Comcast to limit bandwidth usage - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Before you get your panties in a bunch, it's a 250GB limit, which is pretty high and I wouldn't think would affect most current "legitimate" uses, but it may very well put a cramp in HD VOD. If the movies are 5GB, you'd be able to watch about 45 in a month (leaving 5GB for normal internet usage)

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, said on Thursday it will cap customers' Internet usage starting October 1, in a bid to ensure the best service for the vast majority of its subscribers.

Comcast said it was setting a monthly data usage threshold of 250 gigabytes per account for all residential high-speed Internet customers, or the equivalent of 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movies.

"If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use," according to the company's updated Frequently Asked Questions on Excessive Use.

Customers who top 250 GB in a month twice in a six-month timeframe could have service terminated for a year.

Comcast said up to 99 percent of its 14 million Internet subscribers would not be affected by the new threshold, which it said would help ensure the quality of Internet delivery is not degraded by a minority of heavy users.

U.S. Internet subscribers are typically not aware of any limit on their Internet usage once they sign up to pay a flat monthly fee to their service provider.

As Web usage has rocketed, driven by the popularity of watching online video, photo-sharing and music downloading services, cable and phone companies have been considering various techniques to limit or manage heavy usage.

But Comcast has come under fire from a variety of sources for its network management techniques.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission investigated complaints by consumer groups that it was blocking peer-to-peer applications like **********, and earlier this month ordered Comcast to modify its network management.

Comcast has said that by the end of the year it will change its network management practices to ensure all Web traffic is treated essentially the same, but has also been exploring other ways to prevent degradation of its Internet service delivery.

One consumer group said while Comcast's new 250 GB limit was "relatively high," it could eventually ensnare customers as technology progresses.

"If Comcast has oversold their network to the point of creating congestion problems, then well-disclosed caps for Internet use are a better short-term solution than Comcast's current practice of illegally blocking Internet traffic," said S Derek Turner of Free Press, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group that filed a complaint about Comcast's network management practices earlier this year.

The Philadelphia-based company is not alone in trying to come up with ways to limit heavy Internet usage.

Time Warner Cable Inc, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, said in January it would run a trial of billing Internet subscribers based on usage rather than a flat fee.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said Comcast was also considering so-called consumption-based billing, but no decisions had been made.

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post #2 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 08:50 AM
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This limit is so high that I believe their statement about it only affecting 1% of their users. Other broadband providers are proposing service limits not anywhere near this generous.

My broadband provider tiers services based on download speed, (slow, medium, or fast) and prices at $30, $46, and $60.

I do know that not everyone out there is going to pay $45+ for broadband service and there should be a lower-priced option for them. Whether this should be based on speed or monthly throughput is another question.

With no regulation of this industry and very few players I think we all know what to expect in the future and it isn't good.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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This is obviously just meant to target the ********** users and pirates. I think it's just a first step, and they'll lower it later.

Personally, I would welcome a tiered pricing package. I doubt I ever hit 5 GB a month (I don't have any way of verifying that though), so I'd much rather pay less than $60/month that I am now.

Of course, once Netflix rolls out HD Watch Instantly, my bandwidth will go up, but will probably still be under 50GB/month (guessing).
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post


Personally, I would welcome a tiered pricing package. I doubt I ever hit 5 GB a month (I don't have any way of verifying that though), so I'd much rather pay less than $60/month that I am now.

You do know this will never happen, right? What incentive could Comcast possibly have to lower their profits? Especially when they are most likely operating in a local monopoly?

And as you indicated, for now probably OK, but it will put an (IMO unfair) crimp in any long term competing HD VOD schemes.
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 03:06 PM
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I'd be happy if they delivered speeds that would make it physically possible for you to download 250 GB per month.

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post #6 of 16 Old 08-29-2008, 03:48 PM
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I see a lawsuit coming if VOD ever takes off. With all of the companys that want a piece of the pie (MS, PSN, Netflix, et. al.) there will be people on the lower tiers that could only rent from their provider or risk going over the cap. I can't imagine too many at 250 GB that will have a problem, but if you are limited to 50 or less, I can see some unhappy customers. Especially in areas where there is only one provider.
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-30-2008, 03:12 PM
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I'm curious to know what the "average" Xbox Live player uses per month. Then, once you figure in the MS/Netflix partnership for downloadable movies, how much usage does that equal?

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post #8 of 16 Old 09-01-2008, 05:35 AM
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As a cable company Comcast is in the business of distributing video content so it is easy to see whey they don't want to encourage you to use their broadband services to grab competing content.

However they are also a local monopoly many places and thus will encourage public and government scrutiny and increased regulation if they try too hard to cripple the competition this way.

