Comcast: 250 GB Cap Coming October 1st?

Broadband Reports is saying that they’ve confirmed through several sources that Comcast is going to be instituting a 250GB cap on their high speed internet.

Sources tell me that Comcast will officially announce that they’re implementing this new system starting October first.

Originally, the source indicated Comcast was considering charging $15 for each 10 GB over the cap customers travel. A press release should drop shortly confirming whether this is still the case. There was also consideration of a new system whereby users who received more than four DMCA letters in a twelve month period potentially faced account suspension. That’s a risky move I would imagine won’t make the final cut.

“The intent appears to be to go after the people who consistently download far more than the typical user without hurting those who may have a really big month infrequently,” says an insider familiar with the project, who prefers to remain anonymous. “As far as I am aware, uploads are not affected, at least not initially.” According to this source, the new system should only impact some 14,000 customers out of Comcast’s 14.1 million users (i.e. the top 0.1%).

The move comes in response to the FCC’s ruling that Comcast’s “network management” techniques were very, very uncool.

What do you think? This “invisible cap” has already been around for awhile, is admitting to it a step in the right direction for Comcast? Or not?

Comcast 250GB Cap Goes Live October 1 [Broadband Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Jthmeffy says:

    Very, VERY glad I dont have comcast – 20Mb down, 2Mb up for $60 – very happy here with no cap

  2. cotr says:

    who needs more than 250 GB/mo? do we all have DMCA letter tallies now?


    • What The Geek says:

      @phnxamg: 250 gb isn’t really taht much when you think about it. One HD movie off of the Xbox live marketplace can come in over six gigs. If you rent two movies a week, now you’re looking at 12 – 13 gb per week. That’s 48/mo (or more) right there. Throw in youtube, streaming radio (oh how I’ll miss pandora – it’s on almost all day here), onling video games completee with downloadable content, and it adds up real quick.

    • humphrmi says:

      @phnxamg: The RIAA recently sent a DMCA takedown letter to an HP printer.


      If a printer that downloads or shares no content can get a DMCA takedown letter, nothing else surprises me.

  3. What The Geek says:

    I can’t speak for everyone everywhere, but I’m in South Jersey, and I seem to be experiencing the cap already – I’m a heavy internet user – I’m sure I’ve used at least 200 gb this month although I don’t keep track. Today my speeds plummeted. I ram a bunch of network test (I’m an IT guy) and the results were pretty clear – I have a steady signal, it’s just running at a crawl. Also worth mentioning, my upload speed was uneffected – just my down speeds.

  4. missdona says:



    • BrianDaBrain says:

      I’m going to jump on the I hate Comcast train here. While it is true that 250 GB/mo is not a terrible limit, I think the big picture is that this is a step (a large step) in the wrong direction. The Internet is supposed to be a free and non-regulated source of information, and allowing ISPs to start imposing limits on our ability to access and use the information is just wrong. I hope they lose a lot of business to this and rethink this strategy.

      @missdona: Why is it, that whenever a company makes a negatively-impacting change, they say they “listened to customer feedback”? Somehow, I can’t see a focus-group of customers sitting there telling Comcast that imposing limits would be a beneficial thing for the customer base.

      • econobiker says:

        @BrianDaBrain: It is all free until they get you “hooked” then the fees begin. Anybody remember “free” Automated Teller Machine access in the 1980’s to early 1990’s???

  5. Adisharr says:

    250GB a MONTH? That’s very reasonable in my opinion. Compare this to Timewarner’s 50GB ‘test’ cap which is very limiting and Frontier DSL’s ridiculous and insulting 5GB cap.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      Yeah, this is almost a realistic cap.

      OTOH, part of the reason it’s realistic is that US internet speeds SUCK. I mean if you were running the average 2mbit US “broadband” connection at full speed, 24 hours per day, you could only download about 650 gigabytes in a month.

  6. IphtashuFitz says:

    Considering they’ve had a secretive cap while always claiming not to I think this is the right move. At least now if somebody finds themselves disconnected and they call up to find out why the CSR’s will have an official policy to go by rather than getting the runaround of Comcrap not telling them what the cap is.

  7. Bladefist says:

    250 GB cap is reasonable if you think caps are reasonable.

    • Adisharr says:


      I can’t say I’m a fan of the whole idea but I’d rather have the terms spelled out. I’d also like an option to buy a higher limit for a few dollars more.

  8. Ickypoopy says:

    250GB/month is ridiculously low.

    I easily use over 4TB/month (up and down combined). Glad I don’t have comcast. Symmetrical 20/20mbps connection here.

  9. Reeve says:

    I think the cap may not be that high if you look at legal downloading trends that are likely to take place in the near future.

    As What the Geek has commented Movies can have a very large amount of GB. More and more people may be able to “rent” movies online from places like Netflix by streaming them. This cap would limit this legal downloading. Further, more and more TV can be viewed online. We are soon to enter an age where large amounts of video content is to be delivered over the internet (see the recent Olympics). In light of this 250GB may seem like a lot now, depending on who you are, but as the trend toward more legal streaming video continues I do not believe 250GB will seem like a lot at all.

