Comcast's Download Cap Is 200 GB, But Only In Areas With Subpar Networks

Comcast’s download limit is 200 gigabytes, but the limit isn’t everywhere, a former Comcast employee told The Consumerist. Places where the network isn’t optimal, due to old hardware or too much traffic, like the Bay Area, will run into the limit. Places like Philadelphia will never run into the problem.

Comcast even has a system ready to go where if you exceed the limit a popup will ask you to purchase additional gigabytes, our source says. The graphical user interface is completely designed and everything, but Comcast hasn’t deployed it, because they’re waiting for either another ISP to do it first, or to figure out how to do it without angering their customers, whichever comes first.

CEO Brian Roberts is said to have seen a demo and given his thumbs up.

RELATED: Comcast Customer Uses “Unlimited Service” Excessively, Gets Disconnected For A Year
(Photo: cmorran123)

Comments

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  1. mantari says:

    DO NOT WANT!

  2. HeyThereKiller says:

    Wow!

    So apparently allowing Comcast to rape your skyline and force you into providing them with tax abatements will get your citizens all of the actually unlimited mediocre internet you can dream of.

    Congrats Philadelphia!! You’re Comcastic!!

  3. emax4 says:

    At least it’s better than them disconnecting you when you’ve reached their limit without you knowing what that limit is.

    I was going to try and program a bandwidth monitor that shows you how much data has been downloaded, but thankfully there are shareware and freeware programs out there for both Mac and PC that perform this.

  4. IphtashuFitz says:

    I wonder if it would be possible for Comcast users to determine if they’re in an area “where the network isn’t optimal” so they could determine if they’re possibly affected by this cap. Has anybody tried keeping track of locations where people have been terminated by Comcast for violating this cap?

  5. cynon says:

    Great, so we’ll eventually get to pay by the byte. Ass holes.

    Oh, and BTW, is there a tech support email for the Consumerist? This whole dual login stuff is a problem, and I can’t find an email addy to get some help.

  6. crnk says:

    ….while I’m generally against limits on unlimited services, this cap does seem fairly high compared to reasonable use. Who does this really affect? the top .1% of users? 1%? And it does sound like there is somewhat of a legitimate link between how much the network can handle and the limit they put on accounts.

  7. @IphtashuFitz:

    Yeah. There’s a real easy way to tell you’re in a place where Comcast’s network isn’t optimal. You’re in a place and you have Comcast.

  8. slungsolow says:

    I’m sure that, like everything else Comcast does, it will only be supported in a windows operating system and if you are using Internet Explorer on top of it.

    @emax4: Yes, there is a wonderful dashboard widget for OS X that will tell you how much bandwidth you’ve run through within a given time frame (at least in regards of when you last reset the counter). It’s helpful, but I really wish I knew 100% that 200GB is the true cap, and if I live in an area where it is monitored.

  9. bravo369 says:

    I have comcast and i doubt that I am ever near 200gb but I just hate that comcast does this. You provide a service, have people pay for it, and then punish them for using the product/service. I would think that if anyone actually wanted to sue comcast, the first question asked in court would be what the limit is that was exceeded and how come it’s not posted.

  10. kylere says:

    PLEASE, please, please! Can ANYONE offer decent net service in Flint, Michigan besides Comcast (do not say DSL, I tried to get Yahoo/SBC now ATT to work for 4 months and they could not figure out why it did not). Exclusive access rights to handle cable or DSL services for an area in return for payoffs to local officials and funds should be illegal.

    The only reason I use Comcast is lack of competition.

  11. ry81984 says:

    Comcast should provide their customers with free bandwidth monitoring software that can track real-time traffic and sync with their tracking servers to eliminate any lan inbound and outbound traffic from being counted.

    Even if they do not deactive people yet, users can use the program and start understanding if they are heavy users.

    Also, they can have the program disable your connection before Comcast does, so you will never reach the comcast limit.

    Purdue University has a great program that does all of what I just said.

    More info can be found here: [my.resnet.purdue.edu]

    Comcast could learn something from Purdue.

  12. Buran says:

    @kylere: Try switching to another DSL provider. But not Speakeasy. You do NOT want DSL from Best Buy!

