Comcast Threatens You With Termination Because You Use Too Much Internet

Dave Winer uses a lot of internet. Too much, it seems, for Comcast’s tastes. They shut his connection down because he was clogging up the pipes.


I was quickly connected to a man who told me I had been deliberately disconnected because they had tried to call me and I didn’t pick up. The number they called was my Blackberry, which I disconnected a couple of months ago because I never use it, I much prefer the iPhone. Then he threatened me. He told me I was in the top 1/10th of 1 percent of all their Internet users and that if I didn’t immediately stop using so much bandwidth they would suspend my service for 12 months. I asked if I could get this in writing, he said no. I asked how much bandwidth would be acceptable, he wouldn’t say. I told him this wasn’t much of a threat if they weren’t willing to put it in writing, and I wasn’t intimidated. I also told him I was a blogger and would be writing it up. He didn’t care.

We find the manner in which Comcast terminated Dave’s service and then refused to put their complaint in writing unacceptable.

In happier news, Dave sent a direct message to ComcastCares on Twitter, an account that is staffed by a very nice man named Frank who genuinely does seem to care about things. In fact, he recently apologized to me for an extremely ancient incident I had with Comcast back when I lived in (Sweet Home) Chicago (in which the term “fuckwiched” was born.)

We’re not sure how scalable Frank’s caring is, but its an interesting idea, and it seems to have helped mitigate Dave’s anger towards Comcast if nothing else.

A new reason to hate Comcast [Scripting News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    Wasn’t this on South Park last night?

  2. Shappie says:

    Thats exactly what I was thinking!!

  3. coan_net says:

    I hate internet providers when they sell you an unlimited package, then complain when you use too much…. but will not tell you how much is too much.

    I do a lot of bittorrent stuff – but I stick with places like DIME & eTree – places where you share LIVE shows….. music that IS LEGAL. (anything you can buy somewhere is not allowed on the sites)

    I got a call like that once… but it bugs the HECK out of me that they won’t tell me what the limit is with unlimited…. since it is easy enough to limit the speed of my bittorrent program.

    I do now limit it (the upload speed) since I’ve heard that they mostly care about amount of upload, not the amount of download…. but the amount is just a total guess…..

    Why can’t they just tell the user what the limit is in unlimited?

  4. Dobernala says:

    @coan_net: I don’t believe any major ISP actually calls their packages unlimited (definitely not Comcast). AOL did that a long time ago and got sued when they couldn’t provide it.

    • DANElewis says:

      They did back when i had them yet that was over a year ago. I can recall the phrase “Unlimited phone and internet” tossed in most of their adds.

      The most upsetting thing is that internet was the only thing i had that almost never had a problem, the DVR would destroy the sound on my programs and movie channels (which i had less of for an additional fee compared to Time Warnner) and the phone was unbearably poor in it quality in some rooms of my house.

  5. hejustlaughs says:

    This is why I got rid of my Comcast cable and internet. Customer service was horrible and the cable internet was so ghetto in my area it would go off when it rained.

    …and I thought it was only my house. Tons of other people in my area/city have the same problem also.

  6. backbroken says:

    By definition, there will always be someone within the top 1/10th of 1 percent. Will they perpetually shut those folks off until the top 1/10th of 1 percent is using less than 1 GB per month?

  7. bravo369 says:

    I think it’s reprehensable that they advertise unlimited service or quality of service and then complain when you actually take them up on their offer. I do believe though that they changed their TOS a year or 2 ago last time this was blogged about. I do think that they should either publish what is too much or at least tell the person how much he uploaded/downloaded. He can at least deduce from that. To do what comcast is doing is equavalent to spanking a kid but not telling him what he did wrong. How is he supposed to fix it or not do it again if he doesn’t even knwo what he did.

  8. Nealjs says:

    Well, the internet is a series of tubes, after all.

  9. SRSco says:

    Somebody on Digg already bereated this Dave Winer (apt name…get it? Whiner?) earlier today for being a douchebag blogger.

    Comcast is clearly in the wrong here… but do you have to be such a typical blogger douche bag about it?

    “I also told him I was a blogger and would be writing it up. He didn’t care.”

    Damn right he didn’t care. Normal people really don’t care about bloggers, all they do is complain and whine about stuff and act like their opinion matters more just because they put it online and have their friends comment on it.