  10. MPHinPgh says:

    I doubt that there were very many months that I hit the 250 GB mark (though I’m guessing I probably hit 175-200 regularly), so I don’t think this really would have affected me.

    It’s all moot though, since FIOS is getting installed on Tuesday. Anyone know if Verizon has limits like this? I certainly hope not.

    • SniDa says:

      @What The Geek:
      Are you sure it’s not something wrong with your connection? The cap is not in effect yet and the “invisible cap” is enforced by someone calling/sending you a letter.

      Nope, Verizon does not have any limits.

  11. Brine says:

    I wonder if they will provide a usage meter on their website so you can monitor it, similar of cellphone companies?

  12. seawolf2000 says:

    IMO 8 gigs a day seems pretty reasonable.

  13. seamustry says:

    How can you measure what you download in a month? Especially, if you have multiple computers on a single network?

    • My keyboard has a typo key says:


      My router hardware shows me all sorts of good stuff relating to what goes in and out.
      I can use my logs to see the average speeds I get also. Not just overall WAN/LAN bandwidth consumption.

  14. flairness says:

    Here I show my geek.

    I play WoW, and am a 4-day-a-week-raider (SWP). On off days, I’m almost always on.

    No, I don’t have a life.

    So…anyone have any idea how much WoW uses up? I probably play about 30-40 hours a week.

    • Notsewfast says:


      Holy crap, you play 40 hours of video games a week?

      I have no idea how much bandwidth that uses, but I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around doing anything 8 hours every day (besides sleep) that doesn’t pay a decent salary.

      I mean, to each his own, but c’mon, there’s more out there than your avatar and computer generated women.

      Unless you live in the arctic circle, then I guess I can understand.

      • flairness says:

        @Secret Agent Man:

        Hey, did you see the point where I pre-empted you by saying that I have no life? Thanks for re-iterating it for me!

      • What The Geek says:

        @Secret Agent Man: Don’t judge – for one, he could be playing on the weekend a lot. For two, everyone has hobbies. Just because not eveyrone shares YOUR hobbies doesn’t make their hobbies invalid. Maybe 40 hrs a week is a lot – but maybe he’s a pro gamer. Would you blame a pro athelete for excercising and training for 40 hrs a week?

        What do you do with your free time? If you’re gonna get on the high horse, share a little about yourself.

        • flairness says:

          @What The Geek:

          She. :)

          And thank you :D

          • What The Geek says:

            @flairness: Sorry for the gender blunder, and you’re welcome. I’m a gamer myself. I don’t quite hit 40 hrs a week, but I come close a lot. I’m also a freelance it guy, and I run a couple websites – I just don’t sleep much. For the record, I do find time to go out and do other things before anyone else decides gamer = loser.

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        @Secret Agent Man: I sometimes play that much, too. I have a health problem that keeps me in bed a lot. Not much to do other than read, watch TV and play videogames.

        If I can’t play my FPS as much as I want because of this cap there’s going to be hell to pay.

    • I_Spy says:

      @flairness: I used to play WoW for 35-50 hours per week and never busted my 35GB/month cap (unless I was torrent downloading F1/Moto GP races)

    • bravo369 says:

      Although i don’t like the idea of caps, 250gb seems like enough for people. As a comcast customer, I would hope they start showing how much bandwidth has been used for the month. I pay the bill but I have 3 other roommates so if we start approaching the cap then I should at least have a way to know.

      @flairness: 30-40 hours per week? since we’re on the topic of caps, WOW needs a cap if people are spending that much time on it

      • arl84 says:

        @bravo369: If you don’t want to spend 50 hours a week playing WoW, or whatever it is, then don’t. But don’t tell people what they should and shoudln’t be doing with their own time. They aren’t hurting anyone.

        Anyway the cap sucks. Sure it seems like a reasonable amount now, but soon everything is gonna be streaming this and that and the other. So maybe in a year or so it won’t be that reasonable anymore. I’m so glad I don’t have comcast! Astound broadband ftw!

    • madog says:

      @flairness: I’m jealous and now officially hate you. I worked 46 hours this week with 10 hours of school on top of that. I hope you get into a non-fatal accident and hurt yourself slightly.

  15. Underpants Gnome says:

    While I don’t like a cap, I will admit that i’d rather have a published hard cap than the fuzzy limits before. But i’m not one of the 0.1%, so that’s probably why i’m not screaming.

    The real question here is whether comcast will keep raising the limit as the average user’s usage goes up. I agree with Reeve above, that 250GB may not be that much in a couple years.

  16. fargle says:

    Works for me. Having an actual value to work with, and knowing I will never hit that value, is all I ever wanted from them.

    I even don’t mind the “protocol agnostic” traffic management that they’re working on, as long as it’s only during periods of congestion and doesn’t cause connections to be dropped – we have to understand that a given provider’s network is a shared, finite resource and that upgrading it needlessly because of a few people who think they got a dedicated DS3 for their $40 a month is just dumb.

  17. admiral_stabbin says:

    I wonder how many of the 14,000 customres they’ll lose based on this?

