Comcast Disconnecting Users Who Download More than 4 Movies a Day?

So much for so-called “unlimited” internet service.

In the continuing proxy war against illegal downloading, it seems as though ISPs are increasingly flexing their muscle as internet gatekeeper.

The MPAA, the RIAA, and even some file-sharing companies have all asked Congress to mandate that ISPs monitor their networks for illegal-sharing of copyrighted content and to disconnect users who fail to comply.

Well, Comcast, in addition to throttling BitTorrent traffic, perhaps illegally, has now started to disconnect “excessive” downloaders, arguing that they slow down the network for everybody else.

But, the kicker here is that they refuse to reveal their download limits, leaving it up to hapless users to throttle upwards until they receive a warning letter.

“You have no way of knowing how much is too much,” said Sandra Spalletta of Rockville, whose Internet service was suspended in March after Comcast sent her a letter warning that she and her teenage son were using too much bandwidth. They cut back on downloads but were still disconnected. She said the company would not tell her how to monitor their bandwidth use in order to comply with the limits.

“You want to think you can rely on your home Internet service and not wake up one morning to find it turned off,” said Spalletta, who filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Office of Cable and Communication Services. “I thought it was unlimited service.”

Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesman said that the company is merely addressing “the problem of abusive activity that adversely impacts on everybody else’s experience.”

“I can’t give you a number” for clients who have been disconnected, said Douglas, while assuring that customers whose plugs were pulled are “very rare.”

As internet related application require more and more bandwidth, ISPs are facing a short supply of available bandwidth with which to sell to new customers. Thus this means that existing users who consume an inordinate amount of bandwidth that impacts an ISP’s ability to take in new customers will find themselves being shown the door.

According to the Washington Post, a customer would have to download about 1,000 MP3s or 4 “full-length” movies (XVID format I presume) to trigger a disconnect warning.

Now 4 movie downloads a day may be easy to limit ones self to, but if you take into account streaming services like Joost, Last.FM, YouTube, TV Links and others, it may just be a matter of time before many of us become “excessive” users.