    “Honestly, I think Comcast should give me my service for free…”

    You have to be joking? You? The person who is in the top 1/10th of the top 1 percent of bandwidth users? You should be given free service?! Sure… while you’re at it, why not have AT&T give you free service on your iPhone too. I mean… you clearly deserve it.

    “figured out why I use so much more bandwidth than the average Internet user. I have five computers, all Macs, all sucking down FlickrFan pictures once an hour. That adds up to quite a few gigs.”

    A few gigs download per day is more than average usage. A blogger as smart as you should know that if you want to download several gigs per day you should get a higher bandwidth package. I’m all for downloading a lot, but seriously… you can’t expect Comcast to be able to handle a situation where all of their customers decide to download 300GB per month. Which, if everyone was like you (ie, normal/average), would be the case and Comcast’s network and service would crash.

    “I’ve now spent all of today working for Comcast. Should I send them a bill?”

    No, you shouldn’t. Although I’m sure you are already hard at work creating one to send them. The annoying blogger inside you can’t resist the chance to ‘zing’ Comcast one more time, and in the process create a new story to add to your blog to drag out the short lived digg-fame. Add it to the list, along with you ‘$3 Million Comcast Bill” story.

    I’m totally with you in the complaint to Comcast… if a user wants to take full advantage of the service they pay for, they should be entitled to it. But, tech savy people such as yourself need to understand that Comcast can’t sit idly by while you test your bandwidth limits and download 300-600GB per month for a whole year. I mean, honestly, you and I both know that is WAAAAYYYY above normal usage. So cut Comcast some slack, they are just following standard procedure… you disconnected your Blackberry number (the number tied to your account), you didn’t give them your iPhone number, they attempted to contact you about your usage, they had no alternative other than to turn off your service. You can’t expect them to just give up in a situation like that. And yeah, the man you spoke to on the phone probably should have been a bit nicer, or explained the situation better, but can you really blame him? He probably hates his job more than you hate Comcast. I’m rooting for you to get this all worked out, because I honestly do believe you should be allowed to use the bandwidth you pay for, and if they are unwilling to give you a limit, then the sky is the limit. But I just hate to see problems like this get blown WAY out of proportion with whining and complaining that really does nothing to help solve the problem, it just fuels the fire of hatred for a company… which makes for interesting stories, and is guaranteed a lot of diggs.

  10. @backbroken: Yeah, that’s my favorite part too. Someone needs some remedial math.

  11. johnva says:

    @backbroken: Yes, this is a great point. The percentage they throw out is meaningless if they won’t tell how much bandwidth it actually is.

  12. bohemian says:

    This is why cable tv & broadband need to be regulated by state PUCs like electricity and phone.

  13. B says:

    @backbroken: Only when enough of the other 99 and 9/10 percent of the people complain about their internet being slow.

  14. Aladdyn says:

    Reminds me of when people say things like “We need to bring all school test scores up above the average”

  15. Juggernaut says:

    She told me I was in the top 1/10th of 1 percent of all her users and that if I didn’t immediately stop using her so much she would suspend me for 12 months. I asked if I could get this in writing, she said no. I asked how much would be acceptable, she wouldn’t say. I told her this wasn’t much of a threat if she weren’t willing to put it in writing, and I wasn’t intimidated.

  16. Pylon83 says:

    First off, the reason they shut him off was to get him to call in. We used to do it at the cable company I worked for if customers didn’t have a working number or refused to return phone calls. Clearly they were giving him a warning to cut it out. We used to do the same. With the place I worked, it was 3 warnings and then we just chose not to offer you service anymore.

    No. Government regulation of a service that is not essential is inappropriate. No one has to have internet. It is a luxury service, just like cable television. The government needs to stay out of private business and let the market work these things out. It may take a little longer for the market to react and correct for this, but it’s better than allowing Congress, who knows little or nothing about technology (“The internet is a series of tubes?”) to step in and tell the experts what to do.

  17. @bohemian: you think it’s bad getting cut off, any time to govt touches something it gets even more bloated and the service level drops overall.. but of course it does bring the bottom up a bit so YAY.

    i’ll pass, the only thing that needs to happen is cheap, fast, robust wifi that can penetrate my walls and my skull so i can ditch the physical tether except to power my system.

