sell speeds higher than 1Mbps if even with 1Mbps once can violate the cap (of eg. 250GB)?


RE: then why impose caps?
By Hieyeck on 2/6/2009 8:42:31 AM , Rating: 1
While it's great you can do math, use the bold and underlining, ISPs provide higher speeds so users can obtain their content and data faster. The service they sell EXPECTS you to NOT be pulling your maximum speed 24/7/365. They expect most users to be surfing or checking email, which only requires maybe 1 second of data transfer for every 1000 seconds on the computer. (Do NOT quote me on the math - it's just for demonstration purposes only. I'm sure each ISP has their own formula for calculating ACTUAL use and not peak use.)

If they run a backbone carrying 100MBps they're going to provide best effort service and sell more data transfer than can actually be supported - 1000 households at 1MBps (or 100 at 10). If you actually purchase a 100MBps unmetered line, it costs thousands a month just to maintain the line, and tens of thousands to run the fibre required to access the major backbones, and additional thousands a month to hook it up to those major backbones. They're not going to make money selling it only to 100 for only 50/month - that won't even cover the maintenance fees let alone recoup the initial investment to lay the fibre.


RE: then why impose caps?
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 12:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they run a backbone carrying 100MBps they're going to provide best effort service and sell more data transfer than can actually be supported - 1000 households at 1MBps (or 100 at 10). If you actually purchase a 100MBps unmetered line, it costs thousands a month just to maintain the line, and tens of thousands to run the fibre required to access the major backbones, and additional thousands a month to hook it up to those major backbones. They're not going to make money selling it only to 100 for only 50/month - that won't even cover the maintenance fees let alone recoup the initial investment to lay the fibre.


Huh? What maintenance fee does a piece of fiber thrown a few feet under the ground require? Pretty much $0 dollars, so long as nothing breaks the line.

Ya, there's the cost to maintain the routers/switches, electricity, rent, etc. But if they were going to sell an actual 100 meg connection with guaranteed bandwith, they'd be charging a lot more than $50 a month for it.

If they did only charge $50 a month, I'd say they might just break even, if those 100 ppl were in like...1/2 square mile together and instead of paying someone to work any problems, they setup flat rate contract with a company to provide on-site support. In a year, I couldn't imagine any need to do much with the switch/router, aside from cleaning.


RE: then why impose caps?
By segerstein on 2/6/2009 4:57:57 PM , Rating: 1
Hieyeck:
quote:
While it's great you can do math, use the bold and underlining, ISPs provide higher speeds so users can obtain their content and data faster.

What content? Video? SD? HD? Because for web browsing you don't need more than 1Mbps, especially if you use tabs to load pages in the background.

Why would anyone need more than 1Mbit DL line for transferring less than 300GB/month? Why would anyone want to pay a premium for a 20 Mbit line with a 300GB/month cap (since even lowly 1Mbit gets you to 316GB/month)?


RE: then why impose caps?
By Lerianis on 2/9/2009 3:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
That is the question that no one wants to answer: what is the use of these faster and faster speeds if you cannot use them to their fullest? Answer: No use, and that is why the FCC needs to step in and tell the companies "No bandwidth limits are acceptable!"

It isn't like if you use 'too much' water, gas, etc. companies get to start charging you more per gallon for it.... no, they have to charge you the same price for EVERY SINGLE GALLON, no matter how much you use.


RE: then why impose caps?
By knightech on 2/6/2009 9:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Take this as an official call to arms you software compression guys. Here is your chance to strike gold.

I remember downloading everything I needed from mp3's, email, software, and just about everything on a 56k dial up connection (And kick butt in Quake). Maybe this is an opportunity to reduce all the bloatware caused by the internet.

The way I see it, Seagate, Western Digital, and any other hard drive manufacture left should be fighting this battle in courts.


RE: then why impose caps?
By Screwballl on 2/6/2009 9:49:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Tell me why youd spend money to implement a system that only affects less than 1 percent of your customers. It sounds like the less than 1 percent of customers who are overusing are balanced out by the users who aren't.


Look at it this way... when that 1% is likely using 15-25% of the entire bandwidth for an area/region, that is why they are doing this. I do not always agree with it, and the way botnets and compromised computers are freely spreading their virus payload around, if it is an active virus that downloads and uploads then it could go well past the 1-5 GB/day cap.

