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Subscribers now have a visible limit on their internet usage

ISP giant Comcast announced an official, 250 GB usage cap for its subscribers Thursday, which it plans to deploy October 1.

"250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of data," reads its official release, "much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis."

The "median" usage per customer is within 2 - 3 gigabytes per month, says Comcast. In order to exceed the data cap, a customer would have to send more than 50 million e-mails, download more than 62,000 songs, or watch more than 125 standard-definition, 2 GB movies per month.

Comcast's new policy on data consumption appears to be just a part of an overall initiative to reshape the way customers use its network. Last week the company announced its "fair share" program, which is designed to throttle a customers' connection when they consume too much bandwidth. Rumors of a bandwidth cap had been in circulation for quite some time -- Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner were reported to be experimenting with the concept -- but the actual thresholds implemented proved to be much higher than predicted.

With the increasing popularity of internet-based video and software distribution, ISPs throughout the world are finding ways to curb customers' internet usage. While data caps are commonplace outside the United States, publicly-announced limits are incredibly rare among the U.S.' largest ISPs. Particularly egregious users have run into invisible limits, however, and a handful of heavy downloaders have seen up to a year's suspension of service due to crossing the company's "invisible line in the sand" despite paying for service advertised as unlimited.

Curiously, the announcement hints that the invisible threshold may have been 250 GB all along. "This is the same system we have in place today," says the announcement. "The only difference is that we will now provide a limit by which a customer may be contacted. As part of our pre-existing policy, we will continue to contact the top users of our high-speed Internet service and ask them to curb their usage."

AT&T Wireless users who exceeded an invisible 5gb quota -- a lot, considering that the network is designed for PDAs and Smartphones -- quickly learned of similar sanctions last year.

Subscribers who exceed their quota "may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use."

"At that time, we'll tell them exactly how much data per month they had used. We know from experience the vast majority of customers we ask to curb usage do so voluntarily," reads the release. Customers will be notified of the change through banner ads posted on the home page, as well as flyers to be included in upcoming billing statements.

A previous attempt to curb subscribers' usage, which ended up selectively meddling in a few different types of internet traffic -- BitTorrent, namely -- attracted the ire of the Federal Communications Commission due to a "discriminatory" preference against certain kinds of data. After almost a year of this, Comcast answered the FCC's demands with a handful of new programs designed to clamp down on excessive usage regardless of the protocols involved.

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Hmm. . .
By Fronzbot on 8/29/2008 7:59:15 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if they just set that 250GB limit that "high" just so people would say "that's not so bad, I can live with that."

I hate using "slippery-slope" logic, but this will only lead to more restrictions whether it be this company or another.

Guess the age of net-neutrality is really starting to come to a close. . .

RE: Hmm. . .
By aegisofrime on 8/29/2008 8:06:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how the ISP market is in the USA, since I'm not American, but I wonder if current Comcast subscribers can show their displeasure by switching to another ISP?

RE: Hmm. . .
By Noya on 8/29/2008 8:10:54 AM , Rating: 2
I would say 99% of the people in the USA have the option of a single DSL provider, Comcast or dial-up within their city. So it's Comcast or DSL.

RE: Hmm. . .
By idconstruct on 8/30/2008 12:19:47 AM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily Comcast... In certain areas where I've lived the only available service is Road Runner... but the essence of the argument is the same; You have a choice between dial-up/DSL or whatever cable company has the monopoly on your area

RE: Hmm. . .
By therealnickdanger on 8/29/2008 8:12:15 AM , Rating: 2
In my area (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Comcast has a monopoly on cable-based broadband (of course, by offering phone and television service, they are able to silence any claims of a true monopoly). Qwest is starting to roll out a FIOS-esque service, but it's still not as fast as Comcast.

RE: Hmm. . .
By ebakke on 8/29/2008 9:34:13 AM , Rating: 2
That, and Qwest is no better than Comcast

RE: Hmm. . .
By GaryJohnson on 8/29/2008 8:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
If they'd just lose the interleaving...

RE: Hmm. . .
By imperator3733 on 8/29/2008 6:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the Twin Cities (and I guess most cities in the US) don't have much choice as far as internet. We have 1.5Mbps Quest DSL at my house. Quest only has three DSL choices (784kbps, 1.5Mbps, 3Mbps) and their new fiber option. Comcast has insane prices - they advertise cable internet for around $33/month, but that's only when you get the combined package, so it's really $99. I wish there was some way of getting rid of the Comcast monopoly, because that's what it is, regardless of whatever else they provide.

