Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

Summary: Now, it's official. Comcast will impose a 250GB monthly cap on its Internet customers, as the SF Chronicle reports.


Now, it's official. Comcast will impose a 250GB monthly cap on its Internet customers, as the SF Chronicle reports.

Violators will get a notice and a warning. If you do it twice in a six-month period, they may terminate your account.

What's more, Comcast won't be releasing any programs that will let you easily monitor your bandwidth usage, although anyone who is seriously in danger of hitting the cap probably can figure out how to download their own monitor.

This is how Comcast manages its network when it can't cut off BitTorrent users. Comcast says most users use 2 to 3 GB.

The thing is, isn't Comcast's future – the commercial future of the Web – in higher-def video, stuff like the NBC Olympics site? Won't Comcast be encouraging users to download video – and video ads – at greater and greater volumes even as it threatens to cut heavy users off?

"This wouldn't be necessary if Comcast had chosen to expand its capacity," said Michael Shames, executive director of the Utility Consumers' Action Network in San Diego. "They've chosen instead to degrade service."
And the monopoly nature of broadband providers means few people will have any choice but to accept the limits, even if their usage is completely legitimate. That's the broadband policy we have chosen, said Free Press's S. Derek Turner:
"Unfortunately, Americans will continue to face the consequences of this lack of competition until policymakers get serious about policies that deliver the world-class networks consumers deserve," Turner said in a statement.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Networking

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  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    [i]"..Comcast won?t be releasing any programs that will let you easily monitor your bandwidth usage.."[/i]

    doesnt that directly violate the FCC order requiring Comcast to be fully transparent with their customers? To me this is still leaving them in the dark. IF they want to meter, they have to have a way for the customer to have access to that. The power company doesnt say you use "1000 kWh" and you have no way to verify just walk out back and check the meter.

    I expect more FCC action and consumer lawsuits to start to flourish.
    • I agree

      The user must be given the means to manage their usage for this to work, otherwise Comcast will be taken to court again.

      Most Usenet providers have a web page its users can visit to track their monthly usage, and I think this would be the best method for Comcast if they are dead set on doing this.
      Michael Kelly
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    I can think of a million ways to LEGALLY max that out very easily.

    I mean, I've got the premium package, which means I stream 1.2 Mbps streams of a few baseball games daily, plus the XBL demos that come out, Hulu streaming video, the occasional youtube clip, and Steam purchases, not to mention whatever usage my roommates use, its a little too low. Not to mention if anyone plays WoW or Second Life, two things I don't use but from what I understand, are constantly downloading new textures every time you move to a new place, you could be screwed. Or if you have Netflix streaming or even worse buy a bunch of Video Marketplace HD videos. And that's not even counting the legal uses of Torrents such as downloading Linux distributions.

    I agree entirely with Mr. Shames, that if Comcast invested in their infrastructure that we wouldn't have this issue.
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    In a few months, the article title will be "Comcast customers leaving. Reverses 250GB ceiling decision"
    • No where for the customer to go.

      Where will you go when you leave ComCast ?

      If you have three choices you are VERY lucky. Some have two choices. Most have one highspeed choice and then it's dial up.

      The other two want limits as bad as ComCast. ComCast just did it first. They all will follow suit shortly.

      Limits are now the norm and will be until there is real choice. I'm not holding my breath.
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    not my problem any more..
    I went to verizon fios..
    20 down and 5 up (i hear they are starting to offer 50/50)
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    I think instead of blaming the consumer for their lackluster network performance that Comcast should improve the throughput of its network. If they unable to meet the needs of their subscribers then they should not have over sold their networks!
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    This is BS! alot of software nowadays is distributed online. Download a coule of iso's or sign up for netflix online and you'll be screwed.
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    Comcast is the worst of the worst companies. This doesn't surprise me at all. Try calling them for comment - they hire the stupidest, most unhelpful people ever. I recently cancelled Comcast and I feel like a child again!
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    Well there goes my Netflex Instant play (Roku) service. I should be using Comcast on demand service anyway ; right!
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    If each normal user DL 2-3 GB and their is a cap of 250GB then I see BitTorrent speeds going down hill BUT I also see more part timers (BitTorrent DOwnloaders) stepping up to the plate to fill the gap.

