Guy Kicked Off Comcast For Using Too Many Cloud Services

from the why-broadband-caps-suck dept

One of the key concerns we’ve had about the rise of broadband caps is that they don’t take into account the fact that more and more data and services are moving online. When companies put in place data caps — such as Comcasts’ 250 gigs or AT&T’s 150 gigs, they always highlight how this really only impacts a tiny percentage of users. But, the truth is that as more things go online, and more data is moved to “the cloud,” it’s really not that hard to bump up against these caps… and apparently the penalties are harsh. Andre Vrignaud lost his Comcast account for going over 250 GB two months in a row, mainly from using various legal online services, including Pandora and Netflix. He had also switched to a new online backup service, and the initial upload used up a bunch of bandwidth. He did admit to downloading a few things via BitTorrent (a UK show not available in the US), but it seems clear that most of his internet usage was perfectly legitimate. And now he has no account, and Comcast won’t let him back on for a year. They won’t even let him buy a more expensive package.

Yes, his data usage may have been extreme, but these kinds of services are becoming more common, and as we start to see even more new services, there are going to be a lot more stories of people bumping up against these caps. The truth is that the ISPs could upgrade their networks to handle this traffic. And it’s not even that hard to do so. But with these caps they don’t have to move as fast, and can slow down improving things — which is what Wall Street likes. It just sucks if you’re someone who, you know, actually wants to use the internet for what it enables.

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Companies: comcast

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Comments on “Guy Kicked Off Comcast For Using Too Many Cloud Services”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

Future predictions

Couple things missed in the article

Check family usage under North America at Cisco VNI Forecast. The Bell Curve of internet usage by household can also be found in the data at this link. Note : this was done in early 2010 before internet video via netflix took off and is wrong to the downside.

What all this means is, with caps set the way they are, by 2015 the top ~10%-15% of internet households in the US can be kicked offline.

Hydroxyl says:

I had to purchase a second cable modem because I kept getting nasty grams from my ISP (Blue Ridge Cable/PenTeleData) about going over their 250GB limit, I was at their highest tier plan and they wouldn’t let me pay more to up the bandwidth and said that I needed a (3Mb/s slower) business class account at $160/month (up from $50) to get more bandwidth, so I just told them I needed a second modem, +$30/m, it’s working great so far. All devices stay on the same LAN, just certain devices use one modem and the rest use the other.

Steven (profile) says:


He completely deserved it, the damn dirty pirate. He even admitted to being a filthy little pirate. Thief trying to get things that he’s not allowed to watch. If he wanted that UK show he should have bought himself a plane ticket (and maybe some lube to go with it).

See! It’s only pirates (and maybe terrorists, but they’re really the same) that run into these problems.

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

companies spend money with your notions about maximizing profit margins?

This company is just managing network traffic by kicking off an EXTREME hog. Everyone CAN’T use up 250Gs — oh, that’s right: you don’t grasp the concept of “limits”, want UNLIMITED for a fixed price, even if that means capital expenditures — I mean “sunk (or fixed) costs” — but of course you’ve forgotten thsoe and only look at “marginal costs”. Yes, now I see why you’re so baffled at limits.

You want companies to spend so you don’t have to face limits, but it just isn’t possible in reality, whether subway, phone, or internet service.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

“Everyone CAN’T use up 250Gs”

Let’s look past the fact that various third party studies prove you dead wrong here:

Then the answer is don’t advertise that you can provide that much to your customers if you really can’t.

Or here’s a better idea: Spend some money on the infrastructure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

You do know that the USA is among the worst in the world when it comes to providing internet access? Compared to places like Japan and China, we’re extremely overpriced for services that are paltry when compared to the lowest tier in other places.

It’s completely possible and easy to do, they just don’t want to do it.

Gaurav (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one

Not sure I agree.

He uses services which clearly mentions the limit to be 250G, and he goes over that twice.

First they warn him, and let go. He does it again and they cut him lose.

What is the expectation here? That Comcast should warn him again (and again, and again)? Or 250G is too less? What if the limit was 500G – somebody would still end up going over that, and we would be discussing this very thing right here.

And please – 250G is a lot of data. We have netflix at home but no cable TV – so we end up watching a LOT of movies, I work from home sometimes for days, download music from amazon/google music etc – upload lot of pictures too. I go nowhere close to 250G.

Not that I am biggest fan of Comcast, but I am not paying for others who go crazy over the internet. He has option to upgrade to more expensive plan, if he really thinks he needs more than 250G.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't agree on this one

god you would be making a ton of sense if there was any sort of competitor.. at all. I cannot get any other high speed service in my town (portland, the silicone forest for crying out loud), unless its DSL, which we all know has crap for upload speeds.

Comcast has a monopoly. They provide almost half the internet accounts in the country, and are often the only real pipe you can get to your house in most places. They are the #1 entity in consumer complaints, ahead of even the IRS. That takes some work. The end result is, we pay more, for slower, capped connection, then dozens of other modern nations.

So yeah, he has a right to complain, i dont care how many times he went over the “limit.” We should have fiber to every house with speeds so high the idea of data caps would be a joke. We dont because comcast can stay plenty rich forcing us to use what they got, and have no real incentive to change, at all.

Im sure this will all improve though, now that they merged with comcastuniversalgeneralelectricmsnbc.

Get some context holmie.

txpatriot (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can't agree on this one

AC writes: “I cannot get any other high speed service in my town (portland, the silicone forest for crying out loud), unless its DSL, which we all know has crap for upload speeds. Comcast has a monopoly.”

According to the Oregon Broadband map:

the vast majority of Portland is served by 4 or 5 broadband providers. I can’t speak to accurate that data is. Have you tried entering your address on that map?

chris says:

Re: Can't agree on this one

i have 5 people using it at the same time and we were never told about the cap when i got it from penteledata or cablevision. they advertise unlimited and it never is i dont no how they get away with it. just taking from the little guy again. whats unlimited thats what i like to now bc thats what i understood it to be when i opened the account with them . the peak starts at 5pm and everyone works til 5 we come home and want to use it they should allow more when most people are home.

Colonel Panic says:

Personal Experience

The last place I moved out of, we had a dispute about how the internet was being used. One of my housemates had a netflix account, and was streaming TV shows 6+ hours a day(!). This alone accounted for over 150GB of our 250GB/month cap. He didn’t understand how much bandwidth he was using, and tried to blame me for us going over at the end of the month. Granted, I did a lot of downloading at the time, but a quick look in my downloads folder (which I never clean out) showed less than 100GB of data accumulated over 5 months. When I moved to the new house, I uninstalled my torrent client and stopped all ‘data hoarding’ as it were… was doing pretty well, and then a Steam sale cropped up, and I ended up with 148GB of data on my bandwidth monitor by the end of the first month between just regular web browsing and game downloads and updates via Steam. I have a Pandora One account, which I haven’t even been using for fear of going over the monthly limit.

Moral of the story is that the bandwidth overhead of torrents and illegal downloading is really just a relic of times before the cloud. If you think about the size of all your media collections, obtained legally or otherwise, it probably doesn’t even top a couple months of bandwidth caps at most. The average person probably has less than 250GB of media accumulated to date on their computers. In modern times, you’re likely to surpass that many times over in legitimate streaming and cloud services, a lot of which is never even stored on your drive. At best, illegal downloading is a boogeyman that ISPs use to justify capping legitimate traffic to save them money at the expense of their subscribers.

Steven (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

I’m not Mike, but here’s my problem with these data cap policies.

ISP X sells me a data plan that (lets say) promises 6Mb/s down max (we’ll ignore the up). They then put a cap of 250MB a month on it. The justification for the cap is to manage network traffic.

The cap does not manage network traffic. I can still saturate my connection and put a heavy load on the network. I may not be able to do it constantly for the whole month, but I could probably do it during all peak times.

If they really wanted to manage their network they wouldn’t oversell their network speeds (because that is what they are doing). They want to advertise big numbers for download speed, but they don’t want to actually build a network that can support that speed for all their users.

Additionally most of these ISP’s also offer TV packages. They see the threat of online video to their TV packages and want to get in front of that demand by setting caps that are “reasonable” now, but will quickly become very limiting.

Finally the only reason these companies are capable of this behavior is because they have essentially been granted government backed monopolies. The lack of competition in this area allows them to pull in the bucks without fighting for the customers.

My personal solution would be for some situation in which the ‘tubes’ were available to any company (similar to landline phones). I might even be for a state owned infrastructure similar to the roads over which various ISP’s could supply service. But really anything that drops the barriers to entry and allows competition.

txpatriot (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Steven wrote: “They want to advertise big numbers for download speed, but they don’t want to actually build a network that can support that speed for all their users.”

Actually, you are correct. By analogy with the telephone network, when the telco sells you a telephone service, you expect to be able to use it at anytime, for an unlimited duration, and do it all for a flat monthly fee.

If EVERY telco customer made a phone call and stayed on that call indefinitely, it would break the network because the telco network isn’t designed to support that kind of load, even though each customer paid for their access.