RE: Hmm. . .
By StevoLincolnite on 8/30/2008 12:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
I guess this where Australia is lucky, generally if you have ADSL with Telstra or Optus or Internode, chances are you can choose another Half a Dozen ISP's or more which use part of there networks.

My Granny has a 1.5mb line, with a 500mb download limit (That counts uploads in the download limit) for $69 a month, after that she is speed reduced to 64k. - That's with Telstra BigPond though, I'm with WestNet and have a 40gb Download Limit during on-peak, 60gb during off-peak hours for $110 a month and runs at 1.5mb.
I was going to go with Dodo Internet, but there Customer Service is worst than trying to talk to Animals at a zoo, although they do have a nice plan which is 100gb on-peak and 100gb off-peak though.

There is a wireless plan Optus has which uses the 3G network, Basically you are given a Download limit ranging from a few hundred megabytes to around 10gb, after you reach that you are sped reduced to dial-up speeds, but here is the catch, if you visit a webpage or check an email, then log-off/shut the connection down, it is counted as 10mb minimum regardless if you only downloaded+uploaded 100kb.

And Cable? It's practically non-existent to a vast Majority of Australians unfortunately.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FITCamaro on 8/30/2008 9:30:00 AM , Rating: 2
Christ I'm glad I don't live in Australia. $110 a month for a capped 1.5 mbit/s DSL line? You can get business class service here cheaper than that.

RE: Hmm. . .
By gt1911 on 8/30/2008 8:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
The examples he's giving are not really that representative. I'm in Sydney and we have ISP's being much more competitive.

Virtually all ISP's are fighting in the $30-$50 range for ADSL2+ (24Mb max potential) connections. For that money you'll get somewhere between 2 - 20GB, depending on who you go with.

Telstra, the ISP he quotes is easily the most expensive for data in the country.

Coincidentaly, I spend $110 a month as well, but for that I have two ADSL2+ lines teamed together giving me a stable 34Mb and I have a peak quota of 55GB. I usually don't hit the quota unless I am hitting the downloads pretty hard.

We have a great tool for working out which ISP to use. It's called Whirlpool ( and it is a free service which shows you all the ISP's available to you and compares all their plans.

RE: Hmm. . .
By mattclary on 8/29/2008 8:44:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but putting a 250GB cap on is just NOT going to affect 99% of people. That is a pretty freaking huge amount of data to use in a month.

I don't think we will see caps inch down much either, DSL has a hard time competing on speed, but they can compete on a cap.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hmm. . .
By MrSmurf on 8/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/29/2008 4:53:54 PM , Rating: 1
I have a good life, thank you :-) How many different countries have you lived in? And how many have you visited with your pals? Probably not that many (if you've ever been outside your own country that is). I go every other year to the States to visit family there and most of them have Comcast, that's why I'm interested.

And no, downloading music or movies shouldn't be illegal. That's just trying to prevent something that in the long run can't be prevented, more or less how musicians felt when phonographs and the radio appeared: they thought that their jobs would disappear because nobody would go to their concerts anymore.

Access to culture should always be available for everyone (just like libraries), so what better way than by P2P?
You can always go to concerts if you're a fan of the artists, or go to the cinema if you're a fan of the director, actors or the story... so no, the artists aren't going to disappear because of it. There will always be good artists willing to actually work for earning money (and not just making 2 good songs and living out of them for the rest of their lives).
As for the music labels... the less middlemen there are, the better for everybody. It's a basic economical principle, but the big-ass middlemen have too much power and want to convince people that it's wrong to live without their (unwanted) services, and that you have to actually pay for receiving culture.

Access to culture and knowledge shouldn't be only for the wealthy, it should be a universal right.

RE: Hmm. . .
By wvh on 8/29/2008 10:19:33 PM , Rating: 1
While I totally agree with the basic premise of your post, realistically there are technical limits – fair or not. If everyone would download 600Gb, the pipes would saturate pretty quickly, especially in some of those places in the US where the powerline and telecomunications infrastructure are dangerously outdated (as far as I know anything about that).

If access to broadband is a universal right (as you claim), it should also be ensured that everyone gets a fair share of the bandwidth. Internet capacity isn't infinite. Hence I think it's reasonable to expect people who use vastly larger amounts of bandwidth to subscribe to a more expensive service.

Ofcourse, it's up to individual countries and states to ensure the local infrastructure can keep up with technological advances and hence demands, but frankly, that isn't my problem, nor are the local monopolies in some countries and states.

RE: Hmm. . .
By ElBrujo on 8/30/2008 12:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
Traveling is a form of "access to culture". Why aren't you trying to insist on your right to free travel?