    • Alexander says:

      @admiral_stabbin: Well, look at it this way, if Comcast were to lose these 14,000 customers wouldn’t they actually benefit as they would be getting rid of their most active (bandwidth wise) users? Sounds like a plan to make these users quit…

    • strayxray says:


      I bet you they want to lose all 14,000 of them. These people are the most vocal opponents of Comcast, cost Comcast the most amount of money, and pay the same as most other Comcast users. It’s possible that they lose money on this particular subgroup.

  18. ncboxer says:

    I consume at least 100GB a month. I watch movies, listen to online radio, watch some TV online, download stuff, backup web sites, etc. 250GB seems more than enough.

    I don’t personally don’t like caps at all. ISPs aren’t going to charge less for using less bandwidth, so why should they charge more? If I only use 1GB a month, shouldn’t my bill be less than $5?

    • Sam Glover says:

      I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I think I agree with @ncboxer that if we are going down this path, people who use less should pay less.

      • What The Geek says:

        @Sam Glover: I certainly wouldn’t be against paying more – but I’m not springing for a business acct as some people have suggested either. I’m not paying more than double what I pay now for the little bit over the cap I use. They need to add a true unlimited package if they’re going to go this route.

  19. Inhocmark says:

    You know quite honestly if you’re scraping up to a 250gig cap, then perhaps you’re in the wrong product and need to step up to a business connection.

    It’s easy to get pissed at companies throttling speeds and imposing unreasonably low caps, but in this case it’s tough to argue that for home users (that these products are designed for) would be hard pressed to hit that cap.

    • dlab says:


      I disagree. I am paying for an “unlimited connection.” My home phone runs through my Internet connection. I listen to streaming radio constantly. I use my connection to transfer large files routinely. I watch Joost (streaming HD IPTV) over the web constantly. And that’s just me, never mind the other people I live with who have their own Internet usage patterns. We should continue to be able to do all these things because that is what we were sold and that is what we are paying for. Implementing this cap would mean that I would now be paying the same amount for less than what I was getting before. Isn’t that kind of like the “grocery shrink ray?”

      And please, don’t install anything that Comcast sends you. The only time I made that mistake I ran a packet sniffer when Comcast’s “Security Doctor” software was running and discovered that it was sending copies of my bookmars, saved passwords, and outlook e-mail files to a Comcast server – spyware, anyone?

  20. seamer says:

    Nice, in Australia 10-20gb from major national isps is standard. Boutiques can go to 40-50gb/m, but that’s not as common as it should be.

  21. taking_this_easy says:

    well…. seeing that this month was the olympics and NBC offered an auto-downloader for olympics events…

    i checked my download manager… used up 80GB this month (i usually hit 30GB, so 50GB for olympics is fair enough)

    50GB for some HD content, but mostly standard definition content….. so this is the future of the internet? streaming HD content might be impossible with a 250GB limit (lets say 4 people in a family, each using 60GB is quite fair)

  22. What The Geek says:

    I see a lot of people saying the cap is reasonable. Maybe some people will never hit that much. Some people only use their high speed internet to check their mail. I personally have a streaming radio station on almost all day long. Either pandora, or xrm radio – either way I probaglby blow through 2 – 3 gigs a day just listening to the radio. I also have a website that I frequently ftp files up to. I play a lot of video games online, and as listed in an earlier post, I download LEGIT movies from the Xbox live marketplace. I’m a regular guy not breaking any laws or anything like that, and I blow through the usage cap probably in half a month. The trend of consuming media from the internet is going to get bigger, not smaller. If you’re ok with the cap now, in a year or two you probably won’t be.

    As for me, I’ll be switching to DSL until fios comes to town. The max dsl speed is slower than the max cable speed, no doubt – but the capped cable speed is much slower than the max dsl speed. In my case, the switch will be welcome.

  23. dmuth says:

    I’m not sure I agree with the bandwidth cap, but at least they’re being open about it, and charging for overage.

    This beats the previous tactics of refusing to tell people what the cap was, or their current bandwidth usage, along with threats to disconnect users who went over that unknown cap.

  24. What The Geek says:

    The one thing I see a lot of people forgetting when this topic comes up is that it counts ALL of your internet traffic. Every website visited, every video game played, every IM sent, every email sent, every file ftp’ed, every song or video streamed (yes, that counts youtube), and every file or program downloaded counts against you.

    Like I said before, it may seem reasonable now, but it won’t forever.

    • Invective says:

      @What The Geek: Bandwidth continues to be bought up at light speed by the telco’s and at the end of the election the ‘Internet Management Project’ begins. Oil & Power, Banking & Insurance and now the Internet is next to operate in a false market and outside Government regulation. Bandwidth to be traded and deregulated as a commodity. Already companies have begun a new campaign of managing our comments and opinions as well. It’s a Government of the companies, by the corrupted and for the corrupted. Enjoy, it’s a brave new world!

    • the_wiggle says:

      we’re sol til fios comes to town :( both of us are taking classes online, the kids are into online gaming & use net for research + tutoring, all of us use plenty of entertainment such as netflix, pandora, youtube etc.

      not liking cap concept at all; however, if they insist on tying price to d/l’d amount, then they should do it across the board for *all* users including businesses.