The telco uses statistics to size their network; those statistics were compiled over years of experience, using queuing theory, hold times, etc.

I don’t know whether or not ISPs use a similar kind of traffic analysis to size their networks, but basic engineering economics tells me they cannot size their network in such a way that would allow every one of their users to max out their individual connection 24×7.

Even if competition over the last mile were allowed, I don’t think ANY ISP could design and build a network that would allow ALL of their customers to max out their connections ALL of the time.

In this particular case, the guy violated his TOS. It had nothing to do with WHAT he was using his connection for; his problem was HOW MUCH, and the fact that he did it twice.

Whether he read his TOS or not was up to him. It seems to me after the first instance, he would’ve been more careful.

Live and learn . . .

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Well, actually, water pressure is seriously diminished in a municipality during the two peak periods of morning shower, and evening supper/shower use.

Furthermore, countless water utilities and towns have bylaws that forbid watering in order to conserve water. While still other utilities only allow watering on particular days (ex: od or even) to maintain adequate supply in the pipes.

And, in an smaller network case, when was the last time you were taking a shower, and somebody flushed the toilet? Did you notice the flushing as the hot water scalded you? What comes out of one faucet is seriously affected by what’s going on at other faucets.

The analogy to the Internet is pretty good.

So…another example of where usage and demand have been managed to ensure the ability to provide adequate service to the masses.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

“Furthermore, countless water utilities and towns have bylaws that forbid watering in order to conserve water. While still other utilities only allow watering on particular days (ex: od or even) to maintain adequate supply in the pipes.”

This is to keep up with potable demand.

In other words, it is a water quality issue not a water quantity issue.

“And, in an smaller network case, when was the last time you were taking a shower, and somebody flushed the toilet? Did you notice the flushing as the hot water scalded you? What comes out of one faucet is seriously affected by what’s going on at other faucets.”

Upgrade your system to handle the needs.
Deeper well, higher capacity pump…

Dennis S. (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one

There are two issues here that he mentions in his full blog posts.

1) Comcast did NOT make it very clear that the limit includes uploads as well as downloads.

2) Comcast did not answer his question about what his bandwidth was being used on when he asked after the first time it happened. They didn’t even tell him it includes uploads and downloads.

It wasn’t until after the second time it happened and he SPECIFICALLY ASKED if it included uploads that they told him it did. He later tried to find the information about the data caps and had a very difficult time doing so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can't agree on this one

If they’re really worried about it, they can throttle his bandwidth. They’ve been doing that for years.
Instead, they opted for the human rights violation, per NATO.
Comcast should be fined, and his account should be reinstated at a reduced capacity. Or, he should have an alternative ISP available in his area.

Bet he doesn’t.

Aren’t monopolies great?

PMacDiggity (profile) says:

It surprises me when people think the issue is network capacity. It should be blatantly obvious by now (particularly in light of the recent discoveries in canada regarding UBB, where they are claiming it’s necessary for congestion, but even at peak usage rarely cross 30% capacity) that this has nothing at all to do with capacity, the networks have plenty of it, and they’re rolling back investment in it.

The simple facts are that they want to provide their own services over the networks and the want to lock-out competitive offerings. You will notice that they almost never (actually AFAIK completely never) count their own offerings toward caps or usage, additionally in markets where there are competitive offerings for last-mile connectivity UBB and data caps are significantly more lenient, if at all present.

Gaurav (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one

I agree on both the points, Dennis. I am not saying Comcast is god-send and the victim here, but it’s difficult for me to defend the ‘victim’ here for multiple reasons:

1. He is a techie (“worked as a Microsoft technology evangelist for XBox 360 and XBox live”). So I assume he knew pretty well about Comcast and it’s caps.

2. Comcast makes it easy for you track your usage once you have signed up/registered.

3. He is ‘audiophile’ – uploading music to clouds/backup etc in three different lossless formats. Also uploading all his pictures in ‘raw’ format. This is just few of the activities among many other. Do you think, being a ‘geek’, he did not know how big those files can be?

4. He mentioned sharing the services with roommates. Not that anything is wrong with that, but if all the roommates are as much ‘audiophile’ as he is, the usage is just going to multiply.

5. While I agree it would be the best if Comcast tells you what is hogging your bandwidth, but he pretty much knows why the usage went over 250G (see my #3 above). It’s a lame excuse to say Comcast didn’t tell me what caused it.

My solution to this problem – meter the use and charge by it. That way, you can use whatever you want, just pay for it. If I am using just 50G a month, why should I pay the same as somebody using all 250G?

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

I’ll make it super-simple: How did this guy know he exceeded 250gb before Comcast kicked him off the internet?
The guy states he still doesn’t know how he exceeded the bandwidth.
If you’re going to take Comcast’s side, care to share how people are supposed to know how much they’ve used?

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s amazing how, in the U.S., everything is going backwards thanks to the government establishment of monopolies. Netflix is getting more expensive (partly thanks to licensing fees), Android started removing features, and now ISP’s are implementing stricter data caps. In the meantime, countries are providing faster and better bandwidth for cheaper prices and (medical and other) technology is dropping in prices and advancing. Other countries innovate while the U.S. is too busy litigating.

Anonymous Coward says:


As someone who has been doing network engineering for over 30 years: you’re absolutely right.

There is no TECHNICAL reason that Comcast or Verizon or any other ISP needs to impose those caps. As you astutely observe, they don’t have any trouble delivering their *own* content far in excess of those caps…the issue only arises when it’s someone else’s.

The caps are the biggest scam in telecom. (Well, other than the 8000% markup on text messages.) Keep in mind that 250G/month is 96K/sec — or around about double what you could get out of a robust connection with a 56K modem.
That’s NOT broadband. That’s not even close. Yet at the same time that these ISPs are taking enormous government subsidies to build out broadband to consumers and at the same time that they’re busy running commercials boasting about the speed of their networks…they’re delivering crap and then kicking off someone who manages to use that paltry amount.

It’s really ironic that the country where the ARPAnet originated has some of the worst, slowest, buggy, expensive and poorly managed consumer Internet service in the world.

Trevor Brown says:

Re: Re:

Nope, 96KBIT (approx. twice the 56KBIT modem connection you referred to) is about 30GB per month. You must have fudged the 8 bits in a byte fact; that’s gotta be embarrassing for a network engineer of 30+ years…

So, actually, 250GB is equivalent in theory to roughly 9 x 56K modem connections. Of course, because of they worked, you’d never see more than 80% of the possible speed of a 56K modem in practice, so we’re actually talking about 250GB being roughly equivalent to 11 x 56K modem connections. Eleven times faster than the fastest possible dial-up speed definitely sounds like broadband to me (albeit slow broadband).

I’m on your side, but I don’t like it when people claim authority and then misrepresent the situation.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

60 sec
60 min
24 hr.
30 days
96 KB = 768 kb 1 024KB per MB, 1 024MB per GB

60 * 60 = 3600 seconds in an hour X 24 hrs =
86 400 seconds/day X 30 days =
2 592 000 seconds/mo. X 96 KB =
248 832 000KB/mo divide by 1024 =
243 000 MB/mo. divide by 1024 =

237.3 GB/mo. @ max speed all mo.

I’m no expert, but there is my work if you care to correct it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

and it has little to nothing to do with population density. Various U.S. states have differing population densities yet they all suffer from overpriced, slow bandwidth. There are countries with better bandwidth than the U.S. that have population densities that are higher than some U.S. states and lower than others, yet we still suffer worse bandwidth.

The biggest reason why everything in the U.S. is completely overpriced and the service sucks is because the U.S. government establishes monopolies on almost everything.

Gaurav (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one

He knew exactly why he was going over the limit. Uploading lots of raw images? Uploading ripped music in three different lossless formats? Netflix? Pandora?

Are you saying he did not know any of above activities would contribute to the data usage, and that they was some heavy lifting involved in it? Come one now!

And if I am warned once, I would make sure I know what counts, what does not. It’s lame excuse to say “Upload counts too? Wha??”

Anonymous Coward says:


and someone I knew who used to play full tilt poker (not for money, but just for fun) got upset that he can’t play anymore. Now he’s playing some other (free) poker game that he says is worse than Full Tilt poker. All thanks to the fact that the U.S. insists on forcing its citizens to use inferior services/products (at higher prices). The free market produces better products and services at cheaper prices, but the U.S. government insists on abolishing competition every step of the way.

Nicedoggy says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that


It isn’t possible in the USA because it is a monopoly and have zero competition going on, because apparently the French, Japanese, South Korean, British and a lot of other people all have unlimited and nobody talk about caps because it would kill any dumb ISP who implemented that crap in a competitive market.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

indeed. it only works in NZ despite the competition because absolutely everything going into and out of the country (most web traffic, who knows what else) must go through one of two cables, both of which are owned by the same company. That is where the monopoly kicks in, and it actually has very real physical limitations. thus, data caps.

which are actually mearly an assignment of Priority, not an absolute limit like the Comcast example here. once you hit the cap, your priority expires. your ISP then either puts you through the system at a lower priority than Every Other Signal that still has priority available (which is Crazy Slow at peak times and occasionally, through some screwy weirdness, briefly Faster at off peak times. not by much or for long though.) or buys the right to more priority allocation from further up the chain to assign to you. (my ISP does the latter. the bigger ones do the former, mostly.)

this is completely different from Comcast’s stupidity in this instance.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Sure, but saying one trunk of an end-to-end connection is over-supplied with capacity does not mean there aren’t bottlenecks in the connection.

