Comcast should surcharge bandwidth hogs, Torrents downloaders

Comcast should surcharge bandwidth hogs, Torrents downloaders

Summary:'s Chloe Albanesius has gotten quite a reaction from her Wednesday story that Comcast is cutting off "bandwidth hogs" whose downloads are far in excess of what the broadband access provider thinks is about right.

TOPICS: Tech Industry
8's Chloe Albanesius has gotten quite a reaction from her Wednesday story that Comcast is cutting off "bandwidth hogs" whose downloads are far in excess of what the broadband access provider thinks is about right.

She mentions one case of a customer who downloaded 550 gigabytes of stuff, and whose service has been suspended as a result.

Although Comcast didn't comment specifically for the story, Chloe quotes a February, 2007 statement from Comcast, saying in part that "customers who are notified of excessive usage typically consume more than 100 times the average national Comcast bandwidth usage." 

So now I am thinking how anyone could download 550 gigabytes in a month.

Hmm. Maybe torrents of movies?

If that's the case, these bandwidth hogs are abusing the system. Maybe Comcast shouldn't suspend their service, but hit 'em with a surcharge.

Hey, I smell a poll coming:

[poll id=61] 


Topic: Tech Industry

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  • If it's not a prominant stipulation in the terms of use

    when the person signed the contract then no punishment should be dealt. If the providers want to change the terms of use that dramatically then they should require customers to sign a new contract. Not just change the terms of use and let the customer find out about it once they go over the limit, but a new contract. Maybe they can legally change the terms of use without a new signature, but that would be morally wrong.
    Michael Kelly
  • More likely CAD drawings or high quality graphics

    More likely the customer was using the bandwidth to either moonlight or download work files. CAD drawings are huge as are 3D-Models used in graphic/game design.

    Dual-Layer DVDs only carry 9.8-11 GB. DVDs do not end up on torrents typically uncompressed. What is on the torrents is typically compressed down to 1-2 GB using DivX. Assuming a 30 day month and assuming a 16 hour day (8 hours to eat/sleep/and bathe) and assuming an average movie running time + bathroom breaks of 2 hours and assuming a highball average of 2 GB per download the total only comes to 480 GB.

    This is not a new issue though. When Netzero rolled out their premium dial-up program, late 90's early 2000, for $10 a month they told users that were connected 120-150+ hrs or more a month that they were dropping access in their area, a lie, but in fact was cutting off (blacklisting) those users. They got sued for that BTW.

    Actually there was an unintended benefit of dial-up. When you were connected telemarketers couldn't call you. No-Call list my left toe- since being placed on it they call more frequently.
    Edward Meyers
  • The real issue

    The issue at hand is not whether Comcast can shut someone off for excessive use. The question is: Are they giving proper notification of what the limits are? They use to advertise unlimited Internet, which is obviously a lie. Now they claim there are no caps on usage, but there are. Why can't Comcast just tell people what the cap is? How can heavy users stay under an unknown limit?

    If Comcast want's to charge extra for high bandwidth, so be it, but they have to explain precisely what high bandwidth is.

    • The real issue

      I agree. Hi I'm Frank from the article. I have no issue with Comcast setting limits. When those limits are undisclosed I take issue. All these years I thought I had purchased "unlimited use for a flat montly fee". Says so in the advertisement when I purchased their 6 meg pipe (that's all it says btw, no limits).

      Comcast also disconnected us after a single phone call. That's it. No further communication. Now how is that working with the customer? I take issue there as well.

      I'm currently on Qwest DSL and working to bring Utopianet fiber to the home. I'm also working on bringing Network Neutrality to light. Neither will help resolve Comcast's issues but it will bring consumers choice over where they want to go today and who provides the service

      BTW, I tried upgrading to a business account. check my blog ( We were willing to pay more for more capacity. Comcast wanted us to upgrade to a commercial account which isn't reasonable. Up to $10,000 to connect and up to $2000 monthly is extortion.

      I only wish they sent me the bill rather than a verbal. I'd post it on the blog in a hot minute.

      I appreciate The New York Times and ZDNet in passing the word along. Comcast's behavior will not change from within. Only with people complaining and stories being written will Comcast improve their customer service practices.

      Either that or people will go my route and replace Comcast with their competator.

      Thanks again!
  • Depends on ToS

    ToS should clearly define what limits exist and what actions will result should those limits be exceeded.

    We had Adelphia for 2 years before they were bought by Comcast. Since the merger our service with both Cable TV and Interent have suffered. Our upload speed under Adelphia was averaging 700-800K, now for the last 6 months with Comcast, I am lucky to get 384K. I am surprised that my download speed has gone up from 8MB to 12MB, but why would they increase download if they do not want you to use it? I think it is due to advertising, as in, our speed is better than DSL than truely wanting to serve the customer.

    As for TV, we have 2 DVR boxes, one has been fine, the 2nd we are on our 3rd box, having to reboot it 4-5 times a week. Also, we have premimum channels, which 5-10 percent of time are "unavailable" then we call, and they magically appear. They have sent out technicians who "claim" that everything is fine. In 2 years with Adelphia, never had 1 problem with either of the 2 boxes they supplied.

    I hope that they get sued over the "unlimited" internet access, just as Cingular should with their "unlimited" cellular internet access, which is also capped and not specified.
  • Follow up to HATE COMCAST...

    If I am a business customer with a T1 line, am I capped for excessive use by my provider? No, I am not, why am I at home? I wonder if this is due to cost cutting where Comcast does not want to pay for additional access due to heavy usage?
  • The real solution

    Rogers here in Canada has already quietly (or for those in the know not so quietly) been doing the same thing. Specifically, they've been packet shaping torrent downloaders and specifically degrading encrypted packets to combat torrents.

    This is, of course completely ridiculous. Encryption and torrents are just transfer protocols. You can't call a transfer protocol good or bad, because it doesn't care what the content is.

    The real solution is, if you don't want people upset when you shut them off, don't call your highspeed access unlimited downloads/uploads! Its as simple as that.

    Instead, call your Premium package a 200GB service with a surcharge scheme for every X GB's after that.

    And don't target particular transfer protocol's, that's just being stupid.