    So instead of 10-12 power users I see 100-200 part timers stepping up from 3GB to 250GB.

    Its funny ComCast is doing more to further Bit Traffic than they are to stop it lol
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    250 GB is a lot of bandwidth. I work in a healthcare setting
    and we move very large image datasets to offsite backup
    and retrieve from offsite backup quite frequently. Our
    internet has been capped at 100 GB for about a year now,
    even in peak days when we are moving dozens of
    MRI/XRay/CT scans, we have never topped 2 or 3 GB of

    I appreciate that it might be possible to top that by
    downloading high definition content over the internet, that
    is still a lot of video and it is unlikely that the average user
    is going to be moving that much data on a monthly basis.
    The casual internet surfer who checks e-mail, buys a few
    iTunes shows, and watches YouTube isn't going to be
    anywhere close.
    Rob Oakes
    • Do the math on what 250 GB means

      Comcast usually limits the upstream to less than 1 Mbps. It is the upstream that's the problem as their HFC cable plant has only 30 Mbps to share among all the homes within the same coax run (for DOCSIS 2.0). There's lots of downstream available.

      Bottom line, 250 GB per month is the same as a 750 kbps constant stream 24/7. This is basically the limit of the upstream for each home.
    • 250GB is not as much as you think

      Everywhere I read, 250 GB is a lot of memory. It really is not, if you use the internet to its fullest capabilities. Of course, in a business environment, no one should and does dare max out his/her own bandwidth. In a personal setting, it's a free-for-all. Also, look at the internet, make use of every possible media outlet, and then you'll see how little 250 GB really is.
  • RE: Comcast sets 250GB ceiling

    I understand the need to impose limits so Comcast can control use of the infrastructure, but why not just divide users into two tiers and charge the 250 gig users a premium?

    This appears to be a problem with business rules and billing systems. The fact that this hasn't been done suggests that the billing system doesn't support this approach.

    Finally, the fact there isn't a tool is not smart. Many users have no idea how much bandwidth they use and will freak out - Comcast should offer a tool for download ASAP.
    • The reason why ...

      is quite simple. Huge numbers of people would leap at the chance to pay a premium for higher caps/unlimited. Comcast's DOCSIS 1.0 network can't handle that. They NEED everyone to stay at 2-3GB a month. They NEED to put absolute speed breaks in place, because they have no other option.

      BUT, why don't they just crank down the available bandwitdh on users, so they dont' blast past the limit. What happened to slowing heavy users during peak times only. This doesn't address peak traffic problems. It's just an overall cap. It punishes heavy users without regard to specific traffic problems.
      • Throttling (heavy users) makes perfect ...

        ... sense but I thought that is what they got in trouble with the FCC about.
        M Wagner
        • FCC trouble

          What they got in trouble for was throttling only BitTorrent users, as opposed to heavy users. They can throttle (and I think they should throttle) in a protocol-agnostic fashion.
    • 2-Tiered Thinking?


      Another one who believes the providers' "bandwidth hogs" propaganda and wants to penalize people for actually USING WHAT THEY'RE ALREADY PAYING FOR.

      Or, do you forget that all users have subscribed to the services they use, for a price?!

      Think about it!...
      All ISPs are getting into their own content services, all requiring large amounts of bandwidth. Everything we do now requires more and more bandwidth. If we allow all ISPs to charge us by consumption, rather than implore them to simply keep up with the times, we're only giving them a license to completely gouge us!

      And, you'd get a domino effect after that, wouldn't you?...
      1) Smaller websites having to choose between charging to keep up with their bandwidth bill or going offline;
      2) Average residential internet bills rising noticeably as time goes on;
      3) ISPs regularly raising their metered rates;
      4) Only the richer clients affording to stay online;
      5) Cost of online innovation rising resulting in fewer innovators;
      6) Fewer, or less frequent users;
      7) Higher prices to level the profit margins from having fewer users.
      8) I could go on.

      The bottom line would be a detrimental change to the very spirit and functionality of the Internet. The providers would enjoy an immediate steep rise in their revenue followed by a guaranteed loss in individual accounts, which would probably suit them just fine. However, the Internet would be closer to being a "playground for the rich".
  • Are they going to provide a meter online...

    Where people can see where they stand?

    Hell, even the credit card companies, evil as they are, give you a way to see just where you stand.