If I told you there was a 30 mile long 18 lane section on Interstate 5 in Coalinga, does it mean you would have no traffic congestion driving from San Francisco to LA?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

No, there is not always a bottleneck. Many enterprise connections offer dedicated channels, with Service Level Agreements that guarantee minimum throughputs.

Motion picture studios, TV channels and networks, entertainment, Video post processing, Radio stations, Enterprises with distributed campuses, financial institutions, and many other customers buy dedicated channels with a constant throughput rate that don’t have bottlenecks.

Consumers, OTOH, buy “best effort” service over the random-path public Internet. This usually has bottlenecks.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve used arround 1tb of bandwidth for months in a row and Comcast has never bothered me about it. My buddy who is also on Comcast is constantly downloading stuff from Usenet and I’m sure his bandwidth goes over the limit but he hasn’t lost his account. I wonder what it was about this case that drew comcasts ire? Either way they do have relatively cheap “business class” accounts without the limits so if you do somehow manage to get a notice from them you can always just upgrade to one of those. Has anyone here actually received a notice from Comcast?

Nicedoggy says:

Can't agree on this one

He could be telling the truth because there is no easy apps that monitor the traffic that are well known even for techies because they never needed one unless you are a sys administrator then you probably have CACTI or something similar otherwise people never cared about.

People also forget that even if you measure things you will find that the ISP always have a different ruler, because it doesn’t match what they measure with what your measurements are, this is not like electricity or water that you have one standard device plugged to your house doing its thing and it is verified by someone, this is a voluntary system where the ISP have all the reasons in the world to cheat you and they will do it, if you believe otherwise you are naive.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

“The cap does not manage network traffic.”

I think you are wrong.

The cap DOES manage network traffic, by influencing the demand. If consumers are aware of the cap, they will restrict (on average) their uses of data. They may do it by cutting out streaming movies, less torrents, less Pandora, moving back to a local backup service, or whatever.

This will reduce the amount of capacity demand on their networks at peak times, as well as off-peak. Now you, individually, as a savvy user, could try to ‘stick it to them’ by using all your allotment during ‘busy time’, but most users will not.

I also think you are wrong when you don’t understand why they “oversell” their networks. I explain why in the last two paragraphs here:

Like them or hate them, caps are one tool that achieve the goal of managing network traffic.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Mike, you wrote “they don’t take into account the fact that more and more data and services are moving online”. That’s just dead wrong.

In fact, not only do they take that into account, that is the driving trend behind the move to manage traffic with tools like caps.

They are looking at stagnant or dropping prices (revenues) and rapidly increasing traffic on unlimited plans. That does not appeal, so they institute caps to prevent runaway capacity demand growth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can't agree on this one

Great! And that will set us all back a decade of innovation to the days of Compuserve and AOL where we pay by the hour.

Netflix, Hulu, Cloud services, etc. can all just plan to go out of business because no one is going to pay metered usage AND for those services when use of the services has a direct and dramatic effect on my metered cost.

Anonymous Coward says:

But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Once more with feeling… this isn’t managing traffic, it is going to encourage users not to use these services.

If it was managing traffic, it would reduce throughput for all users during peak periods, thereby training users to spread their traffic more effectively.

HothMonster says:

Re: But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Cable cutters thats silly no one will ever want to watch all their tv over the internet, people like broadcast TV how it is.


Holy fuck, we have got to deter people from watching all their TV on the internet. Lets put up arbitrary limits that make it more expensive to switch to Hulu and Netflix exclusively. Come back to us and watch TV, yes yes pay a 15 “tech fee” to watch HD television, MUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Deimos280 (profile) says:

prolly getting hated for saying this...

D/L hd movie = lets say “3gb*” now x 83 =249gb… he downloaded 83+ hd movies* a month, got a warning… then did it again? Yes, other countries have better/cheaper internet… and healthcare, schools ect… internet is entertainment, and americans will pay for it. Thats why it costs so much. rather than complain about “monolopys” that are not going to change, do what I do. BUY there stock! Comcast, Dish, ect., there not going away. you will pay for it. you will b**** about it… you will keep paying for it.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Well, part of managing traffic is managing demand.

You say it is going to “encourage users not to use these services.” Exactly, and that manages traffic. When London, England put a toll in place for driving in the downtown area, they encouraged people not to use those roads. That was, I believe, managing traffic.

The ISP cap may not be desired by consumers, but it lets the users choose which traffic they want to use, and which they might choose to forgo. Beets DPI, firewalls, torrent blocking, etc.

Your proposal of peak pricing is often considered, in fact, network operators love the concept because it sets prices based on the way the networks are truly capitalized and used. But it is not implemented for two reasons:
1) It is complicated for ISPs from a billing and management position.
2) The ISPs figure it will be too complicated and confusing to customers.

Lastly, “encouraging users not to use these services”. Yeah, well, use less of the high-bandwidth ones, at least. But that’s just peachy keen from the network operator’s perspective. It never was their ambition to make life rosy for Netflix.

Nathan F (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

And you think this is a good thing? Do you think a service like YouTube or Netflix would have a chance in a market with strict usage caps? But of course that ISPs in house services would be just fine.. limited choice there. You say cut out streaming movies, less music.. to me that says, cut out culture, cut out entertainment, cut out diversity, cut out choice.

Nicedoggy says:

If you call learning and making a living out of it entertainment that you are correct otherwise you miss the point of the internet.

Ignoring file sizes the most used feature of the internet is email so communications apparently is the first and foremost use of it, for personal and business purposes.

Also if people need to access the Khan Academy to learn and waste a lot of bandwidth trying to learn something is that entertainment?

theangryintern (profile) says:

Thankfully, Cox hasn’t implemented caps in my area yet. I checked my router software, which keeps track of the past few months of total bandwidth (DD-WRT firmware) and the past few months we’ve been well over 100GB a month. The highest was May which was 154GB and half way through July we’re already over 100GB. I don’t do any illegal torrenting and I don’t think my roommate does (the upload numbers seem to support this) so this is all just from online gaming, Netflix streaming, watching videos online, music streaming, web browsing and downloading Steam games (damn you Steam for having such crazy cool sales!!!) for just 2 people. We have a third roommate, but he’s so rarely at home he doesn’t really contribute to the bandwidth used all that much.

So to everyone who is scoffing saying it’s really hard to hit caps like this, just look at my example – 2 people, “normal” usage, hitting over 100GB/month easily. I was actually pretty surprised that we had gone that high. Unless you are paying attention just normal usage could get you into trouble if you have caps.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

No, I don’t think it’s a good thing. I’d rather have unlimited for free. I would like all resources to be unlimited and free.

And yes, I think services like Netflix will have additional challenges in an era of throughput caps. And I also think that ISPs that offer video content have ulterior motives in protecting their own video businesses.

Yes, caps will restrict our culture, entertainment, etc, etc.

But…since when was it Comcast’s cultural role to provide you with unlimited entertainment and culture no matter the cost? Since when is it their concern that Netflix suffers?

If we could build networks with unlimited capacity that could deliver unlimited content to your home, that would be great. But could we not also build a library next door to every home, which would increase culture as well? But it would probably be expensive to capitalize that, right, so we agree to share libraries among a greater number of people. Building unlimited capacity for Internet would also drive up the cost, and that would be passed on to us.

You can’t go from a broadcast media to a unicast media world and expect it to be free, or just rolled up into the bill you paid for email and web pages. If people want to do much, much more with the Internet, there is a real cost to pay. This will not kill culture, but yes, it will restrict it following economic rules around scarce resources.

I actually am more optimistic, too. I think what will happen is that content providers will start to be more conscious of the bandwidth their users consume, so they will offer options to scale back. Netflix actually just launched an option to reduce video resolution if the user wants. I think people will still choose to watch streaming content, and information, and culture, but will consider the cost. You know, weight the costs against the benefits, kinda like every other decision that involves scarce resources.

We don’t leave the lights on, because there is a cost. Yet we seem fully capable of using the lights when appropriate, and shutting them off when we’re not in the room, or we can make due with less light. Why can’t this new utility, the Internet, be used in the same way?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Ah, you got so close, then missed the conclusion…

You make parallels to other utilities, which is great – if the ISPs can’t get over themselves and just offer unlimited for a base fee – the conclusion here, is to offer it similar to other utilities. That is to say, $x/mb — completely made up number here, $.0005/mb (approx $125 for a month of 250gb dl)

Wouldn’t that actually make sense? Pay for what you use? Exactly the same scenario as the electric lights on/off issue?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

No, I didn’t miss that conclusion. It’s just a conclusion from a different debate.