  25. What The Geek says:

    Has anyone gotten confirmation of whether comcast is referring to gigabits or gigabytes?

    • Corydon says:

      @What The Geek: According to the Comcast site, it’s gigabytes (GB).

      Why don’t you measure your usage for a month and find out just how much you’re actually going through? I’d imagine that if you weren’t getting any hassles from them before, you won’t be getting any now either.

      For the record, online game (like WoW), streaming audio and applications like VoIP all use very little bandwidth. The main people who will be affected are the ones downloading and uploading stuff like video 24/7.

      • flairness says:


        Thanks for the clarification with WoW. :)

      • What The Geek says:

        @Corydon: Let’s have a little math off shall we? I stream radio about eight hours a day. It’s a 96kb/s stream.

        that’s 5.7 mb per minute
        or 345 mb / hr
        or 2.8 gigs a day for eight hrs.

        That’s befoe you factor in gaming, a few movies each week, and all the every day stuff into my bandwidth usage. The cap sucks – deal with it.

        • Corydon says:

          @What The Geek: OK, I’ll do the math…listening to your 96 kbps (that’s kilo BIT per second) stream over 1 hour is:

          96 × 60 × 60 = 345,600 kilobits per hour.

          Let’s assume you listen to your stream 8 hours a day every single day of the month (31 days).

          345,600 × 8 × 31 = 85,708,800 kilobits per month.

          85,708,800 ÷ 8 = 10,713,600 kilobytes (kB)

          10,713,600 ÷ 1024 = 10,462.5 MB

          10,462.5 ÷ 1024 = 10.21 GB

          10.21 ÷ 250 × 100 = 4.08 % of the cap.

          There. I showed my work and everything :)

          • What The Geek says:

            @Corydon: You’re right – I made a stupid mistake on the bit / byte – should’ve been a no brainer. Still, it lends to my point that all of the things we use on the internet on a day to day basis add up. The traffic isn’t going to get any lighter any time soon either. If they want to impose a cap, that’s fine – but give me a NON business option if I want to go over it – and I don’t mean something ridiculous like a dollar a gig either.

            The fact is I stepped up to cable years ago because dial up wasn’t enough for me. My usage has grown over the years, and now comcast is imposing limits. I stepped up to them in the first place because I needed more – and for a while, they delivered. Now they’re gonna put up a wall, and I’m going to have to go to verizon. Not because I want to stop down to DSL until fios comes to town, but because the capped speeds from comcast just won’t cut it for me, and I’m not a business user, so I’m not paying for a business plan. They’ve left me with no choice here.

          • Daemonstar says:

            @Corydon: Doh, you beat me to it. :)

        • JustThatGuy3 says:

          @What The Geek:

          Actually, your math is off by a factor of eight. The 96kbps # you cite is 96 kiloBITS per second, which is equal to 12kiloBYTES per second. So, you’re 346Mbytes/8 hours, not 2.8Gbytes/8 hours. A full month of this is 104Gbytes, leaving you 146Gybtes remaining under the cap.

        • Xkeeper says:

          @What The Geek: Leave streaming radio on 31 days for 24 hours each day and it amounts to about 242 GB :)

          By the same token, that means your maximum CONSTANT download rate is about 94kb/s. Over one month at this constant rate (which is an utter joke compared to the max speed of Comcast’s connections, and Japan’s internet in general) will put you right over the cap.

          I’ve already hit well over 100GB in a week just from downloading and seeding back some torrents. Honestly, it’s a lot easier to hit than you think.

      • @Corydon: “Why don’t you measure your usage for a month and find out just how much you’re actually going through?”

        How do you do that?

        • Corydon says:

          @Eyebrows McGee: Lots of folks here have been recommending software that monitors your bandwidth usage for you.

          Tomato (mentioned by Hawkins) is a great solution because it sits in your router, so it keeps track of all the computers on your home network. By contrast, software that sits on your computer tracks usage by that one computer only—the upside is that it’s a lot easier and less intimidating for a less tech-savvy person to install (and if you only have one computer, it’s all you need anyway).

          Keep in mind that the cap isn’t new…Comcast has had one for a while now. It’s just that they’ve never come out before and said what exactly the limit was. Now they have, which (IMO) is a good thing.

          Basically, if you have Comcast now, and they haven’t been coming after you for “excessive use” (or whatever they call it) then you’re probably fine under the new policy too.

          • @Corydon: “Basically, if you have Comcast now, and they haven’t been coming after you for “excessive use” (or whatever they call it) then you’re probably fine under the new policy too.”

            Right, and I doubt I’m anywhere near the limit (also I don’t have Comcast), but since I have no idea what my internet usage is like, the number is totally arbitrary and meaningless to me. If I knew what MY monthly usage was, I’d be able to make a mental comparison and be like, “Woah, holy moley, that man’s downloading the entire Library of Congress on a monthly basis!” or like, “Comcast’s limits are ridiculously low!”

            Until I have a basis for comparison, I’m unclear on the proper reaction. :)

  26. ShadowFalls says:

    Don’t forget about Netflix as well. Since they have their streaming video available at a cheap cost, more are starting to use it. 250GB sounds like alot, but isn’t when you factor in video content.

