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.