Your reasoning is the biggest load of cr*p I've heard in a long time. The most shameful part of it is how you forget that your wealth is what enables you to download movies that aren't yours, yet you imply that you aren't wealthy. Then you bring up how much you travel (as if your culture were relevant), and at the same time forget that it's your wealth that enables you to travel. Too bad that traveling doesn't teach morals.

Most of the time I hear a new justification for download of IP that isn't yours, the person tries to use a perspective that's remarkably one-sided. Try imagining for a moment that you're doing something that someone else thinks is a luxery of the wealthy, and so that justifies some crime against you. If a little kid in the ghetto came and stole your iPod, would you say, "Aw, shucks, he deserves free access to culture, he can have mine"? If you were fool enough to say so the first time, how many times would it have to happen before you changed your mind?

It may be an economic inevitability, but until the model changes, saying something should happen doesn't make it so. Try using that argument in court when you've violated a speed limit everyone thinks ought to be changed.

It's funny how people think that such and such ought to be a "universal right" as long as it doesn't cost _them_ any money. The reality is that there is no free lunch, and that everything has a price; just because you aren't willing to pay it doesn't justify your taking it.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/30/2008 8:06:58 AM , Rating: 2
Cheap travel is starting to exist. Madrid-Munich+Munich-Madrid = 43 euros. That seems pretty cheap to me :-) Slowly but surely, access to culture is getting more universal.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/30/2008 8:13:17 AM , Rating: 1
Downloading music isn't stealing.

You have an apple.
I take your apple.
You no longer have an apple.

That is stealing.

You have knowledge about something.
I learn it.
You still have your knowledge and we both benefit from it.

That is NOT stealing. I can steal a wheel, but I canNOT steal the knowledge of what a wheel is.

RE: Hmm. . .
By enlil242 on 8/30/2008 12:18:21 PM , Rating: 4
Then learn to make your own music / movies / software / wheel, instead of stealing the blood and sweat from the person who made it in the first place.

While you were working at McDonald's earning money, the person responsible for what you find valuable enough to steal does not, thus needing support from the people who use their handiwork.

Your example makes no sense and makes you a fool.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/30/2008 1:43:20 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, other than being a computer science student, I've been playing the clarinet for 16 years, 6 of them professionally. I've never worked at a McDonald's, although I have worked for 3 years as an English teacher for the University of Salamanca, if that helps.
My reasoning does not make me a fool, it just makes me more socialist than you. I still don't know why people in the US are so afraid of socialism, when it works so well in Norway, Iceland, etc.

RE: Hmm. . .
By twhittet on 8/31/2008 5:48:06 AM , Rating: 2
Ok - so I'm not a big fan of the RIAA, but, your logic seems a little flawed. By listening to songs on P2P, people gain interest in the band, and go to their concerts, thn making them money on something they have worked and sacrificed to create. If you download a band that never comes to your country, how do they benefit? So, they work their ass off, and because music is a cultural thing, they don't deserve any compensation from possibly hundreds of millions of people that enjoy their work but don't go to a concert. The system is admittedly flawed, but thinking you have a "right" to get everything for free is sadly worse.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/31/2008 10:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
If they don't come near me and I can't go to were they're playing... I guess it's their fault. They should earn money working. Singing a song and living out of it without giving concerts is a thing from the past. Artists have to earn their pay, and that's working. Musicians have to play all over the world if they want to earn money from all over the world. If they only want money from the US, then they'll just do concerts in the US, right? Some Spanish singers go to America to do concerts in latin-america and earn some money there. I see nothing wrong there. I see no flaw there. Good musicians enjoy the fact that people listen to their music, and give all the concerts they can all over the world to get to the people who really enjoy their music. Nothing wrong there.

RE: Hmm. . .
By abzillah on 8/29/2008 1:07:48 PM , Rating: 5
This will definitely affect my family, because we have 5 computer in my house and we go over 250GB in a month. My two brothers and I play games online, we watch TV shows online, Movies and surf the net. When I have friends and family visiting, they often bring their laptops and do their work here too.
More than anything this will affect online movie rentals like Netflix, which we were planning on using more often. This will affect TV companies such as NBC ect, because now they cannot put good quality shows online. NBC had millions of hits on it's webpage to watch the Olympics clips.
Oh how I wish there was another company that provided better bandwith, good price and no freaking limit.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Souka on 8/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Hmm. . .
By rudolphna on 8/30/2008 9:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I too was worried about this limit, but as much as i beleive "unlimited IS unlimited (or should be) 250GB really isnt that bad, for most users. I probably transfer between 80-120GB per month, depending. OccasionallyIll download an entire TV series (legal of course) through utorrent, for about 18GB. Normal usage comes out between 5-10GB per day, between all the computers in my house.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Polynikes on 8/29/2008 10:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
Practically every geographic area in the US has one option for cable internet, one for DSL, and that's it. There are a few areas where Verizon is rolling out their FiOS service, but it's rare. I really hope they can spread it a lot more, because if you want the fastest connection possible, cable is the only choice for most people.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Souka on 8/29/2008 7:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
I live a few miles East of Seattle, WA. Comcast cable and Qwest are our only real broadband providers. (ClearWire is here to, but pales in bandwidth and latency compared to Comcast and Qwest so forget that...)