With my connection and multiple computers and all sorts of wifi enabled devices, I still only see 30GB per month internet traffic (according to my DD-WRT bandwidth monitor).


RE: then why impose caps?
By Lerianis on 2/8/2009 5:37:05 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's the lie that they keep feeding you... but the fact is with cartoons for children online, more and more TV for adults being online, etc.... the normal person is getting closer and closer to these caps and the price of equipment has gone DOWN dramatically, so it's time to realize that a 20GB cap even in AUSTRALIA is not reasonable in the slightest.


RE: then why impose caps?
By Staples on 2/6/2009 10:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
They expect growth in the future.


RE: then why impose caps?
By omnicronx on 2/6/2009 10:45:46 AM , Rating: 2
As unfortunate as it is, those 1% probably account for a large amount of bandwidth use. There are also many ways to get around the termination clauses in your contract. Personally I don't see why they simply don't have it in your contract that if you use over a certain amount of bandwidth, it is at the ISPS discretion to terminate your contract. This allows the ISP to leave most users alone, and only go after those that are found to be really taking advantage.


RE: then why impose caps?
By callmeroy on 2/6/2009 1:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
Same point I was thinking when I read that....that's why I call BS...because that's my general theory against caps across all ISPs....they aren't really losing money at all since most users aren't using anywhere near the limits of their account agreement anyway. So how can you use the logic of "because its using more resources" as why you are charging people who go over....if you have 10 million subscribers and 9.5 million never go over , you mean to tell me that justifies charging the other 500k that do (and of that amount even a smaller percentage is probably consistently going over).


RE: then why impose caps?
By liquidaim on 2/6/2009 2:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
They are imposing these caps now to get us americans adjusted to the idea of having caps.

Their ultimate goal to keep making money.

They are not blind and can envision a day when people won't subscribe to TV channels and instead have shows, movies streamed on demand at near zero cost.

When people stop subscribing to cable channels, what's the source of income? you guessed it!

I, for instance, don't watch TV at all. I use Hulu and other "sources" to get the content I want, when I want it.


RE: then why impose caps?
By Lerianis on 2/8/2009 5:39:51 AM , Rating: 2
That basically what it is becoming more and more: people are not watching TV on the regular TV anymore, they are watching all their shows online, as I do.

This is a backdoor attempt by the TV companies to protect their TV services and I told the FCC that, but they just ignored it.... guess I'm going to have to file a complaint AGAIN to the FCC and escalate it this time.


RE: then why impose caps?
By ICE1966 on 2/9/2009 7:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
does anyone have any idea how this would affect online gamers? I play COD4 and CounterStrike Source online, thats the only reason I have broadband internet access. Otherwise, dial up will do the e-mail and ebay shopping.


Higher Standards of Living
By Amaru on 2/5/2009 11:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
Same here in New Zealand.

8mbps down shaped ( meaning Bit Torrent etc are SLOWED )
1mbps up
6GB of Data
$80NZD $41USD
Then $10 for 5GB
My Average bill is $200 a month ( around $100USD )

I would kill for a fast connection with 250GB cap
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^
Thats why America is still the greatest country and people are still risking their lives to get here. We have higher standards than most countries and are not easily satisified.That type of "pricing scheme" would not even get off the ground here.




RE: Higher Standards of Living
By ani4ani on 2/6/2009 2:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, personally, if a unlimited broadband connection contributes to being the greatest country on earth, then I'll miss out, because I rather like my free education, free healthcare, toll free roads......


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By tallcool1 on 2/6/2009 7:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
FREE? Are you sure about that? So your not paying any taxes at all to suplement those FREE services? Where is the money coming from to fund those?


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By Bateluer on 2/6/2009 8:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
[q]Where is the money coming from to fund those?[/q]

From the pockets of other people.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By jimbojimbo on 2/10/2009 2:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
From the pockets of other people.
Basically he's saying he lives with his mother.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By Staples on 2/6/2009 10:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
We here in the US are paying twice.

