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
    Steven (profile), 14 Jul 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Re: 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.

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