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.

Filed Under: broadband cap, cloud
Companies: comcast

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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 15 Jul 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: 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.

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