Comcast takes broadband cap plunge; Other carriers likely to follow

Comcast takes broadband cap plunge; Other carriers likely to follow

Summary: Comcast will implement a 250 GB data monthly cap on customers starting Oct. 1.


Comcast will implement a 250 GB data monthly cap on customers starting Oct. 1.

The move, reported first by DSL Reports, was confirmed by Comcast today (Techmeme). On its site, Comcast posted its amended user policy:

We've listened to feedback from our customers who asked that we provide a specific threshold for data usage and this would help them understand the amount of usage that would qualify as excessive. Today, we're announcing that beginning on October 1, 2008, we will amend our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) available at and establish a specific monthly data usage threshold of 250 GB/month per account for all residential customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of data, much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis. Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 - 3 GB. To put 250 GB of monthly usage in perspective, a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email) * Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song) * Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie) * Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)

This is the same system we have in place today. 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. If a customer uses more than 250 GB and is one of the top users of our service, he or she may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use.

And industry move to broadband caps was mentioned by Qwest CTO Pieter Poll last week. Poll maintained that caps are likely to become an industry norm. While Comcast's move is going to raise hackles in some quarters, 250 GB is pretty generous for an average retail customer. Meanwhile, I'd rather have a cap that's high than be nickel and dimed with metered access.With Comcast implementing a broadband cap you can rest assured that other carriers will quickly follow.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, CXO, Networking

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  • Hmm, I wonder how long it will take the torrent abusers...

    ... to reach that cap and get kicked? Not talking about the ones who get movies and software and games (all illegally) but the ones who serve this stuff up?

    Time to start buying stock in beer and popcorn - come Halloween, there should be some interesting stats to relish.
    Confused by religion
    • The thing is, this treats all abusers the same. Nobody is targeted for the

      way they use the bandwidth, ONLY the total. But, I think they should throttle them in steps, not all at once. Maybe at the last level, they would get 20 kbps, so they can at least check their email and read the news.
    • All illegal?

      Where do you think BitTorrent came from? It was designed for legal file transfers, such as Linux ISO files, etc. There are lots of legal files and transfers made every day using BitTorrent technology (check out, for example).
    • Agreed. Too bad they won't provide tiered pricing.

      Most of those exceeding the cap are likely involved in something illegal (file swapping, etc). Those that aren't should get a life and go outside once in awhile. 250GB is a LOT of bandwidth.

      I use DSL service because it's a much better value than Comcast. For $25/month (half of Comcast's price), I get all the internet I've ever needed or wanted. I won't even consider Comcast because of their high prices. Then again, I don't spend all day downloading video, etc.

      If Comcast would provide 100GB for $25, I would give it a serious look. Those using more could pay more, which seems fair. If someone in my neighborhood is clogging up the pipes with non-stop web traffic, they SHOULD pay more. After all, they get more value out of the service than I would. Everyday internet users should not have to subsidize bandwidth hogs, which is precisely what they are doing.
      • RE: Comcast takes broadband cap plunge; Other carriers likely to follow

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  • They should do it in steps. After 100 GB, throttle the bandwidth to half,

    at 150 GB, throttle to 1/4, at 200 GB, throttle to 1/8, and at 250 GB, pull the plug.
    • Stupid.

      I'm being nice by calling you stupid. Everyone should support a free Internet; no throttling, cap usage, etc. it's all bull crap. It doesn't matter really, because the FCC will make it all illegal in a few months. F Comcast.
      • No this is perfectly legal. As a paying customer, I want cheap internet

        access, and do NOT want to subsidize the abusers. I do not download pornography, HD movies, etc, and those that do, can pay for it themselves. I do not want to subsidize them. And, I would love a cut rate plan that caped out out 5 GB per month.
        • You consider....

          $60.00+ a month cheap internet?I dont download anywhere near the cap so how about they tier the service.
          • Well, maybe the cap should be even lower. At 60 bucks, you are subsidizing

            the people that are downloading tens of gigabytes. I want fast, but, I do not need very many gigabytes per month, and I do NOT want to subsidize stupid people downloading porn.
        • You want cheap internet?

          Does freetard kitty has low wagez? $60 mo is chump change. You are a sys admin or a programmer right? Or at least an IT pro? To hear you talk one would think so.
          Duke E. Love
          • Unless

            you live in your mom's basement while earning a six figure salary, don't knock the idea of saving money. Some people have mortgages, kids with tuition, and retirement funds to think of. Add that to the rising cost of gas and utilities and it makes sense to cut out expenses where you can.
            Michael Kelly
          • 60 bucks may be cheap, but I still do not want to pay an extra 20 bucks per

            month to subsidize the idiots downloading porn.
          • Holy reaction formation Batman

            >> subsidize the idiots downloading porn.

            Let me buy you a clue kiddo:

            WTF is wrong with you? Porn has nothing to do with this. You have some personal issues to resolve.

            Between the legal movies and shows I watch online: Comedy central and, Audiogalaxy Rhapsody and Shoutcast I burn up way over 250 gig a month.

            Excessive my ass.
            Duke E. Love
          • So Donnie boy...

            Are you an IT pro or a just freetard duel booting Ubuntu with too much time on his hand?. Inquiring minds want to know.
            Duke E. Love
          • Help desk freetard

            A true bottom feeder and a Googlewhack btw.
            Duke E. Love
          • What's with the name calling and focus on porn?

            What difference does it make what others are
            downloading? It isn't necessary to call people who
            do things you do not do insulting names, make
            moral judgments, and obsess about how much
            other people download porn! Or if you do want to
            obsess about it, do it in your own head.

            The issue is you would like to pay for only what you
            need and use. That is understandable and a good
            foundation for discussion.
      • not at all!

        [i]Everyone should support a free Internet[/i]
        If you meant free as in beer than that is a loooong wait to get it.
        If you meant free of constraints, than same argument can be made for other utilities and you know that it is technically unfeasable.
        Linux Geek
      • FCC for more than the corporations

        That is after January 20
    • makes sense for me, I'm with you

      as a low bandwidth user I prefer speed over a big cap. The whiners should pay more if they want both of them!
      It's pretty much like your neighbor using an excessive amount of water that causes the water pressure to drop to a level when you can't shower or flush the toilet.
      You can shut him down or just reduce his water flow to a level that won't plunge the water pressure for you.
      This also could be an opportunity for ISVs to come up with better compression algorithms and to be more selective in the stuff they send over the wire.
      Linux Geek