Though I agree most people wouldn't (currently) be too upset with a 250 GB limit as long as they didn't fall into a sudden trap of service cut-off or $1000 unexpected monthly bills.

Comcast could probably get away with it as long as there were no surprises and the service agreements were publicly available and understandable. Though in areas where there actually was broadband competition (FIOS?) if would obviously still hurt them in the market.

I've suggested before someone should compile statistics of how well limits like these get enforced in competition vs monopoly neighborhoods. I suspect there might be a visible difference.

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post #9 of 16 Old 09-02-2008, 04:41 PM
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thank u very mutch

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post #10 of 16 Old 09-03-2008, 02:53 AM
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What's irritating is that they're introducing these limits without providing any kind of a "meter" to show what anyone's current usage is. I do some online gaming, VOD from Directv, and some streaming on my Mac - not "a lot" of any of these, but I'm curious as to what this all adds up to, and whether Comcast is in agreement with my perception of my activity. Yeah, I can go buy my own hardware appliance, but the conspiracy theorist in me says that Comcast has a stake in the major producers of these devices...
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-04-2008, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey59 View Post

What's irritating is that they're introducing these limits without providing any kind of a "meter" to show what anyone's current usage is. I do some online gaming, VOD from Directv, and some streaming on my Mac - not "a lot" of any of these, but I'm curious as to what this all adds up to, and whether Comcast is in agreement with my perception of my activity. Yeah, I can go buy my own hardware appliance, but the conspiracy theorist in me says that Comcast has a stake in the major producers of these devices...

And here is the problem. Most people do not know how much 250GB is and if they see this VOD stuff offered and know that Comcast has a limit they will be less likely to take advantage of it. This will have a "chilling effect" on VOD type services since people cannot see how much they are using and do not know how much 250GB is.

However, this almost kills HD VOD. Take current Xbox 360 files which has 720p movies running 7-8GB. So watch one movie a night (which is very possible) and you are very close to the limit. 1080p VOD is pretty much out.

So yeah while 250GB is plenty for current users and current stuff and for SD VOD, with no way to tell what you are using, this will hurt adoption of even SD VOD services and cause a big problem for HD VOD services.
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-15-2008, 12:22 PM
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forgive me if already posted: this email just received:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer, - Update to Acceptable Use Policy

We appreciate your business and strive to provide you with the best online experience possible. One of the ways we do this is through our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP outlines acceptable use of our service as well as steps we take to protect our customers from things that can negatively impact their experience online. This policy has been in place for many years and we update it periodically to keep it current with our customers' use of our service.

On October 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clarify that monthly data (or bandwidth) usage of more than 250 Gigabytes (GB) is the specific threshold that defines excessive use of our service. We have an excessive use policy because a fraction of one percent of our customers use such a disproportionate amount of bandwidth every month that they may degrade the online experience of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of bandwidth and it's very likely that your monthly data usage doesn't even come close to that amount. In fact, the threshold is approximately 100 times greater than the typical or median residential customer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in perspective, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 million plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Download 125 standard definition movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heaviest multi- or single-player gaming activity would not typically come close to this threshold over the course of a month.

In addition to modifying the excessive use policy, the updated AUP contains other clarifications of terms concerning reporting violations, newsgroups, and network management. To read some helpful FAQs, please visit http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/...-Excessive-Use.

Thank you again for choosing Comcast as your high-speed Internet provider.




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post #13 of 16 Old 09-24-2008, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey59 View Post

What's irritating is that they're introducing these limits without providing any kind of a "meter" to show what anyone's current usage is. I do some online gaming, VOD from Directv, and some streaming on my Mac - not "a lot" of any of these, but I'm curious as to what this all adds up to, and whether Comcast is in agreement with my perception of my activity. Yeah, I can go buy my own hardware appliance, but the conspiracy theorist in me says that Comcast has a stake in the major producers of these devices...

I just wanted to jump in this boat. I do a little music sharing of my own copyrighted music. For that matter, I just learned how to share it and am new to all this. How do I know how much I can share?

Can someone tell me if uploads are the same as downloads? Anyways, they need a meter and they need to tell me when the meter is reset so I can share my music and my friends music.

Or, I can find a new ISP.
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post #14 of 16 Old 10-24-2008, 12:26 PM
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Question:

I use Comcast high speed w/ power boost for internet and am starting to download HD content

Is there some way I can monitor my usage to be sure I stay under the allowed limits?

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post #15 of 16 Old 10-24-2008, 02:34 PM
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If you use only 1 computer, then you can use a utility like http://www.tamos.com/products/commtraffic/
otherwise you are stuck with whatever your router provides.
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post #16 of 16 Old 10-24-2008, 03:02 PM
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comcast is supposedly working on something, but I checked the website today and couldn't find anything.
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