Once for the uninsured in the form of income tax and then medical insurance on top of that. Our system is far superior


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By ani4ani on 2/6/2009 3:23:26 PM , Rating: 3
That's why 55 million people [the population of my country]have no access to medical care of any kind...probably because a broadband cap is seen as more of an issue.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By ICE1966 on 2/9/2009 7:06:09 AM , Rating: 2
shut the hell up about medical care, jeez, we are discussing broadband here, not national issues in your country.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By homerdog on 2/6/2009 11:04:02 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, methinks you're one of us still living in reality.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 12:45:19 PM , Rating: 5
And when you go out into the real world and get a job, you'll find out how free it all is.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By kontorotsui on 2/6/2009 9:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Thats why America is still the greatest country and people are still risking their lives to get here. We have higher standards than most countries and are not easily satisified.That type of "pricing scheme" would not even get off the ground here.


If you base the greatness of a country on the IPS standards, then the whole World would be pushing to go live in Sweden and in Scandinavia in general.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 10:03:28 AM , Rating: 3
lol. I'd go live in Japan. Rather get me a 1 Gbps fiber line.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By yacoub on 2/6/2009 10:22:53 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah right and have to live in a smelly little room elbow-to-elbow with your neighbors, a bunch of smelly people eating weird food. Oh and earthquakes. No thanks, not worth the trade-offs.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By Hieyeck on 2/6/2009 10:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
Asians don't produce as much BO. Also, the Japanese treat hygeine as a priority, showering daily and follow with a soak in a bath @ ~37 degrees C... ahhh I miss it :(

BTW, it's not as cramped as most people think. When EVERYTHING is smaller, it includes the people.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 12:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
Asians don't seem to sweat as much, but as for BO, think that depends. Lived in Korea for a year. They sweat kimchi over there.

I'm thinking he believes that every single Japanese person lives in a 4 1/2 mat room (9'x 9')with a bathroom and nothing else. There are apts like that, but they aren't all that common.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 12:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, nice ignorant post there. I have lived in Tokyo. The apts are the same size as the one I have now in Germany for about the same cost, cept they can get a 1 gig fiber line, while I get a 16 meg dsl line.

My friend lived in a manshon (not a typo). 2 bedrooms, office room, living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Larger size and lower cost than the apt, as it wasn't near the city center or train station. Bus stop was about a 5-6 min walk, as were the vending machines or 7-Eleven.

It was cheaper and smaller than the house I had while I was living in England. But it did come with A/C and heat in every room. England only had heat and it was those stupid radiator things.

All three of those places were smaller than anything I could get while I was in Colorado or Idaho. Course not like I'd be getting a good connection in either place though.

Japanese are a hell of a lot cleaner than any other ppl I have ever seen. They are way crazy about hygiene, cause when you have that big of a population in such a small area, a small cold will spread like wildfire.

Not sure what's considered weird food. Sushi...sure, for some weird. Course it's not like it's a daily food either. A standard lunch would probably be some rice, omelette, hamburger steak or cutlet, and miso soup. That'd be pretty standard.

Rocky Mountain oysters isn't weird? Chicken gizzards isn't weird? Deep fried twinkie isn't weird? Scrapple? Nutria? I don't think you can say that no country is without it's weird food. Hell, I think it's disgusting how ppl eat crayfish.

Earthquakes. Few thousand a year. Like 100% of them aren't felt, unless you happen to live on the like 5th floor or higher. Even then, it's not enough force to knock a book off a shelf. I lived on the 2nd floor. Didn't feel a single one when I was there.


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By frobizzle on 2/9/2009 11:12:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah right and have to live in a smelly little room elbow-to-elbow with your neighbors, a bunch of smelly people eating weird food. Oh and earthquakes. No thanks, not worth the trade-offs

You forgot about the somewhat regular attacks by Godzilla (and other assorted monsters!)


RE: Higher Standards of Living
By omnicronx on 2/6/2009 11:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
Heh don't you think that perhaps the location of New Zealand has a lot to do with their pricing?


No problem with it
By gigahertz20 on 2/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: No problem with it
By afkrotch on 2/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: No problem with it
By quiksilvr on 2/5/2009 8:48:21 PM , Rating: 1
If the average joe consumer isn't aware it by now, chances are they won't even reach the cap in the first place.


RE: No problem with it
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 1:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
average joe consumer can easily hit those caps with all these new services that are available to them. Hell, Netflix alone can contribute heavily to bandwith usage.