  18. Hambriq says:

    I… I love you, SRSco.

    You said everything that I was thinking but couldn’t put to words.

  19. coan_net says:

    @SRSco: I for one would understand if Comcast had a limit and someone went over it too much it would be subject to termination.

    The problem is that Comcast list NO limit.

    So how is the user suppose to stay within their limits if they are unwilling to tell us what those limits are?

    Imagen if the cops & roads had speed limits, but they would not post signs or tell you what the limit is.

    The cops will just come along and stop you when you are going to fast, give you a ticket, but won’t tell you what is too fast or what the limit is.

    This is the same thing.

  20. renilyn says:

    Makes you wonder if “Frank” is the Comcast “Jessica”

  21. Erwos says:

    @coan_net: The difference here is that Comcast is a private organization. They can do whatever they want.

  22. Thia is the one situation where Consumerist’s usage of “You” works because I imagine all persons here who use Comcast use their “unlimited” connection for what it’s actually meant for: Every bit of bandwidth available.

  23. johnva says:

    @Erwos: Yes, they can. And as private individuals we can use their service to slam them for it. The question is not whether or not they can legally do this (though that may be a question – private organizations cannot just do ANYTHING just because they are private). The question is whether not disclosing bandwidth limits is a customer-unfriendly practice. And the answer to that is that it is absolutely customer unfriendly.

  24. elf6c says:

    “tubes” not “pipes”. It’s a series of tubes is the meme you’re looking for.

    The “I am blogger” thing was unintentionally hilarious, I hope they disconnected him for that alone.

  25. stacye says:

    Not everything is mentioned in this story. I learned more from his “Podcast” on his web site.

    1. He was using 450 GB/Month.
    2. He has Comcast AND AT&T. He stopped using his AT&T DSL because it was too slow. He claims that AT&T never contacted him about his usage before, but then he admits that AT&T is noticeably slower. He probably wasn’t using nearly as much as he was on his Comcast account.
    3. He is downloading high res FlickR Fan photos, and uploading them to his co-located server. This is clearly not a personal usage issue.
    4. On his blog he asks: “What’s the big issue with bandwidth anyway? Does a company like Comcast pay their ISP for bandwidth? Do they even have an ISP?” The answer is YES. They do. Every internet provider has a backbone provider that they must pay for internet service. Bandwidth is NOT FREE. The price has come down, but it’s still pretty pricey.

    I do agree that Comcast should have made another effort to contact him via email, or snail mail, but this guys is clearly in the wrong here.

  26. failurate says:

    @coan_net: They actually do this, the ticket is usually called “Too Fast For Conditions”.

    People need to quit being so selfish. Yeah, you pay for a service, but you share that service with other people. Quit hogging.

  27. stacye says:

    Oh, and he thinks he should get his internet service for free.

  28. redwall_hp says:

    Until recently, Comcast called one of their plans Unlimited. They were recently hit with a class-action lawsuit that changed it though.

  29. Gorky says:


    Technically you dont NEED electricity either unless you have some kind of medical device that requires it. You could use candles and not watch TV or use a PC. So using your logic electric companies shouldnt be regulated either.

  30. gqcarrick says:

    This is pretty typical with comcast. I worked for Time Warner/Adelphia and we never shut anyone down unless they got caught by the RIAA or they had a virus.

  31. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @coan_net: The “limits” are in the fine print of his contract that he hasn’t bothered to read. I guarantee it.

    It says “unlimited” but that means if you’re a regular user. Not a geekdified blogger who’s using FIVE COMPUTERS at once.

    I get it – don’t call it ‘unlimited’ if it really isn’t. But ‘as much as we can stand to give out for one price except to the people who abuse it’ doesn’t really have as nice of a ring as ‘unlimited’ does.

  32. adamcz says:


    What gave you the impression that distrubting live shows is legal? If you don’t own the copyright, it most certainly is not.

  33. jeff303 says:

    Those of you saying, “don’t call it unlimited if it really isn’t,” I agree with you. If, however, you have even the slightest bit of technical knowledge (or knowledge of the physical limits of the universe) you should realize that unlimited internet is in fact impossible. But I agree for the sake of others, the term should be changed.

  34. ratnerstar says:

    I hate Comcast, hate unspecified bandwidth limits, and hate rude customer service representatives. So why do I find this guy so f’ing irritating? Can we institute some sort of national “No Bandwidth For Douchebags” rule?