Anyhow... Qwest offers only 1.5Mbps service in most of its area...Fiber is coming, but no ETAs or offical news annoucements of solid value.

I've called Verizon abotu FIOS but got a long story on how the CAN NOT ENTER AN AREA THAT QWEST has coverage! This is due to some old FCC ruling to protect smaller ma-bells from being pushed out. That sucks!

So my Uncle gets Verizon FIOS for $30/month... and has Cable and DSL providers available. But I get jack...sorry, Comcast as my only real broadband option for under $70 (paying $45/mo now).

Oh well... Maybe QWest will go bankrupt and Verizon can move in....

RE: Hmm. . .
By Some1ne on 8/29/2008 12:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
but I wonder if current Comcast subscribers can show their displeasure by switching to another ISP?

They can, I did years ago when I noticed my connection would start throttling whenever I used BitTorrent. I contacted their support about it, and they completely denied any sort of bandwidth limiting was in place, so I decided "fuck this shit" and switched to SpeakEasy. And then about a year later the stories about Comcast's "data discrimination" policies started coming out.

I'm glad I switched, and I'll never use Comcast for Internet service ever again.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Comcast customers are going to be either too non-tech-savvy to understand why they should switch, or too lazy to actually follow through with switching. Comcast will suffer almost no consequences for rolling out their quota system, and as a result, other ISP's will start following suit. It's only a matter of time now.

RE: Hmm. . .
By soloman02 on 8/29/2008 4:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Comcast customers are going to be either too non-tech-savvy to understand why they should switch, or too lazy to actually follow through with switching.

Also a lot of users have no option to switch. I have no option for another ISP. Comcast has a complete monopoly on broadband access in my area. There is a DSL hub in another town over, but ADSL2 has a max range of 20,000 line feet which we live just outside that. The older DSL versions have even less range. So for me and many others in rural parts of the US it is Comcast or dial up. As much as I hate Comcast, F*** dial up.

We could get satellite, but the latency for games is insane (an 89,000 mile trip for my data is totally unacceptable), not to mention losing the signal if there is a thunderstorm or high winds.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Zoomer on 8/30/2008 9:13:55 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Hmm. . .
By therealnickdanger on 8/29/2008 8:08:34 AM , Rating: 2
Look at it this way, 250GB is massive and historically, things only get bigger. So you can DL 120 2GB movies... that's 50 HD movies.

I'm not happy that they set a cap at all, BUT at least it's not a gray area anymore! Y'know, if ISPs are going to start enforcing this, they will have to supply a "metering device" so that you can keep an eye on your usage. Either a website to log into and view usage, or provide customers with modems that display the bandwidth used.

Hmm, I wonder if I can download that 61GB Star Trek TNG torrent before October 1...

RE: Hmm. . .
By RockinZ28 on 8/29/2008 8:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
Bet Charter will follow. Haven't got a call yet about excessive use, but there are movie/games forums that I can only access through a proxy now.

RE: Hmm. . .
By threepac3 on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Hmm. . .
By Aloonatic on 8/29/2008 11:23:23 AM , Rating: 5
Your ISP is problably not who you should be concerned about contacting you.

As you are downloading all the Star Trek: Voyager episodes, you could probably plead insanity if the feds come knocking at your door however?

RE: Hmm. . .
By plonk420 on 8/29/2008 2:17:01 PM , Rating: 1
agreed. Paramount is mean motherf-... DMCA notice and disconnection (thanks to qwest) from a SINGLE TVRip ep because my parents' VCR recording was shit quality.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Nik00117 on 8/30/08, Rating: 0
RE: Hmm. . .
By MrSmurf on 8/29/2008 12:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
You can download it after Oct. 1 and still have plenty of room...!!

RE: Hmm. . .
By wempa on 8/29/2008 12:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it's nice to have a number ..... and one that is very high. Even with all the movies, games and other things I download, I don't even come close to 250GB a month. I applaud them for clearing up this gray area.