If you want to argue that the Internet should be a regulated utility, that’s your prerogative. And an entirely reasonable, at that.

‘Regulated monopoly’ has been a long-accepted method of delivering services that have universal appeal, high infrastructure costs, and require expensive last-mile installation to most homes and businesses.

Internet could be a regulated monopoly, or it could be a competitive service. I could be happy with either, although I think that in the USA the climate trends towards privatization and deregulation. I suppose competition is more achievable, and tends to work well. Bummer that in the USA, ISP sits somewhere between the two, not quite regulated and not quite competitive.

But that’s not the debate of the day. The debate is whether, in the current business climate, caps are a sensible tool. I think they are.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Except that metered usage discourages usage, and as a society we’re better off using less water and electricity, and better off encouraging innovation on the internet (and everywhere). Discouraging data usage would strangle many new services and limit growth. So while it might make sense for a particular business, it’s bad from a public policy perspective.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

OK. But Internet, for now, is not a government service. The argument over whether policy should favor additional usage or not doesn’t really apply to Comcast’s decision to apply caps or not. As I said, they are not the public library, nor are they in business as philanthropy. They absolutely want to squeeze as much profit as possible, long-term, out of the market. That is their obligation to shareholders.

So, you would say that electric and water pricing should be progressive (price increases the more you use), and Internet should be regressive. I’d like to see electric and water rates be more flat. I don’t think punitive is fair. I run a home business with staff, so I pay very high punitive electric rates. Am I environmentally unfriendly? Well, I don’t commute, I don’t use a separate office building, I just happen to use electricity every day of the week, which ends up being more than the average home, and the punitive threshold.

As for whether Internet prices should be regressive, I agree. Capped Internet overages should cost LESS than the first GBs of the month. A volume discount, as it were. I just don’t think overages must be free (i.e. unlimited).

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

The argument over whether policy should favor additional usage or not doesn’t really apply to Comcast’s decision to apply caps or not.

Perhaps, but we don’t have to limit ourselves to that topic.

I run a home business with staff, so I pay very high punitive electric rates. Am I environmentally unfriendly? Well, I don’t commute, I don’t use a separate office building, I just happen to use electricity every day of the week, which ends up being more than the average home, and the punitive threshold.

I assume that is more than offset by the fact that you don’t need to lease or own a separate business. I don’t think it’s an important public policy goal to make sure the few people in your situation don’t pay more for power than the vast majority who don’t run a business in their homes.

As for whether Internet prices should be regressive, I agree. Capped Internet overages should cost LESS than the first GBs of the month. A volume discount, as it were.

Right on. I probably wouldn’t even be too concerned about whether I went over in that case.

Hothmonster says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

The could also offer, say, 100GB during peak time per month and unlimited during off peak. It would do a much better job of spreading the network usage through the day than just a flat cap does.

If they were really worried about lightening the load at peak times there are better strategies than what they are doing. Other utilities (well i guess just electricity, and water if you live somewhere its scarce) offer an incentive to use them during off peak times, I’m sure the isps could figure something out too if that was really their concern.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Yes, but it is complicated for them to offer peak rate pricing, and also confusing for customers to understand it.

You may agree or disagree with the above, but that is the reason it has not happened…yet.

ISPs, actually, would be happy with the time-of-day solution you propose, as it makes their capacity planning easier, and lowers their overall costs by reducing wasted capacity during slow hours. Expect to see it in the market in the future.

HothMonster says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

“You can’t go from a broadcast media to a unicast media world and expect it to be free, or just rolled up into the bill you paid for email and web pages. If people want to do much, much more with the Internet, there is a real cost to pay. This will not kill culture, but yes, it will restrict it following economic rules around scarce resources.”

its not unicast yet though, i still have to pay for both services even though there is no reason they can’t setup a broadcast network over the internet and combine everything. I still dream of the day I can pick witch networks I subscribe to then access their content at will, or even just a streaming feed if they don’t want to let me pick when i get to watch what I want (because then I would just DVR off the stream and watch when i want like I do now)

When are they going to start telling me I can only watch X amount of hours of television a month or increase my plan? HD TV taxes the network quite a bit.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Well, you got your Hermione Channel, the Samantha and Dick York Channel, not to be confused with the separate Dick Sargent Network. You have Merlin Music, although that seems to be not about the music anymore. And the psychic sports ESP Network, which comes with the package whether you like it or not. And don’t forget SNN, the Salem News Network, and of course, Oprah.

All of these networks weigh less than a duck.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

nasch is right. Competition is the only counter-force to carriers squeezing consumers more and more.

However, the fact that we have weak ISP competition in the USA doesn’t change the fact that there are real costs to provide incremental capacity to homes.

In the UK and France, for example, ISPs will sell you 6Mbps plans for very low prices. This is great. But you have a far worse chance in France getting anywhere near your promised speeds than you would in the USA, because they are way more oversubscribed. In France and the UK, they let bottlenecks in the middle mile “cap” or “manage” network traffic. They provide their customers with best effort services.

ISPs like Free need to connect to someone’s backbone fiber, or they need to strike ‘peering deals’ with Tier 2 and Tier 1 carriers to pass along their customers’ traffic. These deals are NOT unlimited, so there is a bottleneck in the information highway, whether it is caused by the ISP, or by the ISP’s ISP.

Now, I prefer the EU model with local loop unbundling and lots of competition. The competition will, eventually, offer a better result than what we have here. But it is true that the “best effort” they get from the lowest-price ISPs (overall) is inferior to what US customers see.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Not exactly: you can pay less for slower service.

Competition does offer more choice, this “Bas debit” account with is a low-download option of 15 euros for 50 hours of “up to” 28Mbps:
A good deal, but not great. I get the sense that the Techdirt commenters wouldn’t be too pleased with a 50 hour limit!!

While Free also offers unlimited fiber up to 100Mbps where available and unlimited DSL at up to 28Mbps for about 30 Euros/month.

A good chart of what’s available now in France is here:

Focus on the third column under “Degroupage Total”, which means you’ve cut off the incumbent provider. You can see that Free, SFR, and Bouygues are hovering around 30 euros in price, and the incumbent, Orange (formerly France Telecom) charges about 40euros/mo. What makes it such a great deal is that, for a pittance, they bundle in a fixed landline and TV service. Adding in TV ends up costing about 2 euros.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Not exactly: you can pay less for slower service.

But you just went on to describe a bunch of options for faster (than 6 Mbps) service. So it sounds like they have a fairly good array of cheap, but still as fast as much of what’s available in the US, up to somewhat more expensive and nice and fast. Sounds great!

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

The fiber is great, but very limited in reach.

The faster DSL, as I had said before, is limited by the capacity of the ISPs peering points with Tier 1 carriers. You can pay more, for sure, and your last mile DSL connection will be up to 28Mbps…but you may not actually get any “faster Internet”. That is not guaranteed in the ToS or SLA.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

In the same way that electrical companies metering electricity chokes demand for electricity.

We’d all love to get unlimited for free, but reality doesn’t allow it.

With energy, it takes ongoing costs to produce, so electricity isn’t exactly the same. But with bandwidth, it takes capital to set up capacity, and the OpEx to keep it working. The capital is the expensive part, though, and a capitalist system has an equilibrium where the capital is paid ‘rents’. If you want more system capacity, there will be more rent.

pahosler (profile) says:

I have exceeded my service providers cap of 150GB by more than double 2 months in a row now. They are charging me $10 per 50GB over their cap. I wish I had the original contract available, which when I signed up was unlimited data. I am not sure how they can change my contract without giving me the option to either end my current contract without penalty or switch to a plan that offers a larger cap. There is a rub here; I have the “best” plan that is available to for a residential customer in my area. There is another plan available, will call it uverse, isn’t available in my area. It’s about 100GB shy of my current usage per month anyway. I can “upgrade” to a business account that doesn’t “currently” have any limits for a much greater amount than I am paying now, even with the stupid $10 fine per 50GB. I signed up for a service that provided unlimited access that I am obliged under contract to keep for a certain amount of time, yet I no longer have unlimited access.

I was thinking about switching to comcrap before this article popped up. Interestingly enough, when I was looking into their service, there was no mention of usage caps in their terms of service. Is it possible they only set caps in certain areas/regions? I’m not sure I want to take the chance. I’m not sure about “upgrading” my current service to a business account either, the only benefit I see is having unlimited access again. But who knows for how long?

I feel like I am just a normal user except…
I currently have 6 computers and 1 TV sharing a connection. The kids play games and watch lots of YouTube, I read a lot of crap and occasionally download a TV show or movie and I play a flash game now and then, we all use facebook, twitter, etc. It is incredibly easy to exceed a 150GB cap when you have more than one user that isn’t off at work or school or where ever for more than part of the day 5 or more days a week.

Forge says:


You’ve “been doing network engineering for over 30 years”, yet you can’t tell bits from bytes? 56K modem = 44Kbits = 4.4KBYTE/s.