    Why should someone step up to a business connection if they aren’t a business? If they are in their home, why should you have something over than residential service if you are not running a business?

    If you calculate to a household of four people, you are down to 62.5GB a person. Starts going much quicker doesn’t it?

    Streaming Content and downloading is the future, but ISPs like Comcast are continually holding the country back.

    Sure I would prefer they come right out and say it rather than be sneaky, but why a need for a cap at all?

    If you are capping, that means you as a company didn’t do anything to expand your business to suite the needs of all your customers. Population density means more customers, that means spending more money on equipment. A no-brainer since you are making more money, you have it to spend. Instead, they prefer to pocket their profits than properly expand their network for additional customers.

    • econobiker says:

      @ShadowFalls: Of course you will have the cap until you add the “extra speed” option that Comcast will gladly sell you for an additional $19.99 monthly.

  27. flairness says:

    I’m actually on the phone with Comcast right now trying to find out what my ‘normal’ monthly usage is and they’re refusing to tell me.

    One guy even said “Why do you want to know this?” like I wasn’t authorized to have that sort of information.

    Surprise surprise, they won’t even let me talk to a manager, just keep telling me to hold where they dump me back into the waiting pool.

    Comcast sucks.

  28. PrudenceGoolay says:

    I dislike this because it is setting a precedent. All I see happening is
    that cap slowly pushing downward.

    That being said, 250 gb/month is completely reasonable. One way to look at
    it is as follows.

    Assuming a 30 day month, if you were utilizing your bandwith 24/7, that
    allocates out to ~5.7 mb/minute of bandwith.

    Not so bad.

  29. Reeve says:

    I am just surprised that companies like NetFlix and Youtube are not speaking out against this. Further, when you factor in internet Radio (which is sure to grow in the future) I am surprised there is not a bigger corporate outcry against this. As others have noted – the trend is upward not downward for *Legit* internet usage.

  30. EBounding says:

    The cap seems reasonable. It’d be nice if they credited your account for unused bandwidth though. I’m funny.

  31. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Netflix is so compressed it probably doesn’t even amount to a CD’s worth of data. Streaming audio – even less (probably less than 50 MB.)

    This cap is only going to affect people who download HD content packaged privately.

    • tinycorkscrew says:

      @Diet-Orange-Soda: Netflix streams movies at four different bitrates, depending on the speed of the client’s connection.

      At the highest bitrate, Netflix movies average about 1.2 gb each, about the size of two compact discs, not one.

  32. mercnet says:

    Wow I bet comcast is going to lose a lot of college kids. At school we share one cable connection on wireless between 4 people. If everyone is downloading music, videos, playing xbox360, that 250 gb cap will be hit in one week.

  33. Wow, I’m so one of those 14K. I live with three other people, and all of us are pretty heavy users of the internet. I am frequently downloading unboxed movies from Amazon, and streaming others from Netflix. Game demos now rarely come in under 1.5 GB, and full games are hovering right around 4. I tend to purchase new software via Steam or Direct2drive rather than heading out to the store. All of these activities are done at least once a week, and is on top of normal surfing. Remember I’m only one of four heavy users in the house.

    As odd as this sounds, I’d love to live in a place where telecommunications were considered a utility that every household should have…like Korea…but in the US.

  34. yungjerry703 says:

    wow once again comcast keeps us from ever catching up to the rest of the world, my friend told me there are caps in japan but its around 30 gigs a day. would it be so bad if the just targeted the top 0.05% and gave everyone one a little more wiggle room.

  35. Andr0 says:

    @flairness: WoW and similar type games actually use very little bandwidth – for them, it’s all about speed of the connection, not throughput. I’d be surprised if your WoW put through more than a couple MB per hour of gametime, tops. I was able to play WoW over connections with as little bandwith as 56k (ISDN/dial-up) while traveling back to Europe.

    (Remember, WoW packets for client/server communications are very small – all the fancy graphics and animations are already stored on the client PC, unlike streaming huge-ass HD videos over the net some people watch.)

  36. theblackdog says:

    I hope Verizon does not take a page from Comcrap and introduce a similar cap.

  37. Mike_ says:

    I hate caps, and I really hate Comcast. But as far as caps go, this one is pretty reasonable. In order to hit 250GB, you’ll need to transfer 800 kilobits per second continuously for the entire month. That’s a lot of data. My router says my household has used about 25GB so far this month, and we’re fairly active users with some bandwidth-intensive appliances (Netflix player, Apple TV and Xbox Marketplace).

    I once worked for a small ISP that offered unlimited dialup Internet access. We had some users who took “unlimited” to mean they could thwart our idle timer and stay connected 24×7. When the modem pool was near capacity, I was not shy about disconnecting these users and suspending their accounts. Unlimited access is not dedicated access.

    Yes, caps (especially arbitrary ones) are bad. But what’s worse is the unfair consumption of a shared resource. That’s abuse, and it’s not fair to the rest of us.