RE: No problem with it
By PrinceGaz on 2/5/09, Rating: -1
RE: No problem with it
By mondo1234 on 2/5/2009 7:51:50 PM , Rating: 3
Why? Its not that the bandwidth isn't there, they are increasing it on a regular basis. I think they are restricting it so they can have additional head room to sell video streaming, telephone service, and other products.


RE: No problem with it
By oab on 2/5/2009 8:28:17 PM , Rating: 4
They aren't restricting bandwidth (the "speed"), they are restricting throughput (usage).

ISP's have limited throughput, as though their residential lines may be able to handle the actual amount of data being pushed through, their internet backbones may be limited by a) hardware or b) transit (pay-for-traffic on 'foreign' networks) contracts.

As penalties may be levied on them for going over their expected transfer amounts on foreign networks with transit agreements, putting caps on residential users with 'maximum' quotas which cause financial penalty can provide some cost-certainty.

Residential user financial penalties for going "over limit" are better than just random termination of service for ambiguous "acceptable use" policies on all the old unlimited plans are much better from a PR perspective too (less mentions on The Consumerist for 'comcast totally disconnected me for using my unlimited plan!' articles).

But (and there is a big but), user caps and penalties suck, especially if there is no limit to the number of dollars you can be charged for overage, or that the costs are something like $5 per 500mb over so that you almost instantly hit the max-charge limit. At that point, it is a cash-grab.

All things considered however, I cannot say that I hate usage caps, not really. I download large 350mb files weekly, download my 6 daily podcasts, watch streaming videos, etc. and almost never go above 30gb a month. I have pulled down 200gb in a single month however once, but I ran out of things to download.

These usage caps will not significantly affect telephone service (different "channel" spectrum for VOIP telephony), as well as VOD services. However, these limits might help them mange their channel spectrum availability to provide larger free frequencies for additional HD channels. Dropping analog channels from cable service however would be better for this, as they use lots of frequency space compared to digital ones, even analog SD vs. digital SD.


RE: No problem with it
By StevoLincolnite on 2/5/2009 10:21:41 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But (and there is a big but), user caps and penalties suck, especially if there is no limit to the number of dollars you can be charged for overage, or that the costs are something like $5 per 500mb over so that you almost instantly hit the max-charge limit. At that point, it is a cash-grab.


There is an ISP in Australia called Exetel where if you exceed your download amount you are throttled to dial-up speeds, if you exceed 2gb while speed reduced you have to pay for it, it's a great idea, really.

Then you have companies like Telstra, who give you a download cap of something like 25gb for the month, which includes upload data, then you have a choice to be speed reduced to dial-up speeds, or use the cash-grab system where you pay 15 cents per megabyte. (That's $150 per gigabyte people! or $1,500 for every 10 gigabytes!) - The sad part is the average joe doesn't know any better and does get caught out with these.

I hope your ISP's don't take note of the Australian ones, it would be bad news for everything then.


RE: No problem with it
By Madellga on 2/5/2009 7:54:44 PM , Rating: 5
The issue here is that they sell FLATRATE broadband connection and if you use too much, they throttle down or charge you extra.

If they don't want people using too much of it, don't advertise as FLATRATE.

My ISP sells FLATRATE, nothing is said or mentioned on the web form, but after 60Gb they throttle down to 5% of contracted speed. It takes roughly 24hours to reach 60Gb if you use at full, so you pay the FLARATE for 30 days but you can only use it 1 day.

What they really want is to sell it, but don't want you to use it. Oh, if you use too much it will slow the net? Then they are selling something they don't have...again, don't sell FLATRATE and highspeed if the system can't take it.

In other business, this could be called fraud.


RE: No problem with it
By PrinceGaz on 2/5/09, Rating: -1
RE: No problem with it
By Smartless on 2/5/2009 8:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
And in other news, stocks in Seagate and Western Digital plummet as the porn industry takes a hit in downloads per day. lol.


RE: No problem with it
By chick0n on 2/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: No problem with it
By AlexWade on 2/5/2009 10:38:41 PM , Rating: 5
I have a problem with it. This is nothing more than a way to raise the rates while saying "we didn't raise your rates". Sort of like how my Nissan 350Z was worth more in 2008 than in 2007 according to my county. Oh, but they didn't "raise" taxes.