250GB/month = 8.33GB/day (using 30 days/month for round math)
8.33GB/day = 0.34GB/hour, 340MB per hour
340MB/hour = 14MB/minute
14MB/min = 0.236MB/second

I’m not saying that 250GB is fair, and I think it SUCKS, would never patronize Comcast with this nonsense…. But running about 230KB/s at all times, 24/7, that’s not nothing. Sure, it’s aggregate across upload and download, but it’s a lot of data. You have to bang on the pipe pretty hard to hit that with only 8-12 hours/day usage, I used 24/7/365 rates above.

Oh, and returning to the original point… 230KB/s is way more than “double what you could get out of a robust connection with a 56K modem”. Fail. Try about 54X faster than a theoretically perfect 56K connection.

freak (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one


We have two companies here, rogers and bell, that offer internet.

My landlord has my apartment with aliant, and had his other with rogers.

Had being past tense, because he cancelled on them when, for three consecutive months, they told him the apartment was over the 250GB limit that is actually a 50GB limit.
Which is quite bad, because the line had been seasonally cancelled because he hadn’t found any tenants for the apartment for that semester. The modem had been removed and stored at his house, the cable jacks were disabled because he decided to do electrical work while no one was living in the house, and the account was supposed to be, but wasn’t, seasonally shut down.

Now, if you can tell me how a house with no modem, no cable jacks and no electricity can use 250GB, (really 50GB), a month for three months, I’ll give you a cookie.
I will mail you a cookie. I’ll make vegan cherry blast cookies, and mail you one.

Turns out, if you look for complaints, this is a very common occurrence with rogers . . . with Bell, they just randomly send signals to the modem to throttle traffic down to .25/.01 mb down/up, until it’s reset. In other words, constant disconnects from any online gaming …

freak (profile) says:


I don’t know about you, but one of my internet providers up here says ‘bytes’ when their ‘you need to pay extra money’ bills say bits . . .

To be precise, above when I mention, I say 250GB that really means 50GB, but it’s 250GB that means 250Gb, or 31.25GB. They have a ‘grace amount’ of 18.75GB/mth unless you go over 3 months consecutively, which I believe is simply to obscure the fact that the advertising advertises GB and the company bills for Gb.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

See Europe? I have worked for some of those French ISPs. Heck, you probably read about the European market in something I wrote, for example this:

That IS overall much better than what we have. We need more competition badly. But that doesn’t change the fact that capacity is NOT unlimited here nor there, and as a scarce resource, greater use should incur greater cost.

The EU competitive case offers a better result, but still has problems. They are serving the same buffet as if they had caps, but without caps, yet not increasing the amount of food, and just calling it all-you-can-eat.

In the US case, they put in caps to assure that everyone can approach the speeds they are promised, where in the EU case, they offer unlimited, and users are unlikely to reach their purchased speeds in and around ‘busy time’. Our model ‘punishes’ the heavy user, and their model ‘punishes’ everyone for the heavy users.

The competition yields the much better prices.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Well, sorry, that sucks.

But not every subscriber has the same billing cycle. So if you are off for the last half of your billing month, somebody else for the last half of theirs…yep, that manages network traffic.

In a shitty way, for sure, but not doubtful in the least.

What’s more, you are likely to moderate your use in future months, and make choices about downloading large files or streaming. I’d say it has accomplished far more (of their goals) than you acknowledge.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Yes, after 8 years of this, I am likely to moderate my use in the future.

Funny thing though, the ISP has had no problems supplying the bandwidth for the first half of the month.

My billing cycle has nothing to do with the cap cycle.
Cap cycle, for everyone, is from first to first, bill cycle, for me, is on the 23rd.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Why should I avoid it?
If I don’t use it, I lose it.

If I go over by 4GB, does $6 sound like a deterrent to you?

I don’t get cut off, by going over my quota, even if it is over during 6 consecutive months.

Caps only started a year or so ago. Correction, enforcement of caps…

Before that, they said you would experience slowdowns if you went over. I never experienced a slowdown even if I went to 110GB/mo. ( I went to 90 and 110GB once each by accident in the prior 6 years. I tried to keep around my limit.)

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Why should I avoid it?

Well, when you said “All it has accomplished is that they have no traffic for the last half of the month” it sounded like you would be unable or unwilling to use your internet connection for half of the month, which to me would be something to avoid.

Now I guess you’re saying it only costs you a few extra bucks a month to over, typically.

Jay (profile) says:

But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

“part of managing traffic is managing demand.”

Exactly *how* is any of the big ISPs going to manage demand. The caps are very much vilified and you’re going to have a lot of people being kicked off for violations. Pretty soon, it’s going to be the newest wave, similar to the adjustment from dialup to broadband. This is going to frustrate customers until newer options without the caps are available.

I would consider this more like OPEC’s 70s caps on oil that brought short term profits, however in the long run, it hurt them by having the US find more oil in other areas.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

Well, telcos make some pretty bad customer relations moves. They tend to charge punitive overages, and have “sledgehammer” reactions to people hitting their limits.

But there are lots of ways they can use caps and do so much more intelligently. And these methods can be much better for the customer.

1) “Soft caps” – you can hit it and just get notified for one or two months. You only get “capped” after multiple overages.

2) “Overage throttling” – You don’t get shut off when you hit your cap, but you do get your speed throttled. The slower speed would still enable web, email, IM, and emergency services like 911 by VoIP, so say 128Kbps.

3) “Upsell” – OK, you hit your cap. Instead of blocking your traffic, we’ll offer you the chance to move up to a higher tier and keep service active. They should offer this-month-only upsells, and long-term upsells. The price should be fair (no more than the $/MB of the base plan) and not punitive.

4) “Awareness Tools” – with caps, the carriers have the responsibility to let customers know how much data they have used so far in the month. A website, email, and a widget should all be available.

You say caps are vilified, but AT&T Wireless managed to install them to mixed public reaction (“mixed” is about as good as it gets). The key is to use tools like the 4 above. ISPs should never cut people off. Make it fair, and make it non-punitive.

Jay (profile) says:


” I am not sure how they can change my contract without giving me the option to either end my current contract without penalty or switch to a plan that offers a larger cap.”

Hidden in the EULA is the detail that your contract can change at any time.

After that, if you want to sue Comcast, you probably have to do it through mandatory arbitration instead of open court.

My advice? See if you can find their older plan, look at it, and see if that’s correct. If you have the mandatory arbitration clause, be wary of trying to sue. Mandatory arbitration is heavily favored to the business and heavily biased against consumers. If you can sue in open court for false advertisement or anything relating to not your ISP not living up to their contract, it’s worth looking into.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Well, I would never advocate kicking people off. I just argue that the existence of caps are sensible. What happens when that cap is hit offers many options.

A smart carrier would just allow an upsell, or reduce speeds to 128Kbps until the next month. Kicking people off doesn’t benefit carrier or customer.

BTW, electric utilities also suck, because when you go over thresholds, they charge punitively higher rates, not discounted volume rates. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

After paying off bandwidth hogs (or Powersauger/user) 100 Euros to leave, one of Germany’s biggest ISPs, 1&1, has introduced a cap on it’s cheapest tier:

19,99 for a DSL flat and phone flat (landlines only) for two years (after that 29,99) with up to 16 Mbit speed (you get as much speed as is available where you live at).

If you hit 100 GB/month, your speed is reduced to 1 MBit.

All other tiers 24,99, 29,99 and 34,99 (50 mbit) don’t have caps… yet.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

“BTW, electric utilities also suck, because when you go over thresholds, they charge punitively higher rates, not discounted volume rates.”

I pay $1.50/GB for every GB over my 60GB limit.
60GB over is worth $90 on my $35/mo plan with a 60GB cap.

I’m only commenting now as everyone in the neighborhood is using water and I ran out of water in the shower. I’ll have to wait for everyone to finish washing hands, flushing toilet, filling pool, before I can finish my shower.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

BTW, electric utilities also suck, because when you go over thresholds, they charge punitively higher rates, not discounted volume rates.

But it would be a terrible idea to encourage people to use more electricity to get up to the cheaper tier. It’s totally appropriate to charge lower rates on lower usage and higher rates on higher usage, because of the public externalities. There are no such issues with bandwidth.

DMNTD says:

But ISPs DO Take Cloud Services Into Account

I don’t see it. You have said the same thing twice now and I am still not convinced this is not a power play bundled for cash. The part of managing demand..its wasted on me, means nothing because that is not language that’s supposed to go towards customers who want even may need a service.

Its just plain bunk and the monopolistic nature of these “businesses” proves it.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Meh. Non-sequitur.

Limiting the quantity is not limiting the quality, or the politics of it. You already have only 24hrs a day, you are already limited for quantity.

And I imagine that a 250GB cap would allow you plenty of page views at HuffPo or Breitbart’s blog…unless you filled the month with 30 movie downloads from the Twilight series and last season’s Californication.

Accusing Comcast of making people is dumb is misdirected in a country where people choose to watch driven instead of read the brightest authors.

