Putting A Fuzzy Cap On Cable Modem Usage

from the yes,-but-what's-the-limit? dept

Something of a followup on an earlier article, as the various cable modem service providers are putting in place bandwidth usage caps – but not telling their customers what they are. Instead, they just send out letters to the heaviest users telling them they’re in violation and threatening to cut them off. Of course, they don’t tell them how much they need to cut back, because they refuse to admit they actually have a cap. They say it’s not a cap – knowing that saying they have a cap will be bad PR and could send subscribers over to DSL providers who (for the most part) don’t cap usage at all. Basically, companies like Comcast say that they, and only they, can understand what bandwidth abuse is – and if you’re in violation then you’d better cut back. They just won’t tell you how much. There’s also an amusing quote from someone at Comcast, basically admitting that the cap is completely arbitrary and that they might change if others start using that much: “The Internet is growing, and there are more broadband applications every day. If we were to set an arbitrary number today, we could be changing it tomorrow.” So, if you end up with a warning letter, you either have to cut your usage to some unknown amount – or convince everyone else in your neighborhood to start using the internet more (suggesting “new broadband applications” in use).

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Comments on “Putting A Fuzzy Cap On Cable Modem Usage”

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Donald Jessop says:

Dunce Caps

My cable modem ISP says that they have no cap. They go through their system every week and the top 20 bandwidth consumers in the past 4 weeks get a note telling them to lower their usage. I have been dinged at 110GB in a four week period as well as 56GB in a four week period. A friend of mine down the street was hit for 35GB in a four week period. It’s pretty much a randowm distribution and depends on what everyone is doing. Unofficially the limit on residential usage is 30GB per month. At least that is what the technician told me friend to set up as a bandwidth limitter for his peer to peer software.

They don’t mind if you share files, just not a lot of files.

I asked if I could just do my downloading at night if that would help, but their software doesn’t discriminate on time, just usage.

The problem is, where I live, the DSL provider has a 6GB limit. 6GB. They have had it in place for 4 years and it has not gone up. On the plus side, even though the software is in place to report on usage (a friend of mine wrote it) they currently do not charge for going over. Perhaps this is because they are going to start offering video-on-demand services over the ADSL line. Wouldn’t want to get $4.95 from a customer and then complain they exceeded the cap.

yuhon says:

Re: Dunce Caps

Get used to it. All over Europe, companies such as BT, Telefonica, and Telenet are all looking at or have quota based service offerings (i.e. 10 gigs – 850 down, 150 up) And once it is used you will be either brought down to dial up speeds, gulp!, or you can buy more quota.

Companies such as these are also exploring using deep packet inspection to offer quota based applications such as P2P limits.

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