  35. balthisar says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: The fine print of *my* Comcast contract only imposes limits on newsgroups.

    There’s language about affecting their network, and using resources, blah blah blah, but that’s not a limit by any definition, as it’s not measurable by the end user. Think of it this way: what if I just convince everyone (all my neighbors) on the same trunk to continuously download all day, every day? Clearly our speed will collectively suffer, but then who’s in the top 1/10 of 1% if we’re all downloading gigs? This isn’t an unthinkable scenario with the move to IP-everything, either.

  36. larry_y says:

    You do realize Dave Winer is a pretty big blogger. Yeah that was cheezy of him to say that, but according to Technorati he’s ranked 509.

    He’s ubergeek, and probably should be paying for a more professional connection (and probably be able to justify it as a business expense).

  37. burgundyyears says:

    @stacye: The issue is more local network congestion I imagine, especially for cable modems, rather than the internet routing costs, which really aren’t all that expensive.

    450GB/month is a ton of data though for a “personal” user.

  38. coan_net says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Where in the fine print is the limits listed? I now have Comcast (after they took over from my previous Insight), and my Insight was unlimited – but Comcase has never given me an updated contract or anything which list any sort of limits.

    And if you say it is in the contract fine print, then why won’t Comcast tell anyone what those limits are?

  39. chrisaroz says:

    Well said SRSco,

    I may be mistaken, but doesn’t he run his personal business out of his house? Yeah, it sucks that he got shut down, but it seems to me he should be using a business plan. It doesn’t matter if it’s at his home, that amount of usage is ridiculous. 2 different ISP provider’s? Listen, if you’re running a business from your home and NEED that much pipeline you have to pay for it.

    Cable and phone companies are evil, we know that, but they do honestly have to draw the lines somewhere. If you require a ludicrous amount of usage you’re going to pay more than someone who uses 1/10 as much – it’s simple economics.

  40. JohnMc says:

    I think dear ole Frank is partially responsible. Let me count the ways —

    * He doesn’t update his contact information so he is surprised that Comcast couldn’t contact him?

    * If you read the TOS Comcast does reserve that right to disconnect. Maybe his approach should be to upgrade to Business level service so maybe Comcast won’t complain, if they offer it that is.

    I’ll grant it is poor customer service but Frank needs to step up to the plate as well.

  41. coan_net says:

    @pinkbunnyslippers: Where in the contract is the limits posted? I now have Comcast after they took over for my Insight – I have never seen an updated contract or anything that has limits on it.

    But lets not even dwell on that issue, what about this one.

    If what you say is true, and the limits are listed in the contract in fine print – then why won’t Comcast just come out and tell us what those limits are? If it is in the contract, why can’t Comcast answer the question about the limit when asked?

  42. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    This guy must be a moron Apple fanboy.
    If he has a true colocated server he should get his home computers out of the equation and run software on the server to pull the pictures. They probably advertise how much bandwidth you can use there and what the fees are for going over.

    When did the concept of netequite die? If you were on a university network they would give you a 100mbps connection, but you were sharing bandwidth.

    Faster connections make normal use more pleasant. Download a movie from Amazon, pirate bay, netflix, or whatever. Load the pages with your friends high resolution photos faster, but as soon as you throw a bunch of automated bandwidth hogging applications in, you are using the product in a manner for which it wasn’t intended.

    If Comcast published hard caps, people could program their software to get to 99.9% utilization every month. This would still unfairly utilize the network and would embolden the abusers. If they set the cap too low it will affect the 99.9% of us that aren’t the problem (I run a lot of stuff on my cable modem).

    Lots of backbone links are either billed at 95% utilization or total bytes transfered.

    For the 95% they measure bandwidth in 5 minute intervals, and throw out the highest 5%. They then bill at the highest remaining rate. In 2001 a company with 30 DS3 connections was paying about $200/sustained megabit of bandwidth, but I’m sure that is MUCH lower now.

    Usage based pricing to the consumer would dampen use and suck out the products value. Customers would think more about each use adding a much higher mental transaction cost to every click.

    I think Comcast might have a reasonable solution. Unfortunately customers just keep whining. Unlimited for normal personal use doesn’t mean flood the connection 24×7.