  13. Buran says:

    @cynon: I don’t know why the tech support address isn’t posted either but Meg forwarded an email asking for help with the comments to the support dept — you could also try emailing webmaster@ on any site where you have a problem since that’s the standard contact address for sites’ webmasters.

  14. Buran says:

    @HeyThereKiller: … 400 murders so far this year … no thanks. And I thought St. Louis was bad!

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    If they advertise “unlimited, fast…” they should deliver. The End.

  16. Montaigne says:

    R: 0.937 U: 645.28 GB ( 0 ) D: 688.78 GB ( 0 )

    My ratio from one site I use over 2 years. Note: This is one site. I am so screwed!

  17. pete says:

    Wait, so the people who are in these sub-optimal areas and have download caps are paying the same per month as people who don’t?
    I smell a class action a-brewin’…

  18. timmus says:

    Our providers in our county are Embarq and Windstream. With all the stories I’m hearing I’m glad Comcast hasn’t stuck their festering schlong into our market.

  19. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Places where the network isn’t optimal, due to old hardware or too much traffic..

    Yes, proof that cable companies are overselling their broadband service. At least they’re admitting a problem and defining an actual limit.

    For most people, I think this is a non-issue. The 200GB limit will mainly affect those people that are running torrents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Go ahead and install a freeware version of a bandwidth meter and see how much data you’re downloading every month. Most likely you won’t even come close to 200GB.

  20. cynon says:

    @Buran: Thanks!

  21. cynon says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat:
    I call BS on that. Not that I think you’re wrong — I really don’t think most people are D/Ling at those high rates. But ComCrap must have a less public cap they’re aiming for otherwise they wouldn’t be using illegal tech to throttle people’s connections.

  22. pr0gr4mm3r says:

    Although 200gb is a limit, it is pretty high. Comcast provides this service to us for residential usage – which should be well below 200gb /mo. If you are using more than that, chances are you are running a file download site from your house’s connection, etc.

    In the high traffic areas, Comcast has to even out the usage across it’s users or Sally won’t be able to check her email because Bob is seeding 80000 torrents. It’s either this or implement QoS in their networks which would create a larger uproar.

  23. cjc84cjc says:

    I was shut off a little over a week ago after having them call me from their abuse department. Called up and was told we transfered 460GB in one month.

    Two major portions of that bandwith usage are legal uses. I signed up for Vongo and was downloading a bunch of movies to my computer. I also have been a long time subscriber to Napster and downloaded lots of songs from them during that month.

    Does anyone know any postal addresses and email addresses I can send letters too. I will write anyone at Comcast and complain. Whats the best way to go about this?

    Vongo is something they advertise a lot on the cable channels “umlimited movies for $10 a month”… forgot to mention your ISP -might- not allow you to get a lot of movies.

  24. scooby2 says:

    The majority of people using > 200gb are not using it for legit purposes. I am not saying there are not legit uses, just that the majority are not legit.

  25. guevera says:

    Scooby2: it’s not comcast’s business if I’m using it for legit purposes or not.

    They’ve got no business inspecting my packets (unconstitutional communication dragnets are the nsa’s thing, and they hate competition)and as far as I’m concerned the company’s only legit beef is if a customer is using a residential account primarily for business.

    While the TOS may prohibit criminal activity, they can’t actually find about any criminal activity without illegally monitoring customer traffic — in which case people at the company should be the first ones locked up.

    Also: occurs to me that were comcast to actually cop to inspecting traffic they could lose their safe harbor protections under (i think) the communications decency act (or maybe it was DMCA). That would be a real bummer for ‘em — suddenly liable for any libel that travels across the network. Any legal types know if that would hold up in court?

  26. jvdualhead says:

    I recently received a “Excessive Network Usage” warning from Qwest (Phoenix). They hijacked my browser until I ack-ed an online form. It took me several calls to find out what threshold I had violated.
    Short version: They want me to drop my average monthly usage from 600 GB down to 420 GB (~30%).
    When I complained, Qwest said that this has always been their policy, but now they are starting to enforce it. I could not verify this as Qwest’s online Subscriber Agreement was updated on Aug 29, 2007.
    My wife has agreed to cut down on her collecting of Swedish Erotica.

  27. pkchukiss says:

    @jvdualhead:

    600 GB in one month? That’s an awful lot of videos you have there! How many hardisks do you buy in one month?