At a time when streaming video is becoming more and more commonplace, any cap at all is wrong. Do you really think these ISP's will stay at 60GB or increase the cap? Of course not! They will slowly whittle it down. Like Shakespeare said "And many strokes though with a little axe hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak". They slowly chip away and chip away and hope you won't notice until it is too late. Any cap at all is wrong because the future is more bandwidth intensive, not less. A cap is nothing more than a hidden rate hike.


RE: No problem with it
By Bateluer on 2/6/2009 8:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
Well said.

This is what the lack of competition does.


RE: No problem with it
By tastyratz on 2/6/2009 9:04:32 AM , Rating: 1
Depends,

The biggest problem is false advertising and consumer awareness. Caps are a very new thing and general consumers wont really understand. They should legally be required to fully disclose on all advertisements in the least.

The caps can be unrealistic too. With all of the services rolling out now such as internet hd video downloads... they could be hit by downloading a half dozen movies and nothing else. 1 movie night and 1 movie per week could saturate many of them.

The other problem is the future. As computers evolved in speeds and capabilities their needs evolved as well. A dial up connection used to suffice but now its unthinkable to most and fractions of what we consider a "needed" speed.

Do you really think the ISP's will see their profit margin after implementing these data caps... and intend to raise them in the future? Some like comcast start high at 200gb so people complain less - but its getting the foot in the door on the concept.

The usa is already hindered in broadband roll out. We don't need another mainstream limitation.

What about the next few years when all of these high bandwidth services go more mainstream, and even cloud computing starts to surface for some?

I don't blame the companies from a business standpoint... but don't operate under the illusion that this wont hurt your average consumer in the end because you are in the clear at the time.


RE: No problem with it
By Lerianis on 2/8/2009 5:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's already hurting a lot of people who use online backup services and have a lot of data on their computers that they wish to have backed up..... the companies are going to have to realize that these limits are NOT acceptable, and that really no limit on bandwidth usage is acceptable in the slightest.


Comcast is the pits!
By MADAOO7 on 2/5/2009 7:57:43 PM , Rating: 4
Nevermind that they throttle your bandwidth, the company offers truly terrible services at exceptionally high prices. I used to have Verizon Fios TV/Internet/Phone in Tampa and I now have Comcast in Jacksonville. The difference is night and day. It took them 6 months to figure out how to bill me correctly, upon initial setup they gave me a broken DVR, their internet is much slower than advertised, the picture quality is more compressed than Verizon, and I'm paying out the wazoo for all of it (~$25 a month for HD DVR). I can't wait to be relocated out of Comcrap hell. Please tell me I'm not the only one to experience this?




RE: Comcast is the pits!
By threepac3 on 2/5/2009 8:59:02 PM , Rating: 3
I tend to download 200GB per month and 200~500GB upload per month. I have not heard a peep from Verizon. I have the 20/20 FIOS service and it is a great value for $67 per month.


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By Jedi2155 on 2/6/2009 4:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
From those usage patterns I can only suspect the types of activities are the ones that the ISP's are trying to stop. Not that I'm complaining about having such a nice UL/DL ratio....


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 1:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
or he hosts a webserver that's like imageshack or something. That'd definitely push those kinds of numbers or higher, depending on popularity.


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By meepstone on 2/6/2009 9:01:47 AM , Rating: 2
never had a problem with comcast. i live in sw florida, going on about 7 years i think with internet service. over these years they've upgraded the bandwidth for free each time to a point where i never hit the max down speed. i dled a 2.1gb movie a month ago in 4min. as for bandwidth throttling, never heard of it in my area. all my friends have comcast for their isp and no one has problems here. a friend of mine had embarq here, oh man was that terrible to see at his house. embarq's rates are more money for worse rates than comcast down here.


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By SlipDizzy on 2/6/2009 9:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
You downloaded a 2.1 gigabyte movie in 4 minutes? You're telling me that Comcast is letting you download at roughly 525 megabytes per second? On top of that, you say that Comcast continues to upgrade your service so that you've never hit your max download speed. So basically you're saying that your max download speed cap is higher then 525 megabytes per second.

You sir are a liar.

As for Comcast, their service in my area is stable. Their pricing system is a little high, but I have no choice as FIOS has not made its way into my area. As soon as Verizon brings FIOS to my area, I'm tossing Comcast.


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 9:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
Wow...great math there.