PS: Initially, I don’t know what broadband caps the industry will average. But over time, I think you’ll see higher and higher caps because of the (small but existent) amount of competition we have and because of long-term declining costs of providing a GB.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

I think often that people confuse connection speed with bandwidth.

It’s to your advantage to have the fastest connection possible, even if you have a very low bandwidth cap, because it allows you to load the stuff you want very quickly. The bandwidth cap doesn’t relate to speed at all.

Now, if you want, I am sure that your cable company would willingly set your modem speed down for you. Let’s see… 250 gig a month, right? 8.3 gig per day, 0.345 gig per hour, 0.00576 gig per minute, or 0.000096 gigs per second… or roughly, what, a 0.1 meg per second connection? That way they could be providing you exactly the bandwidth you pay for, without any risk of going over.

Oh yeah, good look, techdirt will take a while to load.

diaskeaus (profile) says:

Evolve or die

While yes, it’s very true that all this costs money, more and more is going into the cloud. We are going to soon be all using our phones in the cloud, ordering our meals from the cloud, and replacing snail mail with the cloud (if we haven’t done so already). Families living under one roof are going to be watching television solely through the cloud, playing games solely through the cloud, doing homework solely through the cloud, and reading books solely through the cloud. We are going to be so high in the sky we will not be able to see the ground. This is coming. Ten, fifteen years at the most.

These companies must evolve or they will die. This is a model from the Prodigy-era, when people paid for internet usage by the minute, only changed a bit when DSL became instant. This model must evolve to a different model, where companies charge for service and speed, not size and amount.

Benjo (profile) says:

Can't agree on this one

It is pretty easy to run close to the 250gb monthly cap, speaking from experience.

It also limits you from using a number of services (Can’t backup my hard-drive to a cloud service)

The real problem here is that companies in the US that provide broadband internet are pretty much an oligopoly. They have very little interest in upgrading their service and don’t need to because there is no competition.

I have lived in the city of Seattle for the last 6 years and my options for high speed internet have always been: 1) Comcast, and maybe Qwest at one location. I have had Comcast for 6 years and been dissatisfied with my service the entire time with no practical options.

Benjo (profile) says:

Actually, Competition is awful for Capitolism?

Companies like Comcast completely lack innovation and don’t deserve to be profitable at all. The only people still paying for cable are the ones that got locked into subscriptions and no longer really think about it. Broadband internet service is a completely featureless service. To become an ISP takes an insane amount of start up capital.

This is the most obvious case of Anti-Trust ever. I NEED internet service for my job (Though recently I’ve found that rooted Sprint EVO 4g + usb tether actually gives decent bandwidth), and I have literally no choice but to use Comcast.

On the list of things that bother me, Broadband internet providers in the US and copyright/patent/licensing law are fighting to be #1.

hurf durf says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

In soviet north europe, ISPs put money into the service and there are no caps and the reason why we can have far faster speeds and no caps? the fact that we upgrade the network everynow and again. Mobile data is capped though. Also you can buy your internet from several different companies as they can rent the copper from the owners.

John Mulligan says:

Can't agree on this one

You sound like a paid parrot, a squawk-box for the ISP’s, repeating their gibberish, trying to control public opinion with paid-for opinions. 250 GB is a lot of data. Squawk! Squawk! Squawk! Geez, start thinking for yourself and regain your self-respect. 250 GB was plenty once upon a time; its not anymore. The future is here and ISP parrots such as yourself cannot stop it.

txpatriot (profile) says:

Re: Can't agree on this one

@Mulligan: once again, anyone who disagrees with the TechDirt company line is automatically a shill?

I have Comcast too, and I average about 6G per month. But I don’t watch a lot of video, download music, etc. I don’t claim to be typical, but I’d wager I’m closer to the average than the guy who got disconnected.

The truth is, there are MANY people who don’t come NEAR the caps. Are you gonna claim we are ALL shills for the ISPs?

You need a better argument than that . . .

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Can't agree on this one

Oh, I know what the UN has “delcared”, but that doesn’t make it so. Tomorrow they could declare the owning ponies is a human right and that everyone should be given a pony, but I don’t find that convincing.

If you couldn’t claim it on a deserted island as the last surviving specimen of the human race, it ain’t a right.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can't agree on this one

Seems like it would be just as meaningful to claim internet access as, say, freedom of assembly. I’m also not convinced it can really be called a human right or civil right. The right to connect to a specific communication network, which requires the cooperation of a private 3rd party? However, what would you call something that should be guaranteed not to be taken away without due process? I think there’s a good argument that it should be in that category, whatever that is.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Can't agree on this one

Quite right, as long as the government isn’t involved, which in this case it wasn’t. I’m not sure of the details of the UN statement, but IMO it should only apply when there is the force of law, such as the French HADOPI. When the government forces an ISP to cut someone off, that becomes a problem (if there was not due process).

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Can't agree on this one

It seems by your, last man alive on an island standard we can toss out a bunch of “human rights”

* Right to have a family
* To work for anyone
* To own property -i guess you “own” everything
* Social Security
* Safety from violence
* Protection by law
* To vote
* To seek asylum if a country treats you badly
* Health care (medical care)
* Education

list came from Wikipedia before I trimmed the ones he could keep on his island

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Can't agree on this one

Right to have a family

You still have a right to reproduce (that’s really a property right over your own body). Just because there’s no one to reproduce with doesn’t mean your rights are being violated.

To work for anyone

There was never any such right.

To own property

As you note, this right still exists.

social security

Not a right.

safety from violence / protection by law

Laws apply to people. You still have to right to be safe from violence by others. Without people, it will be quite easy to assert that right. ๐Ÿ™‚

to vote

Vote all you like. I don’t see this as a right, though; it’s merely one particular method of helping to ensure that your government does not violate your rights. A dictator can uphold rights, just as a voting public can easily violate them.

To seek asylum if a country treats you badly, health care, education

Not rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

I’m sorry to point you to the music industry, but if you like prehistoric business models, then yes you’re absolutely right.

My ISP limits me to 100GB per month, at 125M/s (theoretical). They have about 100 000 subscribers, between 5M and 125M. I assume most have 5, because of the major price difference. They will charge me 4$ per extra GB I use.

At work, we have about 10 000 subscribers, using between 10M/s and 10G/s. Most have 100M/s as it’s the standard, unless they need more speed or want to pay less. We will charge them 0.08$ per extra GB, and the base package comes with 2000GB per month.

How in the hell can the ISP still say they’re not making a profit? Ok, sure, they have a larger infrastructure to take care of, we only have about 6 buildings. But they make over 10 000% more profit than we do, using the same technology.

So less greed = better service. The end user is way happier and the company still makes quite a lot of money. So get your head out of your prehistoric ass and wake up to the 20th century (not a typo).

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

Yep. Didn’t forget.

My second paragraph above in this thread, from Jul 14th, 2011 @ 6:48pm

“And yes, I think services like Netflix will have additional challenges in an era of throughput caps. And I also think that ISPs that offer video content have ulterior motives in protecting their own video businesses.”

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

In the same way that electrical companies metering electricity chokes demand for electricity.

As you stated, here’s where things are different:

-Electrical companies are completely upfront about how much they charge per unit
-The marginal cost of electricity is much different than the marginal cost of bandwidth
-There’s a real-time meter on your house that measures the electricity used that you can look at that is required by law to be accurate.
-Everywhere that I’ve lived at least, electrical companies cannot arbitrarily raise their rates or set caps

I’m against the idea of bandwidth caps because they are poorly implemented, unfair to certain situations, the limits are unreasonable or arbitrary, and the companies have a clear conflict of interest.

I see 2 fair and reasonable options. Neither of which we are remotely close to in the US. Both of these are easily possible with current technology.

1) Real competition in the broadband market. All (or most) users have multiple choices for a provider, and those providers have different rates, policies, services.
2) Broadband as a utility, just like electricity or water. Rates in which the public has input into and reflect the reality of what it actually costs. Rates which go down over time as technology improves. Real-time accurate meters that can be independently verified.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that


You and I actually agree.

I am just debating in this forum that caps, themselves, are not evil, but in fact make economic sense.

The way they are implemented are generally punitive and over-bearing. But done correctly, there is nothing inherently wrong about capping throughput.

Competition is desperately lacking in the US ISP market, and new competitors are coming (mostly wireless, some muni fiber), but not enough and not fast enough. Telcos are blocking competition as much as they can. THIS is evil. Caps…not so much.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Future predictions

Thanks for your short posted comment to the Techdirt website as a submittal to society. Unfortunately, society does not accept it as an acceptable contribution. Please get off your couch (with which you have intercourse) and go outside. Then take your own advice and get to work scrubbing those dishes, clearing tables, and picking gum off urinal cakes.

Chargone (profile) says:


that is both nifty and sad.

that said, it still baffles me that people can USE that much :S *shrugs* i mean, i can see how it might happen if you had enough people using the thing…

(oh, and i can see it happen Easily if people decided to download console games. seriously, what the hell is going on with sony and their games from their store? i don’t care how big the game is, if it’s going to install onto my harddrive there’s no freaking way it needs to be a seven gig download! PCs use install files for a reason, this is not complex technology! their ‘free’ games ended up costing me something on the order of NZ$30 or more because of how massively downloading them threw off our data useage. still cheaper than buying the things, but i wouldn’t have bought them even at that price.)