  38. Sarah of Get Cooking says:

    While I wouldn’t want to pay more for internet access than I’m already paying, I don’t think it’s wrong for ISPs to charge users for how much they use. They are a business and exist to make money. While the internet should be available to everyone, heavy users should expect to pay more because they use more (and light users should be able to pay less). That’s how you would expect it to work with any other commodity.

    That said, prices should be reasonable, and I don’t trust most ISPs to know what “reasonable” is to a consumer.

  39. coan_net says:

    I now have Comcast (once they took over from Insight)

    I’m not sure how much I use – but the biggest complaint I have had was – WHAT IS THE LIMIT?

    I once got a call about me using too much bandwidth. I said, OK, so what is the limit so I can make sure I stay under it?

    They could never give me an answer – just said I needed to use less????


    Looking at the website linked, it sounds like 250GB is the limit for both uploading & downloading.

    Guess I will go and load a program so I can start to keep track of how much I upload & download…. only have until October 1st before this gets going it looks like.

  40. Roundonbothends says:

    Bitmeter by is a simple Windows application that will record your daily, weekly, and monthly network activity.

    • usa_gatekeeper says:

      @Roundonbothends: Thanks for the Bitmeter tip (from CNet). Downloaded it; nice compact monitoring program. Able to set up and track vs. Comcast’s 250gb (up & down) limit.

  41. Hawkins says:

    The best way to monitor your own bandwidth consumption is probably to upgrade your router firmware. I use the open-source Tomato, and recommend it strongly. It offers bandwidth usage stats by day, week, and month, plus cool real-time graphics. Plus it lets you do things like crank the power on your wireless transmitter, use Quality of Service, etc.

    It’s particularly useful if there’s more than one device on your network sucking down bandwidth, as it measures only the Internet usage (as opposed to local traffic).

  42. HalOfBorg says:

    1) I think that having stated limits is good in itself. Better to know the speed limit on the road your driving.

    2) There should be at least two tiers to home service. A ‘Basic’ user (150 – 200 Gigs/Month) and an ‘Advanced’ user (unlimited). I’d pay a reasonable amount extra to know I can DL 24/7 if I want to.

    3) If they are gonna impose a cap, they need to provide a simple utility to let YOU monitor your usage. No external access to it.

  43. SexCpotatoes says:

    250 GB lifetime cap -Muahahahaaha

  44. darkrose says:

    Comcast better pony up some free bandwidth monitoring tools or there’s going to be a pretty hefty lawsuit here, I can smell it.

  45. Hawkins says:

    I hate Comcast more than anybody, I bet (I’ll FIGHT you if you say you hate Comcast more than me).

    But as long as they’re being honest about the cap, I can’t fault them. And, because I don’t use anything like 250 Gb per month, I think that it’s a reasonable cap.

    If you’re consuming more than 250 Gb, then you’re in a whole different class of user, and should probably have a different type of account from me.

    • quizmasterchris says:

      @Hawkins: I don’t trust Comcast to be honest about usage or allow a transparency in tallying usage.

      I’m sure you all know Comcast can’t usually give you a straight answer about how much their services cost.

      Part of the evil of the cap is that when the corporation sold itself to places like Philadelphia as a monopoly, this sort of thing went unmentioned. Now they have captive audiences and the rules change? Pure evil…

  46. S-the-K says:

    I think the 250 GB limit is more than fair. It’s only fair that the top 0.1% pay more than the regular users. They consume more than everyone else, they have more leisure time than everyone else, they should have to pay a higher rate than the poor working people whose internet is sucked away from them by the evil 0.1%.

    In fact, people who use less than 5 GB shouldn’t have to pay anything, and people who use less than 50 GB should pay less than they are paying now. Why should the poor working class users subsidize the evil 0.1%? The 0.1% of users should pay double to make it fair.

  47. vladthepaler says:

    Honestly, I have no idea how much bandwidth I use/need. If they do implement this, I hope it’s accompanied with some sort of ability to monitor your network usage.

  48. axiomatic says:

    Once again…. us VPN corporate users are going to hit this silly limit all the time. Move enough 10 – 30 Mb Powerpoint slide decks around and you can hit this pretty fast. Some of us work from home. In fact my wife and I both work from home for a large PC manufacturer so we will hit this really fast.

    Oh well Comcast. There are other choices in my neighborhood finally. You sure you want to loose those guaranteed corporate employee reimbursement dollars?

  49. williehorton says:

    I’m actually glad to see this, and the first thing I did was print hard copies of the official Comcast page announcing the cap.
    We signed a two-year deal for cable, phone & Internet, and they just let us out of it.

  50. What The Geek says:

    I use dd-wrt on my router. I haven’t bothered setting up bwlog to keep track of my stats for me yet, but for the past hour I have been keeping tabs on my ambient traffic. That’s the traffic that comes from having two computers running, and an xbox 360. I’m not gaming on the 360, and I’m not downloading anything on the pc’s – this is just the ambient traffic of software checking for updates to itself, gmail checking to see if I have new mail, and other background processes. I’m averaging 2kb per sec, and that comes out to just over 5 gb per month. Not a very big chunk of the cap, but more than I would have guessed. That’s before adding in any of the things I actually DO on the internet in a day. Again, it all adds up in the end.