525 MB/s = 2.1 GBs in 4 seconds

2.1 GB = 2,100 MBs
4 Mins = 240 seconds
2,100 MBs / 240 seconds = 8.75 MB/s
8.75 MB/s * 8 = 70 Mbps

So if he has a 70 Mbps connection (or higher), it is possible to get 2.1 GBs of data down in 4 mins.


RE: Comcast is the pits!
By wempa on 2/6/2009 1:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't had a problem with the quality of Comcast's internet. It's pretty fast, reliable and 250GB is a pretty high cap. My main complaint is their TV picture quality. As somebody mentioned earlier, they compress the crap out of the picture. My standard definition channels look like complete garbage most of the time.


Boo-Hoo
By drunkees on 2/5/2009 8:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
We've been dealing with download caps since broadband was released in Australia. When DSL came out a 128/64kbps connection with a monthly cap of 400mb was the shiz!

I'm currently on a 32mbps/1.5mbps cable plan with a 25GB cap!
and u guys want to bitch about 250GB limits!? gimmi a break!

As far as price goes, you guys have it good as well, my connection costs me 90 dollars a month. ($58 USD)




RE: Boo-Hoo
By Pryde on 2/5/2009 8:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
Same here in New Zealand.

8mbps down shaped ( meaning Bit Torrent etc are SLOWED )
1mbps up
6GB of Data
$80NZD $41USD
Then $10 for 5GB
My Average bill is $200 a month ( around $100USD )

I would kill for a fast connection with 250GB cap


RE: Boo-Hoo
By StevoLincolnite on 2/6/2009 9:26:44 AM , Rating: 2
The base DSL service was 256/64k.

128k was reserved for IDSN services.

I'm impressed with that cable plan, hardly anyone I know can manage to exceed 10mbps.

(I'm on ADSL 2+ with Annex M up-to 24mbps down, 2mbps up). - I usually manage between 8 - 14mbps down and always 2mbps up depending on my Attenuation, Signal to noise ratio and syncing speed. Still it's $110 for 40gb total downloads, but I get quota free Xbox Live, ABC iView, iTunes and other stuff which helps.


RE: Boo-Hoo
By bldckstark on 2/6/2009 12:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
FIOS just came to my neighborhood. Can't get it without signing up for TV also. I have two Dish Network DVR's with dual output. One SD with 100 hours, and one HD-DVR with 300 hours recording capabilities and a perfect picture. Can't use the fiber phone line for my security system so I have to continue paying the phone company $40 a month. The fiber would cost me $90 US for 15Mb/1.5Mbs for TV (that I don't want) and internet.

My DSL costs me $40 US at 3Mbs/256kbs and is very reliable.


RE: Boo-Hoo
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 1:03:40 PM , Rating: 3
And if they decided to drop you back down to your 400 mb cap and charge you the same exact price, what then?

We had better, now we have worse, and we get charge the same. Who wouldn't be mad?

It's not our fault that your country is fcked up in the ways of the internet. Other island nations doesn't seem to like to screw over their population. If anyone has anything to learn from your post, it's that Australia is fcking retarded.


RE: Boo-Hoo
By vhx on 2/6/2009 3:21:06 PM , Rating: 2
So because you guys suffer, we should have to as well? Just what we want: to put up with paying the same as we have for years, but now get less for our money. Get off your high horse.


By sparkuss on 2/5/2009 8:01:43 PM , Rating: 3
Okay, I haven't read a lot about all the new possible data services, but how are any of those business models expected to work?

If they already know what kind of demands are coming, how are limits going to solve that demand, unless they actually increase everyone's allotment (and build more bandwidth) in order to receive all the new content (streaming VOD etc)?

Just seems self-defeating at first read?




By Kibbles on 2/5/2009 9:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
My webhost gives me small, free upgrades on a regular basis. As much as I'd like to believe it's 'cause they like me, more likely it's 'cause as the technology improves and providing the service becomes cheaper you have to give more to remain competitive. So you will get more for your money as the service becomes cheaper. Hopefully...


By MadMan007 on 2/6/2009 12:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
The point is to put limits in now while they can to try to keep that demand from crushing them rather than upgrade to handle it. It also makes money in the short-term which is what Wall St loves.