RE: Hmm. . .
By mikeyD95125 on 8/29/2008 6:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
Errr 250GB is not 50 HD movies. If HD movies were 5GB a piece there would be no point to blu ray.

So does the price drop now because I now don't have access to unlimited bandwidth? nope

RE: Hmm. . .
By walk2k on 8/29/2008 7:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
Most (legal) HD movie rentals (ie Xbox, Playstation) are around 6-7GB (MPEG4)

At that rate you could watch about 35-40 HD movies a month.

If you are illegally downloading Blu-ray discs you have a lot more to worry about than having your service disconnected.

RE: Hmm. . .
By therealnickdanger on 8/29/2008 8:15:41 PM , Rating: 2
Most HD movies off Xbox Live are 4.5GB. They are 720p, not 1080p, and are heavily compressed. They still look good though - not Blu-Ray good obviously. Sheesh.

RE: Hmm. . .
By afkrotch on 8/29/2008 8:12:34 AM , Rating: 2
For most ppl, that's not bad at all. 250 gb is a pretty high limit. I'm probably pushing around 150 gb at most, in a month and I download a lot (won't happen that often though). This would be tiny for a mass p2p, who likes to upload anything and everything all the time.

That or they'll shrink the amount little by little. At least we aren't in Australia. They have such a low limit. Like 5-10 gig. I'd be done within a day, sometimes. Yesterday I downloaded like 7 gig.

RE: Hmm. . .
By aegisofrime on 8/29/2008 8:26:47 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure about that? 5GB per month download limit? That sounds awfully little. In comparison, my MOBILE phone data plan bundles 50GB of bandwidth.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FoundationII on 8/29/2008 12:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
In Belgium there are basically 4 types you can take, 1GB/month for 30$, 4GB/month for 45$, 20GB/month for 60$ and 60GB/month for 90$ (converted from euros).
If you want more than that you have to go in buisiness plans, and those are expensive (130GB = 330$)
They recently doubled all the limit so there aren't any changes expected soon either.

So yeah, a lot of countries are having tiny download limits compared to what the US has. I'd be very happy with a download limit like that.

RE: Hmm. . .
By heffeque on 8/29/2008 5:04:47 PM , Rating: 2
That kind'a sux. I was in Maribor (Slovenia) last year and I had a 35/10 Mbps connection (100/100 Mbps for inside Slovenia) and... no bandwidth cap. I'm now in Spain and I have an 18/1 Mbps connection and no bandwidth cap either. I know that there is a bandwidth cap for international data in Portugal and that if you want to take it off you have to pay more, but... I just can't imagine that there are no companies without bandwidth cap in such a developed country like Belgium.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FITCamaro on 8/29/2008 8:45:27 AM , Rating: 4
I do agree that 250GB is a pretty high limit. But the problem is that things only get bigger over time. So this limit needs to as well. I mean I downloaded the Warmhammer Online beta which was 10GB. No I don't think the average person will exceed 250GB a month. Even the average tech geek unless they're pirating HD quality movies all month.

But what about 5 years from now? Or 10? By then average PC games will likely be in the 20-30GB range. HD video will be commonplace. Web pages are only getting bigger. And more.

I fear that this cap will basically let Comcast say, "Well we don't need to upgrade our available bandwidth anymore since we've got people locked down to 250GB." and for the next 10 years or more it'll stay there.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Digimonkey on 8/29/2008 9:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with what you're saying that data amounts only increase over time. I remember back in the day trying to figure out how any one could possibly fill up a 1 gig hard-drive, but back them games only took up about 5-10 megs.

However, I believe they set the cap based on average usage so in the future will raise it if that average usage start's hitting their limit. I don't think they want to anger any of their customers, especially those with other internet provider options.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Cheapshot on 8/29/2008 9:02:26 AM , Rating: 3
and the question comes to my mind... how will this affect online gaming? Does gaming cause the meter to tick?

RE: Hmm. . .
By 67STANG on 8/29/2008 5:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. Your online game is using bandwidth... Don't know how you could crest 250GB gaming though.

RE: Hmm. . .
By rudolphna on 8/30/2008 10:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, WoW really doesnt use much bandwith. I can play it all day, and I only see maybe 40MB downloaded and like 8MB uploaded. Not bad at all. It would be impossible to top 250 on online gaming like that.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FITCamaro on 8/30/2008 9:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
Online gaming, while a constant steady stream of packets, is using a few kilobytes at a time. You'd have to be gaming 24/7 every day of the month to severely impact your bandwidth usage.