… sorry, side rant there.

Chargone (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

New Zealand mostly has option 1, and it seems to be working quite nicely.

recent reshufflings are, slowly, somewhat, sliding it towards option 2 as well. kind of.

(‘course, water here is covered by a tax (‘rates’, based on property value, mostly, so far as i’m aware), rather than being billed on usage, while electricity is billed based on metered usage but there’s several different providers and that system’s chopped up into generation, wholesale, and retail, chunks of which are owned by various cities and the national government and private entities and the whole things a mess and God alone knows how they determine their prices. though it’s regularly stated that they’re not allowed to reduce output/raise prices in summer when demand is low to compensate for the high demand in winter (water levels in hydro dams are an issue, apparantly) which is a problem.)

Chargone (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

… this baffles me.

i mean, i know lots of people use this much data.

i even know what services are involved in using it.

i still wonder how on earth it comes about that they use that much.

if i stop and do the maths it all works out, but at the same time i’m sitting here going ‘you used How much? what the heck?!’

i have a 20gig cap that i share with 2 other people (one of whom is admittedly only here half the time and the other doesn’t use much, but still), get charged extra if i go over, (the concern here is usual price and cap, not speed, as the speeds are fairly consistant unless you pay crazy amounts for the ‘amazingly awesome!’ plan.) and almost never go over. when i do, it’s by less than two gig (data cap extentions are bought in 2gig blocks.) only exception being if i’m stupid enough to get conned into downloading a game off sony or microsoft’s networks for the consoles. whatever moron is in charge of that needs to be forcibly introduced to the concept of Compression. also INSTALL FILES. if i’m downloading it, it has to be installed on the hard drive. meaning you can compress it, send it, then run an decompress/install process. there is No Bloody Reason for it to be a seven gig download. (this cost me money i was not expecting to pay and has thus become a pet rant.)

Chargone (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

certainly could here if they weren’t careful.

though it wouldn’t be so much ‘sue’ as ‘report’ at which point they get hammered by the government.

of course, Comcast and their ilk don’t operate in New Zealand.

don’t think they could handle the competition. or the massive government regulation in place specifically to keep telecommunications monopolies under control.

Anonymous Coward says:

Caps became popular in Australia because when broadband started a lot of stupid people signed with an ISP that had a small cap when competitors had unlimited. Yes despite Telstra cable Internet being slower, less reliable, and more expensive than Optus cable, and having a 3GB monthly cap compared to Optus cable which had unlimited (with fair use), more idiots signed with Telstra. So after 2 years Optus copied Telstra because having unlimited was something that stupid people obviously didn’t want. Optus fair use was – not going 10x the average use 3 months in the row (average use was around 2.5-3GB). And they gave you the full stats each month, so it wouldn’t be a surprise. Today still despite being expensive, unreliable and slower than competitors Telstra still has more ADSL2 costumers and more cable customers than competitors. – Funny thing is though that despite being the clear market leader no IT professionals (that don’t get Telstra for free) are with Telstra for Internet – only the idiotic public are. Now we have much bigger caps – 500GB / 1TB, etc. but no actual unlimited caps.

charliebrown (profile) says:

Re: Telstra's Dominance

I think more people have gone with Telstra as a matter of convenience and going with “what is well known” (or, in Telstra’s case, “better the devil you know”) – A quick look at the forums on Whirlpool will show (amongst hardcore internet users) plenty of Telstra haters – myself, I have them for home phone but wouldn’t touch them with a forty foot pole for internet!

I mean, they are the biggest telephone provider across Australia with a wholesale virtual-monopoly on most of Australia’s phone lines and, apparently, they sometimes don’t even let competitors access their exchanges in order for them to install non-Telstra DSLAMs for ADSL2+ connectivity. Heck, do an internet search for “simon hackett telstra” to read about some of the problems he and his ISP Internode have had with them over the years.

Unfortunately, our NBN, IF it ever gets implemented across Australia, is going to be no better than what America has now, with a wholesale level monopoly: Yes, ISP’s can set their own NBN prices, but they’ll be based on the wholesale prices set by NBN Co or whoever buys it should the government sell it off (rumoured to most likely be bought by TPG).

Finally, unrelated to my points above, please show me one ISP in Australia now who does not count uploads in their ADSL2+ caps – no sarcasm, PLEASE do show me one if you can!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Telstra's Dominance

Again that was another Telstra thing. Only Telstra & OzEmail did. Now they’ve all copied Telstra since they weren’t getting any extra business from not including uploads. If you stayed on the old plans with Optus cable, you didn’t have uploads included. Only if you switched to the new plans. When I switched to 500GB (from 120GB) a few months ago I had uploads included. The one upside is that Optus cable now allow you to run servers (although it’s a crap upload speed) – I got about 20 warnings for running a server before switching (After 2 warnings each time they suspended me for 7 days – so I said “Ok I’d like to cancel my Internet, home phone, mobile and pay TV please” – then they changed their mind when they’ll lose all that. And I wasn’t suspended)

Chargone (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

bandwith IS speed. speed is determined by what percentage of the available bandwith is occupied by your task at the time.

data Quantity is not bandwith. it is a useage cap.

1gig is 1gig is 1gig. a higher bandwith is not more gigs. it means you get the entirety of that one gig Sooner.

the impose a cap on how much Data you can have total, which is arbritrary. this is not the same thing as a bandwith cap, which is a limit dictated by the maximum their hardware can cope with divided by the number of uses attempting to employ it at once.

(i’m not explaining this very well, but your argument starts from an incorrect assumption.)

your attempt to say that connection speed and bandwith are different, or that bandwith and data cap are the same, are misleading mislabellings.

Chargone (profile) says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

just so you know, northern Europe (Scandinavia and such?) cannot correctly have the term ‘soviet’ applied to it. it may or may not be accurate to call them ‘socialist’ in the more modern sense of the word, but not being run by small russian (or ex-russian-empire) local councils, nor being part of the Soviet Union (due to it no longer existing and never including Scandinavia in the first place) i’m pretty sure ‘soviet’ doesn’t apply.

well, assuming i’m remembering the definition of soviet correctly.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have my own theory about why Comcast imposed the limit, and it has nothing to do with either IP infringement or limitations on available bandwidth.

They are a cable TV company and they don’t want customers getting all their TV programming via their internet connections, foregoing the need to subscribe to their regular cable TV services. Keep in mind that they imposed these bandwidth limits a few years ago when many more TV shows and movies were not yet available on the Internet (Bitorrent, ect., notwithstanding). But they could see the trend, that of most TV programming eventually becoming available online, enough so that eventually people would be able to get most if not all of what they want to see without resorting to regular programming. So they imposed the bandwidth caps at a time when very few customers had reached that point, when very few customers would have reason to complain about it other than as a matter of principle. Now, a few years down the road, as more people start to hit the limits and complain about it, they can point to the rules and say “these restrictions are not new; they’ve been in effect for x number of years now”.

Chargone (profile) says:


that’s terrible :S

around here, speeds are measured in bits, because it’s meaningful, but data caps are always in bytes, because that’s what the data is measured in.

i get the feeling NZ has better advertising laws than the USA.
(odd fact: i’m told NZ is the only country other than the USA that allows direct to consumer advertising of medicines.)

HothMonster says:

Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

was that provided by your isp or did you have to supply it? I think the point he was raising is the ISP should supply that info to you, and allow you to look at a log so you can tell when, what and who is using the most bandwidth incase you do have to take action to lower your usage.

rooben (profile) says:

More Personal Experience

So we went over our AT&T caps (150) in June and July this year.
Now, when I signed up for the service, my contract did not include caps, so this is a significant change to the servie I signed up for.
This is what i use (3 megs DSL):
– 1-2 hours of Netflix streaming
– streaming xm radio daily (8 hours)
– 2 VPN running all day (8 hours)
– uploaded 30gb of music to Amazon Cloud
– downloaded maybe 30 songs for the kids new ipod
– used webex / logmein tools daily

– torrents, p2p, etc
– online gaming/steam etc

I’m on a closed WiFi network, and involved the telecom industry enough to be confident that there are no 3rd party users.

My fault, right? Shouldnt be watching Voyager using my dsl account? Using the Amazon cloud service?
Nobody wants to admit that right on time for cloud services, the telecoms are finding ways to increase profits.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: More Personal Experience

You are a case in point in favor of caps.

You do all that, and you don’t think you should be paying more than the average family that does email, web browsing, and facebook updates?

For example, you listen to XM for 8 hours a day! This is a signal that is sent from a satellite, 22,000 miles overhead to cover the entire USA in order to achieve scalable distribution. Yet, you choose to receive it in a separate, low-efficiency, unicast stream. That’s wonton disrespect of a shared resource. I understand that this is a good way to listen to XM indoors, but YOU gotta pay the price for your choices.