  43. 7degreesnorth says:

    As a commercial director for a small ISP, I can tell you that this is actually a fairly common practice among ISPs, and it the whole motivation behind it is actually to be “customer friendly”. A lot of customers do not understand that they are on a shared system, and that high-volume traffic affects other users across the system. When one person has extremely excessive usage, the large majority of customers suffer.

    Dave actually agreed to these terms of use. Most ISPs have this clause, and it is usually referred to as a “fair usage” policy; Comcast calls theirs “acceptable use”. The definition of this policy is available online ([]), and the relevant section I will paste here:

    “Are there restrictions on bandwidth consumption that apply to the Service?

    The Service is for personal and non-commercial residential use only. Therefore, Comcast reserves the right to suspend or terminate Service accounts where bandwidth consumption is not characteristic of a typical residential user of the Service as determined by the company in its sole discretion. Common activities that may cause excessive bandwidth consumption in violation of this Policy include, but are not limited to, numerous or continuous bulk transfers of files and other high capacity traffic using (i) file transfer protocol (“FTP”), (ii) peer-to-peer applications, and (iii) newsgroups, whether provided by Comcast or a third party. You must also ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other person’s use of the Service, nor represent (as determined by Comcast in its sole discretion) an overly large burden on the network. In addition, you must ensure that your use of the Service does not limit or interfere with Comcast’s ability to deliver and monitor the Service or any part of its network.

    If you use the Service in violation of the restrictions referenced above, that is a violation of this Policy. In these cases, Comcast may, in its sole discretion, suspend or terminate your Service account or request that you subscribe to a version of the Service (such as a commercial grade Internet service, if appropriate) if you wish to continue to use the Service at higher bandwidth consumption levels. Comcast may also provide versions of the Service with different speed and bandwidth consumption limitations, among other characteristics, subject to applicable Service plans.”

    Dave is being a bit unreasonable in his complaint, given his usage volume clearly violates these terms. And overall, this policy is in place for the protection of the majority of users. You’d all be pissed if ISPs never regulated usage like this; instead you’d all be writing in about the speed tests you were running on your systems and how you only get a tenth of the bandwidth you are paying for. Hard to have it both ways.

  44. jamar0303 says:

    @Pylon83: That would work… if the market were allowed to work properly. Japan is what your idea SHOULD lead to- a market that functions properly with freedom of choice (15+ ISPs available nationwide!) but in America you rarely have more than 2 or 3 choices in a given broadband market (and sometimes only one or none at all). The market won’t be able to correct itself if there’s no market to speak of. The big roadblock is the fact that Verizon gets to keep its FiOS network to itself, whereas in Japan multiple providers share a set of fiber lines. This encourages competition and will lead to Japan-like 100M symmetric for $50 type deals as multiple providers compete.

  45. SuperJdynamite says:

    @SRSco: Sounds like somebody is hankering for a blog of their own.

  46. rjhiggins says:

    You know you’re in the wrong when you can’t even get people to take your side against Comcast.

    What’s interesting here is that Winer made millions during the era, and can easily afford a plan more in line with his usage. So apparently he’s fighting this on some principle. Typical Dave.

    A lot of people already loathe him. This will just add to that constituency.

  47. elijah_dukes_mayonnaise says:

    @ratnerstar: Then who would be on the internet?

  48. Geekybiker says:

    They really need to change from a percentile rank to a set number of standard deviations if they’re looking to trim excessive users. In any case I’d much rather they just disclose my limits and run a bandwidth monitor. Its easy to burn alot of bandwidth on streaming applications and not even know it.

  49. ccouvillion says:

    @Pylon83 (And Others): Cable TV and Cable Internet may be private businesses, but they are generally given an area based monopoly on service.

    I currently have Comcast. I can’t decide to change to Cox or Time Warner if I don’t like Comcast’s service. I would have to go satellite for my TV. I have a few more options for internet service, but except for DSL, most are out of my price range for home user.

    That being said, I think it would be reasonable for Comcast (and others) to email warnings or provide a status page to know when a customer is using too much bandwidth. I can see the difficulty in having a set amount as it would vary depending on time of day, area, etc. But, they obviously have some metric that they use internally that could be communicated to the user. Let the user self-correct before it gets to be a major problem.