    • jackrex says:

      @What The Geek:
      I don’t think it’s polite to make it a point to say you download “LEGIT” stuff of the internet, and then tell other people to get off their high-horses. =)
      That said, I have two sisters who are heavy internet users and I play probably 20 hours of online games and I am also a heavy user. I notice bad speeds and good signals all the time. It’s doubtful, but I think I’d probably be affected by this.
      I’m really annoyed at all the program switching comcast sticks me (channels I get, etc…) with and this is also kind of annoying.

  51. chuckv says:

    If people find this cap restrictive to their internet usage, they will ditch comcast and switch to a company which doesn’t have a cap. If comcast sees too many people leaving, they’ll ditch the cap or raise it. If the future of the internet involves people watching large quantities of video online, comcast won’t be able to keep this cap and stay in business. 92% of Americans have 2 or more broadband companies offering them service, and 87% have 4 or more. The companies serving the unfortunate 8% can’t screw over their customers too badly or else they’ll be facing competition too. Ooh the beauty of the free market.

    • LionelEHutz says:

      @chuckv: And if all of the broadband providers have caps then consumers will have nowhere to turn to, so the “the market will solve the problem” nonsense is pure BS.

      These companies get to their customers by using municipal rights of way that are on publicly owned and private property. They shouldn’t be able to implement these caps.

  52. JusticeDemon says:

    I like how Comcast doesn’t check their own figures.

    First it says “excessive use” would be equivalent to:
    Sending 20,000 high-resolution photos, Sending 40 million emails, Downloading 50,000 songs, Viewing 8,000 movie trailers.

    Then it says “excessive use” would be equivalent to:
    Send 50 million emails, Download 62,500 4 MB songs, Download 125 standard-definition movies, Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos.

    Which is correct? I see a 10 million email gap and a 12,500 song difference…

    My fear is that this system will be arbitrarily enforced. I mean, if Comcast can’t call me back for a service issue, I don’t have much faith in getting the “Excessive Use Notification” call before my service is just shut off for a year. Not that I think I’ll go over the cap, but can’t a usage meter be built in to the Comcast site? My cell phone can tell me how many minutes I have remaining, why can’t my computer tell me how much bandwidth I’m using?

  53. parad0x360 says:

    I hate caps, I can easily blow through 250 gigs of 100% legal content in a month. However if they are going to cap im glad they are starting at a decent limit and maybe as the future tech that really pushes downloads further comes out then maybe they will raise it…of course they could lower it.

    I wont cancel my Comcast just yet, I have another option right now that might in fact be better but I dont know how reliable they are just yet.

  54. Brandon says:

    could this be considered anti competitive? since they offer movie rentals through on demand and they are limiting the amount of movies i would be able to watch from movie streams like netflix, apple, amazon, etc? They are cheaper than on demand but comcast is going to charge me because i like to watch movies?

  55. Tedicles says:

    I have a big problem with this for several reasons:
    1. Comcast is the ONLY high-speed provider in my area (not even decent DSL available), hence a monopoly on the local market
    2. I have no cable TV service, and use my internet connection to watch streaming TV and movies from such sites as
    3. I use my internet connection for large file transfer backups to and from my office and other 3rd party locations

    No, 250GB is NOT enough for me, and I would gladly use someone else if I were able to.

    Also, why brow-beat the small “0.1%” instead of offering a better deal to those who only check a couple of emails and use maybe 1GB per month?? If I were not using so much bandwidth, I would be up in arms; ie “Why do I have to pay as much as this other guy who downloads 200X as much as me?!?!”

    So far the price structure has been somwhat fair, I pay about $80/month with decent speeds. But only decent speeds between 11:30pm – 4:00pm, as every evening I am at home after work it slows down to a crawl. So tell me, Comcast, who is cheating who out of bandwidth here?!?!

    • Demonbird says:

      I’m with this guy on doing something about the folks who BARELY use their internet. My neighbors all of cox just like I do and I can’t think of a one who uses their highspeed for anything other than ebay or email.

  56. mantari says:

    Bill Gates: “Nobody will ever needs more than 250gb.”

  57. snowlock says:

    all i can say, is that $50+ per month connection shouldn’t have limits imposed.
    their service is expensive and it is my only worthwhile option,
    and even though i’m sure i don’t come close to this cap i don’t think it’s fair.

    create less and more expensive service teirs rather than blanket-capping usage,
    because if they say users consuming more bandwidth need management,
    that means users consuming far less bandwidth deserve greatly reduced pricing.

  58. psychos says:

    I got the same “you exceeded our invisible cap, no, we won’t tell you what it is” a while ago. Now, I think caps like this are unreasonable, but at least they’re defining it.

    But let’s do some quick, very rough math here… 250GB/mo is, averaged, 800Kbps (kilobits, not kilobytes.) Let’s call this 1 Mbps, or 1 meg. Buying transit in bulk quantities (multi-gigabit/sec monthly commits), one can get prices around $10/meg these days. Of course, that’s a 95th percentile price, while we’re talking average (or 50th percentile) here, so let’s fudge that to account for peak usage and bump it up to $20/meg. Now, these numbers don’t apply quite so strictly since Comcast does a lot of peering (lowering costs), operates their own backbone (could go either way), has the local cable plant to deal with (extra costs there), etc, but it’s a good, rough starting point. Let’s fudge the numbers further and call it $25/meg.