You seem to think that ‘no torrents or P2P’ means that you are one of the good guys. But the whole problem with non-neutral networks is that they assume that some things are “bad” like P2P, and other things are “good” like email. But the reality is, there is no good or bad. It’s all just bits, and we the users should decide which we choose to send. A carrier that does DPI or filters torrents is meddling with my freedom to choose whatever content or sources I wish. So, that leaves the carrier the cap option, which is blind to what you do, but just cares about the quantity.

If you’re online at home EVERY DAY for 8 hours or more, and you’re doing WebEx/Logmein daily, well then it sounds like you are not the average home user. That sounds a lot more like a business user. It sounds like you, like me, work from a home office. So don’t come on here acting like a *consumer* who’s been done wrong. You are expecting business-level service at consumer-grade prices.

When you signed up for service, your contract did not include caps. So this is a significant change. When you signed up for service, you probably also did not stream music 8 hours a day, nor use cloud service, nor stream Netflix. So that is also a significant change. Yet you don’t think the price should be different?

Lastly, EVERYBODY “admits that right on time for cloud services”, the telecom pricing models are changing. Absolutely. People are raising their consumption exponentially. Prices/caps are changing in response to cloud and streaming media. The ISPs are scared @#$less of runaway bandwidth demand. Why wouldn’t they react?

rooben (profile) says:

Re: Re: More Personal Experience

You seem to think that there is some kind of giant netowkr congestion issue about to happen…boy they have you fooled.

I work in the industry. For a major telecom. In networking. Our engineers are more worried about IP address exhaustion, rather than bandwidth utilization. That battle was fought, and is paid for with your current rates. They already raised prices to pay for the extra fiber, routers, and general network buildout.

You seem to think that bandwidth is a limited resource, and using it somehow consumes something. Maybe, over time, the little electrical pulses can burn a router out, but as long as there is no congestion on the network, guess what – theres no limitation on the resource! Now, if you are someone experiencing slowdowns because others use up the limited amount of bandwidth that your ISP can offer at any given time, then I would fault the ISP for not building/buying enough infrastructure.

The big telecoms, the only ones who are looking at this, already have enough bandwidth in their networks to support as much bandwidth at the subscribers can use at the bandwith rates they pay for. These companies have already invested to move all TV, Phone, and Internet data onto their IP network, which is far cheaper to maintain and upgrade than the old switched and analog tv networks. Their prices are going down, per byte.

rooben (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More Personal Experience

One more thing – if they are so scared, besides ADDING their OWN cloud services to their portfolios, they are also offering LIMITLESS use of their network, if you are using their services (PPV, VOD, etc). They get profit in it, all of a sudden there is plenty of bandwidth…again, they already have paid for and installed the equipment to support cloud/streaming services. They are not saying OMG amazon lets you stream oh craaaaaaap! They knew this was coming years ago. Why do you think Verizon FiOS can offer 100mb service? Do you think they didnt prepare for people to use it? Or ATT U-Verse being all IP will bust their network up?

Finally, when i signed up, yes, i did stream. This cloud stuff isnt new, just new to you.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 More Personal Experience

“This cloud stuff isnt new, just new to you.”

Nice try. But the question is WHEN was it “new” to me? Was it back when I Chaired, moderated, and presented around “Cloud” in 2010:

…or when I organized this event for the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley in 2009:

..or when I made techdirt comments about it in Jan 2009?

…or do you think it is when I wrote this Techdirt post about it in 2007 (see para 2):

…or was it when I worked at the Javasoft division at Sun Microsystems in 1997, and we were working on the JavaStation thin client computer under McNeely’s mantra “the network is the computer”.

At least I don’t kid myself. None of that was entirely new anyway. Client/server could be considered cloud, and plenty of other “cloud like” tech pre-dates the 90’s and thus my career. Processing power, storage, etc have all swung like a pendulum back and forth between the edge and the core through different eras of technology. But sure, if it makes you feel better, consider yourself way ahead of the curve.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More Personal Experience

“You seem to think that bandwidth is a limited resource, and using it somehow consumes something.”

Not so much that. If you kept consuming data at the same rate you consumed it in 2005, there would be no capacity issue. New users would come on to the net, and existing fees would handle that slow, linear growth.

However, what IS happening is that joe shmoe users, who in 2005 were consuming a gig or two a month, are now consuming 14 gigs or more. This requires serious network expansion, and that, my friend, requires capital, i.e. money.

If, as you say, I am fooled, and bandwidth utilization is a moot issue, then why are the telcos investing billions in new networks, like FiOS or that uVerse stuff? They are investing BILLIONS!! New entrants are investing BILLIONS. And the public complains that they are not investing fast enough. When an incumbent doesn’t invest enough, municipalities invests in a fiber ring. Does that sound like an industry that has no capacity constraints? Your position is ludicrous.

Maybe you are mislead because this country had plenty of dark fiber at the turn of the century, and that has created the illusion that there is lots of excess capacity. OK, at the core there was dark fiber. That has mostly been lit, and the problem isn’t at the core anyway, it’s last mile and middle mile.

Yes, sir. “Their prices are going down, per byte.” But the amount of bytes is increasing at a rate that outpaces the savings. Cisco’s historically accurate VNI forecast says that by 2015, total Internet traffic will be 4x 2010 traffic.

In 2009, the average High speed Internet user consumed 11.4GB per month. And video was 4.3GB of that.

By 2010, that number had climbed to 14.9GB. And busy hour traffic was up 41%. What industry can provide 41% more of what they provide, year over year, and not need to invest in additional capacity?

Additional capacity investment = additional capital = additional economic rent required. Therefore, prices climb.

“Boy have they got me fooled?” Please. You’re in engineering in telecom. Don’t assume that makes you savvy in capital markets, economics, or business. You see capacity where you work because the capital has/is being spent. Then we gotta pay the bill.

rooben (profile) says:

When did i say i was ahead of the curve? I made no claim. What I know is that it is NOT new, just new marketing terms. I never said that there is no need for investment either. What I said is that this network is cheaper than the old ones, and we actively move ONTO the cheaper data network. Video over IP is by choice, because it is cheaper.

Yes, usage is going up, thanks for posting those stats. Cost is also going down, and will also do so expotentially, as new technologies are developed and implemented.

Dark fiber has nothing to do with this. Real, live telecom networks have been built to excess capacity, and continue to be be built ahead of the curve. Charging $10 to heavy users will not pay for capacity – thats just extra revenue. The price you pay today, already includes the cost to continue expansion.

Last mile is a bottleneck due to technology constraints, not network congestion. My piddly usage at 3mbps impacts nobody. 150gb is a drop ina very large bucket, and pretending that caps are intended to slow usage down, is what is ludicrous and untenable. It is simply to find additional revenue.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Video over IP is by choice, because it is cheaper.”

Video over IP is orders of magnitude more expensive than broadcast video. It is done by the telcos not because it’s cheaper, but because it is new potential revenue, and they don’t have broadcast resources available to them.

“new technologies are developed and implemented.” “networks have been built to excess capacity”

Right. For example the fiber in FiOS and uVerse that we have both been discussing. So who do you think pays for this implementation? They put it the ground, spend the capital, and then they expect economic rents on the investment. You can’t just say “that investment is already made, so now broadband is free”.

And which of us should pay? Well, given that…

“The top 1 percent of broadband connections is responsible for more than 20 percent of total Internet traffic. The top 10 percent of connections is responsible for over 60 percent of broadband Internet traffic, worldwide.” [cisco vni]

…I propose that it’s fair that the heavier users should shoulder an heavier share of the economic rents that we pay to our ISPs.

Hell Atlantic says:

This guy is a pirate

let’s make this clear, him saying he’s only bittorrenting a little show from UK is like a drunk guy telling the officer “i’ve only had a few drinks”. if someone is admitting to doing a little of a bad thing that probably means they’re doing a lot. a 12TB server in his basement? he’s a massive pirate, the kind that the authorities go after. 1TB, while it probably seems like a paltry amount these days, is still quite a bit of movies. and he insists on backing up his large file lossless music collection online – anyone who knows about FLAC and 12TB RAID servers also knows whether uploading counts towards his monthly usage. you can fault the cable companies for not having a “power user” tier, but lets not pretend this guy is an innocent lamb. with 12TB in a backup server i don’t see why he has to upload anything to a cloud. of course if you’re using that 12TB to house thousands of movies you bittorrented you might not have any room. this guy knew completely what he was doing. and after the first warning he should’ve been looking for ways to get around the cap (like opening up a 2nd internet acct/pay for another modem) or at least ask questions (like “does my uploading also affect my usage cap?”). friggin liar.

brian says:

Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

This is the stupidest thing I have ever read. When I bought my broadband it was advertised as ‘Unlimited’. There was no cap in the contract I signed or the TOS. Later they decided to add a cap and not tell anyone.

Why is it okay for them to advertise a service as unlimited, and then change it without telling you? That means they should not advertise it as unlimited, because it’s not…

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