By Lerianis on 2/9/2009 3:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well, Wall Street needs some 'tough love' and for someone to smack them and tell them "Profits are good, but you also have a responsibility to your customers and society... LAY OFF THE BANDWIDTH CAPS!"


Crap Caps
By afkrotch on 2/5/2009 7:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
For such services, that's some pretty low caps. Luckily enough for me, I'm use T-Mobile Germany. No caps.




RE: Crap Caps
By Tsuwamono on 2/5/2009 8:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
www.b2b2c.ca in Canada.. I get unlimited for 34.95 per month. And i probably download atleast 100GB per month


RE: Crap Caps
By Chocobollz on 2/6/2009 7:57:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think you're wrong. You do have caps. How fast are your connection speed?


RE: Crap Caps
By afkrotch on 2/6/2009 1:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
Only cap I have is the theoretical cap of my connection speed.

I'm running a 16 meg dsl line.

2 MB/s
120 MB/min
7.2 GB/hour
172.8 GB/day
5.18 TB/month (30 day month)

As of right now, I'm probably pushing around 300 GB a month. I've got torrents running 24/7.

There was a month where T-Mobile called me to say something is wrong with my connection. They thought I might have had a spam bot on my network. As my usage skyrocketed. I didn't. I was playing with Apache and shared out my file server. My contract doesn't allow me to run a webserver from their connection, but they gave me info on their business package and told me to stop the webserver.

If I had some kind of cap, I probably would have hit it by now. Many a time have I gotten that call about hitting my cap from other ISPs in diff countries. That's when I become a hit and run torrenter.


I would love...
By cscpianoman on 2/5/2009 11:42:31 PM , Rating: 5
I would love some competition right about now. I would love to see Cox, Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Qwest, Verizon and ATT to be at each other's throats. I would love to see advertisements in my mailbox touting the virtues of each one of them versus the other at a great price, great service and no limits. Right now I'm at two, Cox and Qwest, but oh, wait, Qwest isn't in my neighborhood, so that leaves me with one. One nice, great super friendly monopoly to rule my little internet/communications world. I guess that explains why Cox has raised my rate an additional $2.

All this dreaming would be true, if our gov't hadn't isolated all the telcos to begin with. Thank you, my short-sighted elected officials, for hosing capitalism and succumbing to greedy lobbyists and the all-mighty dollar, that isn't so mighty right now. </ends sarcasm and steps off the soap box>




RE: I would love...
By abscoder on 2/6/2009 11:16:41 AM , Rating: 2
I'm in the same boat, Cox and Qwest (AZ), and Qwest doesn't have a cabinet that serves my address. Not entirely true; I can get some DS1's, but not DSL. The real bummer is my wife is a Senior Design Engineer at Qwest, so we could get a heavy discount and save some money over Cox Premium... if only they re-outfitted the cabinet.


Advertise correctly
By protogenoi on 2/5/2009 7:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
Fine if they would like to cap usage. However do not advertise unlimited and not give unlimited. I understand they are a business and need to make money, so if you dont like the term use a different provider in essence use your money to tell them what you want.




RE: Advertise correctly
By StevoLincolnite on 2/6/2009 9:22:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However do not advertise unlimited and not give unlimited.


Actually it should be more along the lines of "Read the fine print". - Here many ISP's offered "Unlimited Downloads" - What they didn't tell you was you could only download say 20gb and then you are running at Dial-up speeds, you still had unlimited downloads though.


An Opportunity
By ipay on 2/5/2009 8:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
Whenever one company in a competitive environment does this, it opens the door for others that don't. If everyone is throttling and capping, but Verizon or Cablevision aren't... then the business will migrate to them.

However, if all service providers in an area do this, it starts to sound like collusion - price fixing. I hope state attorneys general are paying attention.




Sucks for Internet TV users!
By gevorg on 2/5/2009 8:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
This really sucks for internet TV users that watch international programming not available in the US.




Australia ISP's
By wired00 on 2/5/2009 10:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah as a couple people mentioned in Australia we've been dealing with download Cap since the very beginning of broadband.

I'm currently on a "good" plan with TPG which allows 150gb download (upload not counted). That includes 40gig onpeak and 110gb offpeak. Once I go over I'm throttled to 64/64kbps.

