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), 25 Jul 2011 @ 3:54pm

    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.
    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Cisco-Average-Connection-Consumes-114-GB-Per-Month-105086

    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?
    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/Cisco_VNI_Usage_W P.html

    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.

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