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It’s Official, Comcast to Have 250GB Data Cap Starting Oct 1st

It’s Official, Comcast to Have 250GB Data Cap Starting Oct 1st

Includes amount of data both downloaded as well as uploaded.

Comcast formally announces that beginning on October 1, 2008, it will “amend its Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and establish a specific monthly data usage threshold of 250 GB/month per account for all residential customers.”

In other words, data caps are on their way.

“250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of data, much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis,” reads the statement. “Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 – 3 GB.”

The plan is in response to a recent ruling by the FCC that it halt a previous scheme at managing network traffic which singled out BitTorrent.

“We consider whether Comcast, a provider of broadband Internet access over cable lines, may selectively target and interfere with connections of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications under the facts of this case,” reads the FCC’s ruling. “Although Comcast asserts that its conduct is necessary to ease network congestion, we conclude that the company‚Äôs discriminatory and arbitrary practice unduly squelches the dynamic benefits of an open and accessible Internet and does not constitute reasonable network management.”

As a result Comcast has being trying to figure out alternative ways to handle network traffic congestion.

The most recent was “fair share” in which they mulled targeting the heaviest bandwidth users during periods of network traffic congestion and reduce their connection speeds for anywhere from between 10 and 20 minutes. Afterwards it would return to normal. Throttled users will find themselves relegated to “a really good DSL experience,” said Mitch Bowling, Comcast’s senior VP and general manager of online.

Comcast does make a good point in that it still allows for the following:

  • Send 50 million emails (blah, blah)
  • Download 62,500 songs (sure, whatever)
  • Download 125 standard-definition movies (178.5 700MB .XVID movies shared to a 1:1 ratio)
  • Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (yeah)

So, it’s really not that bad in my opinion. It’s certainly a better tradeoff than having BitTorrent throttled or being on the receiving end of a “really good DSL experience for 20 minutes.

The Comcast announcement continues:

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. At that time, we’ll tell them exactly how much data per month they had used. We know from experience the vast majority of customers we ask to curb usage do so voluntarily.

As stated above the new monthly data usage threshold will officially take effect starting October 1st. We are notifying customers in a number of ways. For example, we have posted a preview of the amended AUP as a PDF on this page. We are also running banner notices on our Comcast.net home page and on our Security Channel Web page to alert customers about this upcoming change. In addition, we have provided a number of FAQs that are available at http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Excessive-Use. Finally, we will also notify our customers directly by including an insert (also called a bill stuffer) in an upcoming monthly billing statement.

I must say that all in all it’s not anything to draconian. You can still download and upload almost 6 .XVID movies per day, a lofty feat for any ardent file-sharer.

The only thing I worry about is whether or not it’ll be a slippery slope. Who’s not to say that in 6 months time they drop the cap by a third or even a half as they sign up new customers? They could just as easily make their “heavy bandwidth user” argument then as they are now.

Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
soulxtc
soulxtc

@Wonx2150 OMG sorry to hear that....YUCKI pay $45 p/mo for 1.8 MB/s DL + 380 kB/S UL with NO cap........

riaasuckz
riaasuckz

In my highest month ever I've used 48GB of transfer upload/download. A 250GB limit is virtually unlimited.Anyone complaining about this needs to get a job (or a girlfriend).

manakazero
manakazero

Wow Comcast just opened a great marketing opportunity for its competitors. Want truly unlimited internet service? Don't choose Comcast!

soulxtc
soulxtc

@man Never thought of it that way....I wonder what the trade off will beI mean people it will affect vs potential customers lost....it may only affect say 10000 heavy users at most(?) but may turn off hundreds of thousands if not millions when they're making a final choice between ISPs.

open_universe
open_universe

IMHO Comcast will backpedal soon enough. If you have a NetFlix account and a family of four who watch movies I can easily see that cap being hit. And yes watch for savvy competitors to pounce on this marketing misstep BUT ONLY the heavy hitters with the $$$$ to build enough infrastructure to support all that traffic.

Wonx2150
Wonx2150

250gb a month isn't bad. I guess its a step down from unlimited but living in Australia we would dream about that kinda thing...... I'm on 10gb a month (5 day 5 night) and that costs 40 bucks a month (not including general phone or line rental) and that's only 256kb. Unlimited here is like 100+ a month and then you still often don't include line rental..

iamyour41
iamyour41

I can see Verizon Fios ripping this apart. They can easily support the traffic use on their networks. Also I think it will piss off a lot of legal download websites. It will make downloading movies from Netflix or using Napster or any legal large media streaming websites less appealing knowing that you only have so much you can use your internet. Also I think that Comcast will lower their caps over time because they know that they have a strangle hold on most of the internet in their area. There are no good second options. Once internet goes completely wireless things will be different. It would be nice if Fios was offered in all of the states as widely as cable. I would switch immediately.

Gamer8585
Gamer8585

250GB/month isn't all that bad for most people. That is usually an entire harddrive worth of stuff. Seriously if you use more than 250GB a month you really need to slow down. Now such a cap may have to be raised in the future (since the amount of data people expect to consume will continually rise) but there should be a simple script made to adjust for the inflation annually (a common sense kind of thing so you know Comcast is neurologically incapable of it...).While this is the most reasonable compromise for Comcast and their customers at this time it will only help if they are reinvesting their profits into their network. Bandwidth expectations are only going to rise so they better get their network prepared to handle it. If they can't then a FiOS start up (or an existing FiOS company) will come in a scoop all their customers up.Anyway at least its better than Time Warners piece of shit cap (5GB/mo. for the low end service and 40GB/mo. for the high end service IIRC) .

manakazero
manakazero

99% of Comcast users will never get to 250GB but the fact that there is a limit will make future customers more wary of choosing this service at least the smart ones who do their research first!



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