    If are running server or server-like activities, you should really be on a dedicated bandwidth circuit.

  50. backbroken says:

    Just wanted to make the point that you can be a douchebag and still be right. If his contract says ‘unlimited internet’ then it’s unlimited. Comcast needs to get the marketing out of the contract and put the truth in.

  51. Buran says:

    @SRSco: They should care about someone who can out them for the two-faced greedy people they are. They advertise one thing, and offer another.

    I don’t know anything about this guy or reputation, but this exact problem has been giving Comcast a lot of bad press lately. I’m honestly surprised they still try to do it.

  52. Trai_Dep says:

    Holy sh*t. They cut off Dave Winer for using the Internet?! That’s like cutting the water off from a fish pond because they realized fish swim too much.
    Who’s next, Cory Doctorow or Markos Moulitsas?

    ISPs would have a leg to stand on if they published specific limits and included these in each of their lovingly created ads they blanket the globe with. Instead their ads only hype the unlimited use, rich media-sucking uses that their customers seamlessly devour while the ISP smiles benignly.

    And, if people that used less than the average amount got a refund. Since, after all, outliers run in both directions. Why aren’t they squawking about the REFUNDS they owe people who use LESS than average?!

  53. If this is America, the greatest country, why do we have such shitty broadband?

    I’m serious. It’s inexcusble and Walt Mossberg agrees with me.

  54. FLEB says:

    Policies and capacities be damned– if they’re unwilling to provide the bandwidth I pay for, during the full duration that I pay for it, then they shouldn’t be telling me they can. If your cable can’t handle it, either get better cable or more modest advertising.

    Put up or shut up– those are the choices. Don’t lie about what you can do in hopes that no one will actually ask you to deliver on it.

  55. bostonguy says:

    OK, I’m gonna attempt a car analogy:

    The road has NO speed limit posted, and the cops just randomly pull over whatever car is going fastest, out of all the cars on the road. And it doesn’t matter what speed you’re going, so long as you’re the fastest of the bunch…

    Actually, this car analogy gives you a better deal than the Comcast clusterf***. On your cable modem connection, you have no way of knowing how much your neighbors are downloading. With the car/road analogy, at least you can look at the other cars and decide to slow down a bit!

  56. backbroken says:

    @Michael Belisle: Maybe you should reexamine your premise.

  57. LeJerk says:

    @backbroken:”By definition, there will always be someone within the top 1/10th of 1 percent. Will they perpetually shut those folks off until the top 1/10th of 1 percent is using less than 1 GB per month?”


  58. Saboth says:

    Hello, we need tax subsidies and high rates on our cable in order to increase broadband in America. There, we’ve taken billions from our customers and the government and put in place a backbone almost as fast as countries like South Korea. However, you have 50 mb download speed, but we are capping you are 2 gigs a month. Oh, and raising your rate again. Have a nice day!

  59. mechanismatic says:

    @larry_y: Being a pretty big blogger is like being the mayor of a small town in rural Kentucky.

  60. mgy says:

    I hear there’s more internets out Californie-way. Maybe he can go there.

  61. tinmanx says:

    Wish I had a choice of internet providers. It’s either cablevision or dial up for me. :(

  62. mavrc says:


    Dave Winer’s whining and your ad hominem attacks aside, I don’t understand this at all. How would usage-based billing drive down usage, when apparently having a mystery devil standing on your shoulder waiting to smite you for using too much bandwidth (mind you, we’ll never say how much is too much) would not?

  63. Mr. Gunn says:

    larry_y: I think about it differently. A company like Comcast is foolish for not bending over backwards to help him, because of the thousands of people he influences. I subscribe to him, and hundreds of thousands of other people do to(so mechanismatic is only revealing his own ignorance) and there’s no way it could be worth it to them to not cut him some slack.

    Yes, I am advocating that he be treated differently from you. If you can get hundreds of thousands of people to listen to you for years on end, then you’ll deserve a little different treatment, too.

    Notice how he unnecessarily and somewhat ludicrously fellates Apple in a comment about a Blackberry? You think that’s coincidental?

    Now, all the inflammatory content dispensed with, the point it that the biggest users of your service are your biggest fans, and the people most likely to recommend your service to others. Certainly, everyone can’t use the service at such a high level, but the few that do will most likely make it worth it to you. Call it a marketing expense.

