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. identicon
    Colonel Panic, 14 Jul 2011 @ 4:02pm

    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.

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