I mean assuming you were sending and receiving 6KB every second with constant usage 24/7 for 30 days would be about 15.5GB. 6KB is an extremely high estimate I think. And even at that you still have plenty of bandwidth left for other things that month.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Lord 666 on 8/29/2008 9:14:01 AM , Rating: 3
Its not that small when you consider around October Netflix will enable Xbox 360 streaming movies. I only view this as Comcast trying to prevent users from taking advantage of the free streaming movies from Netflix. Considering the large population of Xbox users, there will be many more people watching the movies on their TV.

Masher - If you want an IP idea, how about this one. Instead of the Killawatt device that measures electrical useage, you can create a home meter that measures broadband home useage.

With our EVDO Rev A cards, we hover around 2.5gigs monthly just using Cisco VPN and the electronic health record application. Citrix/RDP isn't an option because paper charts are scanned using a thick client on PC.

Breakdown of legal usage for most users;

1. Xbox Live downloads (60mb - 1gig per download)

2. Xbox Live voice and gameplay (Voice has to be around 30k and about 200-300k for interaction)

3. Netflix streaming movies (Xbox and from their website) 1-2 gig each?

4. Gaming - Should be around 30k voice stream and maybe tops 200-300k interaction.

5. Telecommuters - Working on client environments from home and retrieving email/voicemail could range drastically. Considering I have some work engagement 7 days a week (leave computer on to just sync data) Lets peg this at 500mb a day.

6. Webcams - 300 to 400k total steams?

7. Comcast VoIP - does this count against the limit?

RE: Hmm. . .
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2008 10:51:32 AM , Rating: 2
I would vote you up for that if I didn't already post and add to it.

3. Netflix streaming movies (Xbox and from their website) 1-2 gig each? (Est 700-1.4gig each)
(HD movies will be even more and possibly a deal breaker) (Est 4-9gig each)

8. TV Shows. My HD Direct TV unit has Video on Demand and we download a lot of shows to catch up on series or build interest in a series. If we get hooked like Dexter we watched the first 2 seasons in about a month all from VOD.

Patches but this can vary. Mainly referring to Wow and Windows service packs not to mention playing online as you already have.

9. Napster/iTunes/Rhapsody - They include video as well as music.

Good pointing out Voip services.

I did the calculations below and I came to the conclusion that if your skeptical about the limit then its time to consider DSL. Heck I might only get 3meg bandwidth but will never have to worry about a 250 gig limit. I run a real estate website and a backup of the site can eat that up very fast.

RE: Hmm. . .
By walk2k on 8/29/2008 7:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
The cap does not apply to Comcast phone service no.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FITCamaro on 8/30/2008 9:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
I don't believe Netflix plans to offer HD movies on its streaming service anytime soon. Most people don't have the connection for it to work properly.

And wouldn't your Direct TV box get the show through the satellite network? Not your internet connection? I don't have satellite so I don't know.

And if you run a real estate website, you should probably just get a business class connection. I doubt those would be capped.

RE: Hmm. . .
By GaryJohnson on 8/30/2008 9:53:26 AM , Rating: 2
And if you run a real estate website, you should probably just get a business class connection. I doubt those would be capped.

Especially if doing backups of that site can eat up 250GB fast. Either you have a huge site (like or something) or you seriously need to consult someone about optimizing your media for the web.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Azzr34l on 8/29/2008 11:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
Just a note about Telecommuters such as myself - I suspect most full time Telecommuters that work for a larger organization whose employer pays their phone and IP bills are on commercial accounts, not residential ones. The commercial accounts are unaffected by this because of the SLAs in place. I suppose they could modify the SLAs in the future though....

RE: Hmm. . .
By Lord 666 on 8/29/2008 3:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yet the commercial accounts are still going over the same wire within the same node... completely destroying Comcast's argument in the first place.

I used to work for Comcast just went cable modems were being introduced. The infrastructure is simply not there to keep up with demand in certain areas. However, this comes down to Netflix and VoIP services competing with Comcast.

RE: Hmm. . .
By natebsi on 8/29/2008 12:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree that there a legal uses for excessive bandwidth usage, but come on now... Do you really do all of those things all day, every day? 250GB's works out to about 8GB's PER DAY! That is a tremendous amount of data to use consistently, and I the overwhelming majority, well over 99% I suspect, would never come close to using that in a month.
I'm not saying I agree that bandwidth should be limited, but I can see comcasts point.

That said, I think this suck, not because of the cap, but because as others have pointed out, this is just a first step. Once they get users used this idea, they will be much more emboldened in lowering that limit in the future should they see fit.
Even worse, you can bet every other ISP will be watching this closely (just like airline fuel surchages started by a single airline). If there isn't too much fallout, I bet others will follow suit.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Alexstarfire on 8/29/2008 2:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
Multiplayer gaming doesn't even come close to 200k, let alone 300k. If you mean kbps.... then perhaps. But games don't even use 100KB/s.