    Same argument goes for mobile broadband, 3G, etc.

  64. Mr. Gunn says:

    FLEB: See, the airlines get away with overbooking, so the cable companies feel like they should be able to get away with oversubscribing. The difference is that the airlines have to give you a credit when they bump you.

  65. @mgy: I believe Winer lives in Califoria.

  66. @backbroken: The less-facetious premise is the Internet was born here. Yet today, because the Internet is growing faster than fat pipes are getting to the home in the US, we end up with stories like this.

    Other countries are addressing this problem while we’re busy fighting with Comcast over whether or not they agree with how we’re using their paltry bandwidth.

  67. ChuckECheese says:

    What do you do with a few gigs a day of data? When do you have time to look at it? Do you store it in boxes full of hard drives stacked one on another? It’s the electronic version of being a cat lady.

  68. The Bambino says:

    “Don’t f*ck with me, I’m a blogger!” is the new “Don’t f*ck with me I know karate!”


  69. attackgypsy says:

    It’s probably because they believe he’s running his business on a residential line. Every cable company does that.

    The one I used to work for (Cablevision) it was better to be a business customer. The same cost, and better tech service (2-4 hours vs. next day)

  70. i’ve very surprised they haven’t cut my net off yet (comcast). I watch a lot of shows online, like on and listen to music online from winamp and what not. Not to mention that friends and i have to always exchange files for games that we work on, music we make, etc, which in a monthly sum adds up to a lot, so i’m pretty positive i’ve been over 1gb of bandwidth every month.

  71. maverickuw says:

    @Aladdyn: Actyally this is a very bad example. When talking about test averages at the Educational level, they’re not talking about at one school, in one class. They’re talking about averages that are statistically worked out over several years. Bringing one score from 0 to 100, or bringing 1000 scores from 70 to 80 won’t have much of a statistical effect when the scores are being calculated against millions of other scores.

    So in school sense, no, raising Every score at a single school above the average will not actually affect the average.

  72. Mr. Gunn says:

    The Marionette: You think 1GB is a lot? You’re probably suing less than average.

  73. trujunglist says:


    You must also ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other person’s use of the Service, nor represent (as determined by Comcast in its sole discretion) an overly large burden on the network.

    According to this statement, you can’t actually even use their service at all, because everyone knows that more people using the service means that the general user will have degraded service. Therefore, just by connecting, you’re in violation of their TOS.

  74. parad0x360 says:

    Comcast doesnt seem to cut off bandwidth hungry customers unless they are doing alot of uploading.

  75. RINO-Marty says:

    Forcing extremely high-data users into a separate tier = good (for 99% of users). Doing so rudely, refusing to put it in writing, and refusing to be reasonable in the transition = very, very bad.

  76. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @coan_net: It’s in their contract in an “acceptable use” clause. It’s purposely vague – you can thank the lawyers for that one. But he agreed to it de facto by continuing with his service. Done and done.

    Why won’t they come out and say it? Because it’s not good PR/Marketing. Do I agree with it? Absolutely not. Is it an ethically proper thing to do? Not really. Is it illegal? Nope.

  77. Dunno who’s the bigger a-hole–Comcast or Dave.

  78. comcastcares says:

    Thank you for the acknowledgement! I am here to help anyone with Comcast. Just Tweet me at ComcastCares and I will be happy to assist. For those that have watched on Twitter, I am passionate about the Customer and creating the right experience. We are working to improve our Customer Service, and I represent a very small portion of that effort. I will always be happy to help or share feedback!

    I look forward to some “Tweets” from my friends on the Consumerist.

    Have a great day!

    Frank Eliason
    Twitter: ComcastCares

  79. sean77 says:

    @coan_net: “unlimited” doesn’t mean you can use as much as you want.

    It means you don’t get charged per-minute.

  80. trujunglist says:

    If you see a sign at the park that says “NO _____” then you can probably assume that everything else is OK as long as you’re not breaking a higher law. Comcast has put in their contract “NO USING OUR SERVICE ONCE YOU’VE PAID FOR WHAT WE’VE ADVERTISED.” I’m pretty sure that’s not legal, but I’m not a lawyer.


    Dave is being a bit unreasonable in his complaint, given his usage volume clearly violates these terms.

