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), 14 Jul 2011 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Mike, how DO you reconcile your demands that

    No, I don't think it's a good thing. I'd rather have unlimited for free. I would like all resources to be unlimited and free.

    And yes, I think services like Netflix will have additional challenges in an era of throughput caps. And I also think that ISPs that offer video content have ulterior motives in protecting their own video businesses.

    Yes, caps will restrict our culture, entertainment, etc, etc.

    But...since when was it Comcast's cultural role to provide you with unlimited entertainment and culture no matter the cost? Since when is it their concern that Netflix suffers?

    If we could build networks with unlimited capacity that could deliver unlimited content to your home, that would be great. But could we not also build a library next door to every home, which would increase culture as well? But it would probably be expensive to capitalize that, right, so we agree to share libraries among a greater number of people. Building unlimited capacity for Internet would also drive up the cost, and that would be passed on to us.

    You can't go from a broadcast media to a unicast media world and expect it to be free, or just rolled up into the bill you paid for email and web pages. If people want to do much, much more with the Internet, there is a real cost to pay. This will not kill culture, but yes, it will restrict it following economic rules around scarce resources.

    I actually am more optimistic, too. I think what will happen is that content providers will start to be more conscious of the bandwidth their users consume, so they will offer options to scale back. Netflix actually just launched an option to reduce video resolution if the user wants. I think people will still choose to watch streaming content, and information, and culture, but will consider the cost. You know, weight the costs against the benefits, kinda like every other decision that involves scarce resources.

    We don't leave the lights on, because there is a cost. Yet we seem fully capable of using the lights when appropriate, and shutting them off when we're not in the room, or we can make due with less light. Why can't this new utility, the Internet, be used in the same way?

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