And I'd be very interested in that device. I'm on the internet like 24/7 just about... thanks to people stopping the recording on my shows on the DVR. Those bastards force me to go download the latest episode after it's been uploaded.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Darkk on 9/1/2008 1:12:15 AM , Rating: 2
7. Comcast VoIP - does this count against the limit?

Nope. It's a separate service. Comcast is putting a cap on DATA service for your PC, not your phone long as VOIP is being provided by Comcast.

Even you have Vonage, I wouldn't worry too much as it takes up little bandwidth anyway.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Aloonatic on 8/29/2008 11:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
wow, 250 GB seems a pretty good "limit", assuming anyone actually reaches that of course.

I quess 0.01% of their customers might.

Traffic limits are pretty common over here in the UK, are they oft seen in the US?

Typically, "full speed" broadband (~8Mbps) is free when bundled with TV and phone at a fairly reasonable price with a limit of 2GB and many people are happy with that, but they are typically households without children.

Then there's the 40GB to 80GB range which is the most common, where you start to pay for your internets and then you can pay extra for "unlimited" which I guess is what this 250 GB is replacing?

I think I'm on the 40 GB limit, have never gone over it with my current provider, I did go over the 2GB one for a few months, which got me a couple of advisory letters and the I was forced to trade up package, which was fair enough.

It does seem that increased demand will be happeneing for many hoseholds though, especially children.

The days of just 1 computer attached to the interwebs is over in thees housholds. Now many have a PC, a couple of laptops, a games console and then mobile phones, PSPs and DSs all sucking in the packets and spitting them back out again.

Not to mention the doenloadable HD TV/Films that we have been promised, as FitCam pointed out and a move towards full games being available for download.

The BBC iPlayer is a big hit over here (apparently) and people will only want it to get better, quality wise, which is going to cost someone.

I guess ultimately, as demand increaes these caps are the only way realistically for ISPs to enable growth in net use to happen but seem a bit of a weird way of doing it, allowing more to use the internet more by imiting the amount that some use it.

It's only fair that you pay for what you use though.

In 5 or 10 years time there will be a whole load of new contracts out there, this one will be but a distant memory and we'll all be fighting for our lives in a post apocolyptic ocean world with each other and homeless polar bears by then anyway.

/rambling Friday afternoon comment

RE: Hmm. . .
By mars777 on 8/29/2008 7:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, here in Croatia we have 20$ for a FLAT 2MB line up to 16Mb FLAT lines for 80$. Non flat costs half of that.

And i thought these were insane prices...

RE: Hmm. . .
By Aloonatic on 8/30/2008 4:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
That is quite expensive, if they are monthly fees and no discounts or other charges apply.

On ADSL networks:

For about £12/$25 a month you can get unlimited* 8Mb broadband in the UK, including free weekend and International phone calls and line rental**.

This is "up to" 8Mb of course, averages around 5Mb or 6Mb typically.

On Cable:

2Mb = £10/$20 a month.

10Mb = £17/$35 a month.

20Mb = £29/$60 a month.

Cable can be half price all year if you take one of the telephone packages, and extra discounts for taking TV too. They can be haggled with quite easily as well.

Both ADSL and Cable:

Most companies offer half price for the first 6 months of the 12 month contract.

All come with free wireless router.

Switching is a lot easier and faster now as the regulator got on their backs about it and usually takes a couple of weeks at the most, depending on the calibre of muppet you get on the phone when you as for migration codes and set up your new account.

If anyone's interested:

I'm with SKY and get all the traffic I need at 8Mbps (actualy around 6 Mbps so I am lucky really), plus sat TV, plus phone line, plus line rental for around £33/$70 a month.

Could be cheaper now and I will be changing when my contract runs out soon.

With these bundles on the ADSL networks speed can vary quite dramatically in different areas. SKY seem to be quite hit and miss, luckily for me they are pretty good where I live.

* Unlimited comes with a "fair usage" policy of course, but that typically means that if you are sending or receiving a lot of data your connection will be slowed during peak hours.

** Is "line rental" just another one of those extra charges that we accept in the UK only or are people in other countries conned into paying for the up keep of a network which isn't updated regularly, even though they have charged you for doing this for years and years and years and now say that they need to charge more to update the equipment for "the information age"?

RE: Hmm. . .
By nafhan on 8/29/2008 8:12:39 AM , Rating: 5
Usage limits and network neutrality are not the same thing. Throttling bittorrent while letting other traffic flow freely is an example of violating network neutrality.