The big player, Telstra mostly has download caps of 10 or 20gig which includes download AND upload. Rubbish




Love my FiOS
By Rhl on 2/6/2009 3:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
20 mbps down
20 mbps up
$50/mo

No cap. I downloaded 300 GB/ish last month, and uploaded around 200 GB. Excellent pings, and the service never goes out.




bad news
By trabanom on 2/6/2009 6:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
Lets make a simple mat here:
3MBps/600k (D/U) is my connection. It means i have 300kbps for download and 60k to upload.
300k/s x 3600s (1 hour) -> 1.080.000k / h = 1GB /h ->
1 Gb x 24 h = 24 Gb /day x 30 days -> 720 GB /month.
They want us to use 250G / month, it means you pay 720G for a premium account but you get 250G. Thiefs.




Cox
By Screwballl on 2/6/2009 9:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
I have used Cox in northwest FL for the better part of 8 years, since I have been here they have no caps and no plans to introduce any caps because this is a lower usage region.

I have a Linksys WRT54G router with custom DD-WRT firmware that shows me just how much bandwidth I have actually used per day or per month (status > WAN and the chart at the bottom). I work from home, use VOIP, download several linux distros and large updates, play online games like CS:S, CnC3 plus a few others on occasion, watch movies online and occasionally download one through utorrent...
I have had an occasional day or two where I reached 3-5GB per day, but the rest seem to hang around 1GB/day. For the month of January, I used 30GB down and almost 12GB up. December was 31GB down and 8.9GB up.

Cox states my preferred plan is "up to" 12Mbps and my downloads are always around 800KBps to 1.2 MBps which looks about right, hanging around 10-12 Mbps (using the megabit to megabyte conversion)




Stupid caps
By samoak54 on 2/6/2009 5:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
I cant stand broadband caps. As it is i have broadband from Bell, and I hit my cap with just youtube vids.




It is a guideline
By Kanji on 2/7/2009 3:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
Comcast says 250GB but they still use the upper 10%. I do 20GB up a day with 16/2 line. That is like 600GB a month, no letter for me. I doubt they use the same size for each tier. Hardly any other ISP does.

I ran that speed for a month and a half. I mean how long can you upload that much? I don't know what else to seed. LOL!




ISP's insulting our intelligence
By viperpa on 2/7/2009 5:02:19 AM , Rating: 2
What gets me is the ISP's will cap your service and then turn around and say how great they are. Then if you cancel your service because of the caps, they can't understand why. To prevent you from leaving they will proceed to insult your intelligence by saying you'll be able to download thousands of web pages and send thousands of emails. Then they will insult your intelligence even further by offering you a so called great deal with the caps included.

Time Warner was screaming about bandwidth hogs and what does Time Warner offer after they test trial caps? Time Warner offers pay streaming videos. So this is not about so called bandwidth hogs. This about ISP's not having to upgrade there systems. The ISP is charging you how fast you download the content not how much you send and receive.

Let's do the math and will use Time Warner as an example. Time Warner has a test trial of a 40 gig cap with a 20m download speed.

Let's say you had Time Warner Cable. You normally downloaded 200 gigs a month paying $45 for your internet connection. All of a sudden Time Warner dropped you to a 40 gig cap and you had to had to pay $1 a gig over that but still paying $45. So now your internet bill jumped from $45 a month to $205 a month if you used the 200 gigs a month.

I guess this is what the ISP's mean when they say they are enhancing the users experience.




LOL
By lickerish on 2/9/2009 4:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously guys, you complain about your CAP limit, I'm in South Africa, we have upto 4096/256 and have CAP limits of 3gigs at a cost of 50dollars, business are a bit better, but they CAP out at 100gigs for a cost of 450 dollars. Once capped, you get cut down to 64k...




By bubbastrangelove on 2/9/2009 12:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a great reason to go after applications *cough* Adobe *cough* that feel the need to contact their home server every 60 minutes for vague reasons. Not a lot of band width when it comes to me and you but multiply that server contact by millions of users every x amount of minutes and how much bandwidth would eliminating that unnecessary transmission save a year?




stupid people...
By acme420 on 2/5/2009 9:57:15 PM , Rating: 1
look at all the idiots who dont know what bandwidth is going along with the caps. adding stupid comments to highlight their idiocy "you're hogging up the bandwidth and slowing my speed" . sheesh.




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