Broadband

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
broadband cap, cloud

Companies:
comcast



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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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 15 Jul 2011 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: 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.

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