RE: Hmm. . .
By mpjesse on 8/29/2008 1:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
Two of the largest net neutrality groups, and, disagree with your shortsighted definition of network neutrality. Both have published opinions that bandwidth metering is part of network neutrality. Read for yourself:

Bandwidth caps are just a subversive way of limiting what you do and watch on the web. Watch too much HDTV on the internet and Comcast loses advertising revenue and viewers from it's cable TV business. Comcast is terrified that its cash cow, cable TV, will disappear because of internet TV devices. They're worried we won't have a need for cable boxes in the future.

Network Neutrality AND bandwidth metering ARE tied together.

RE: Hmm. . .
By GaryJohnson on 8/30/2008 9:47:50 AM , Rating: 2
By that same logic, connection speeds are also a subversive cap used to limit what you do and watch on the web.

RE: Hmm. . .
By FITCamaro on 8/30/2008 9:48:14 AM , Rating: 2
Even with internet TV, you'll still need a box of some kind hooked up to your television. Most people don't have a computer hooked up to their TV. And would be afraid of trying to set it up along with a remote.

RE: Hmm. . .
By omnicronx on 8/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: Hmm. . .
By weskurtz0081 on 8/29/2008 9:21:14 AM , Rating: 2
So, now you are the one who decides how much bandwidth people get to use? Also, it doesn't matter what plan they are on, the bandwidth will be coming out of the same lines, only difference is price and available bandwidth.

Anyway, if a service is advertised as unlimited, it shouldn't be limited. If they are going to sell an unlimited service for $100, they should lower the price on the limited one.

omni, no one is protecting anyone in here, this is only a message board.

RE: Hmm. . .
By omnicronx on 8/30/2008 2:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
omni, no one is protecting anyone in here, this is only a message board.
Then why do you care so much? I feel absolutely no pain for those that use their local ISP as a server or are constantly leeching. Don't get me wrong, I do my fair share of downloading, but why do you think ISP's had to put in place such rules as limiting torrents and other P2P sites? Having a cap like this makes the internet a better place for rest of the people that are not taking advantage.

And like it or not your contract is subject to change, its one of the first lines of the agreenment you signed when you bought your internet. And its not like 250G is unreasonable either, you are just complaining for the sake of it.

This is not the only issue either, I know for a fact that DSL companies don't see a need to expand their services to more rural areas just because the margins in doing so would be so one sided, that there would be no point. Maybe in the good ol US of A it doesnt make a difference, but here in Canada where communities can be quite far from one another, it does!

RE: Hmm. . .
By Moishe on 8/29/2008 10:31:40 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see this as a problem. ISPs have always said "unlimited" and then dropped certain users for using too much. To me that is flat out lying and should not be legal. By setting a cap they remove all ambiguity. If you are over the cap, you get suspended (potentially). If not over the cap, no suspension. It's simple to calculate, simple to appeal, simple to monitor.

If the caps were widely used in the U.S. we'd see competition based on those caps. This is a good thing and it adds another feature that an ISP can sell. I am able to save $15/month on my broadband bill because TWC finally offered packages. I never needed 5Mb but I had no choice but to pay the cash for it.

I'm all for setting clear limits where possible. It's better for the business and better for the consumer

RE: Hmm. . .
By Aloonatic on 8/30/2008 4:09:51 AM , Rating: 2
In the UK fair usage policies are made pretty clear on all "unlimited" offers.

These apply to broadband traffic use and have also cropped up in mobile phone contracts for "unlimited" calls, texts or data.

If someone breaches it there connection is usually just throttled during peak hours over here though. I don't think that people actually get cut off.

The use of "unlimited" is an obvious marketing term and you would have to be pretty naive to think that you can get away with anything, but it is misleading.

I am pretty sure that it was the industry regulator that has made them make it clear that "unlimited" is not really and the disclaimers are very clear and easily found.

If they aren't doing this in the States then that is a little naughty and I can see how people would be annoyed.

RE: Hmm. . .
By sprockkets on 8/29/2008 2:36:42 PM , Rating: 3
Seriously, if you run into the 250GB limit, you need a life.

RE: Hmm. . .
By Googer on 8/29/2008 7:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
All I can say is that Brighthouse networks has done a great job in providing the best possible service with no known bandwith limitations, fast technical support, and next day in home repairs.

If I had one complaint, it would be the low 384k upload speed they provide on my 6mb/s connection. Compared to FIOS that sells 2mb/s up and 10mb/s down for $5 less per month. Overall, I cannot really complain, BHN is great!

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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