    I’m not sure how he’s “clearly” doing anything. Comcast itself says that the limits they come up with are completely arbitrary and up to them. It may be clear that he was using a lot of bandwidth, but there’s no way of knowing how much is too much, how much is just right, or if you’re getting ripped off.

    Comcast reserves the right to suspend or terminate Service accounts where bandwidth consumption is not characteristic of a typical residential user of the Service as determined by the company in its sole discretion.

    There is no way to know unless they tell you, and they could theoretically just make up any number since it’s their discretion. Shit, they could just as easily lie if they don’t like what you serve up, surf, or download.

    Final statement: do you think that Comcast, knowing the average residential usage, suspends the service of users that AREN’T using their fair amount of bandwidth and offering to disconnect them or DOWNGRADE them to an appropriate tier once they call in to find out what’s going on?
    FUCK NO. Fuck you Comcast.

  81. axiomatic says:

    @SRSco: No, I disagree completely. He came, he paid, he downloaded. That is all. Comcast needs to put it in writing what he can or can not do, and until then Comcast needs to STFU.

  82. Airport_Whiskey says:



  83. whatdoyoucare says:

    Dave, are you one of those guys who sends out mass quantities of spam?

  84. forgottenpassword says:

    so this is basically the equivilent of an “all you can eat” buffet owner getting pissed off that you are eating a lot?

    If you want there to be limits…. put it in writing so the customer knows where he stands.

  85. fhic says:

    Y’all who are hatin’ on Dave… if you don’t know who he is, you might want to check out his Wikipedia page. This is not some random blogger. He invented RSS, runs, and was the driving force behind Userland.

    I’ve had personal dealings with the guy, and I think he’s a dick, but he’s definitely not just some random blogger.

    That said, if he’s not on a business connection with Comcast, he should be. I had a similar situation with Cox, and upgrading my personal account to a business account made the problem go away. You pay more but the rules are different.

  86. BugMeNot2 says:

    The cops will just come along and stop you when you are going to fast, give you a ticket, but won’t tell you what is too fast or what the limit is.

    I think that was the way it was in Montana for a while, no speed limit, but if it was bad weather it was up to policeman to determine if you were going the appropriate speed or not.

    And remember people – Comcast is a monopoly in most towns. They are given exclusive rights to operate many towns and cities across the country.

  87. ChuckECheese says:

    Mom! Dave is using up all the internet! Make him stop!

    Dave, save some internet for your little brother. Get off the computer.

    Ma, it’s not like that. You don’t run out–

    Mom! He’s uploading!

    Dave, don’t make me come up there. I’ll unplug that computer. Leave the internet alone.


    Dave, read a book or something.

    I hate books. The paper dries out my fingers.

  88. LionelEHutz says:

    It is all the consumer’s fault here.

  89. Oryx says:

    Jesus, how much bandwidth does OP use?

    I hit about 200 gigs a month and have yet to have them say anything to me. (Of course, I mask all a lot of my traffic)

  90. BugMeNot2 says:

    Only 450 gb/month? I use way more than that and also have Comcastastic. (unfortunately). I guess its just Russian Roulette who they single out.

  91. prameta1 says:

    i can’t think of anything more obnoxious to say to someone in a customer service situation than “i’m a blogger, and i’m gonna write about it”. that classic line likely breeds nothing but resentment and hostility. “i’m a blogger”. what a dumb thing to say.

  92. RvLeshrac says:


    “Driving Too Fast for Conditions” is a co-offense. It is added on to another violation, but never used by itself.

    If you wreck in the rain, you will frequently be given a “Driving Too Fast for Conditions” ticket along with “Failure to Maintain Lane,” in addition to whatever ticket you are given for the actual collision.

    The offense is designed in this manner for precisely the reason cited above – “Driving Too Fast for Conditions,” without any posted limit, would allow the police to ticket nearly every driver on the road with absolutely no explanation. To avoid such abuse, the law requires that some evidence be provided that the individual was indeed driving too fast for the state of the roadway.

    You are therefore free to drive as quickly as you desire, to the posted limit, so long as you are able to maintain control of your vehicle.

  93. RvLeshrac says:


    Somewhat douchebaggy, but it provides the company fair warning of poor publicity.

    The other people complain when journalists don’t identify themselves during hidden camera investigations – you can’t have it both ways.