    By those very rough numbers (which I believe are a HIGH estimate), that 250GB “top 0.1%” customer is perhaps costing Comcast $25/mo in bandwidth at most, and the average customer is obviously costing far less. I don’t have that much experience with what it costs to run a local cable plant, but the backbone capacity, transit, and peering is a small fraction of what the average user is paying Comcast every month. (The cable plant has to be maintained for TV/phone services anyways; the Internet equipment at the headend is actually not all that expensive per-user anyways.)

    How about a more intelligent tiered system? Using their 6 and 8Mbps prices around here as a baseline (although some local areas have 16Mbps for the same price as 8, generally if FiOS is available):

    $42.95/mo – 6Mbps down/1Mbps up, 150GB cap, 20¢/GB overage (Plenty for the casual user)
    $52.95/mo – 8Mbps down/2Mbps up, 250GB cap, 15¢/GB overage (More than enough for the more savvy user)
    $62.95/mo – 16Mbps down/2Mbps up, 500GB cap, 10¢/GB overage (Quiet sufficient for the average Internet addict such as myself)
    $99.95/mo – 16Mbps down/2Mbps up, 2TB cap, 10¢/GB overage (Should satisfy a house full of 24/7 Internet addicts downloading HD content and game demos constantly)

    (Now, as for the sanity of selling 16Mbps service on a 38Mbps DOCSIS 1.1/2.0 system that’s shared by 100+ users, well, that’s another matter. I’m not sure it should even be legal to sell such an oversubscribed system. The area I just moved to, which only offers 8Mbps service and not 16, is obviously oversubscribed at peak hours.)

    Want to know one of the biggest reasons Comcast considers it abusive if you (legally or not) download a ton of HD movies every month? Because then they can’t try to sell you the same movie on pay-per-view.

  59. asten77 says:

    Well, it’s going to come one way or another, it seems. if they’re going to do it, I’d much rather it be 250 gig than 10 or 30 like some other providers.

    Still sucks though.

  60. Underpants Gnome says:

    So, are they going to lower the price on my 250gb/month service, since I shouldn’t have to pay the same for that as I did for my “”””””unlimited”””””” service, right?

  61. Overheal says:

    250GB is actually pretty generous when you think about it. When I was living in Ireland 6 months ago the average download cap per provider was between 10 and 40 gigabytes, with unlimited services costing around $100 US per month. The fastest speeds were 4Gbps; and the overage was charged by the Megabyte on some providers!

    No fan of comcast but download caps are nothing new and those aren’t bad thresholds by any means.

  62. shugo says:

    So we lost a couple hard drives in our raid about a month ago…We used 1292.10 GB this month so far according to tomato.


  63. Binaryslyder says:

    I wonder if this will allow people to jump out of their contracts, such as I.

  64. Cycledoc says:

    This is the foot in the door. You can expect the cap to be progressively lowered and the cost/gigabyte to slowly increase over time.

    If you have alternatives it’s a good idea to send a clear message when you are displeased. If you don’t, you are screwed.

  65. slowth says:

    I’m glad most of you think this cap is reasonable. Within the next few years, the bandwidth cap will periodically decrease, but the price will probably increase.

    “Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 – 3 GB” so in the near future we will reduce our bandwidth cap to accommodate our users.

    Let’s not delude ourselves, this is only the beginning. Unfortunately, I’ll end up starving myself for a few days a month so I can afford internet access.

  66. humphrmi says:

    Dear Comcast,

    When you call me begging me to switch from RCN cable internet (your cable competitor in Skokie IL) to Comcast cable internet, this will be the first thing we talk about.

    Then the answer will be no.


  67. josh42042 says:

    I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with several people at comcast.

    Most of them hadn’t heard of this yet, but understood it once i gave them []

    They don’t seem to be able to tell you how much bandwidth you used. Seems like they’re laying it on the customer to keep track of it.

  68. josh42042 says:

    which is retarded by the way. if they know when i go over 250 gigs, they should be able to tell me how much i’ve already used.

  69. lidor7 says:

    250GB (8+GB a day!) seems more than reasonable. Anyone who uses more than that each month really should be paying more. Those who can’t deal with the cap will leave and improve service for the other 99.99% of us.

    And what’s with the people who do all the math to figure that streaming music + daily movie downloads (really now? a movie a day?) only amounts to something like 3GB. I mean seriously, you listed all the most bandwidth-greedy habits you have and it doesn’t even amount to *half* your limit and you still need more? You could browse the internet and watch crummy youtube videos 24 hours a day and still probably not amount to 2 gigs a day.

    I could bittorrent 5 things, watch youtube while listening to Pandora and still not hit the limit. Not to mention that it’s unlikely anybody would be doing this for 30 days straight. I don’t see how anyone with a job or classes can reasonably hit 250GB a month (8+GB/day) consistently. This is clearly targeted at the .01% of users who are abusing their connection.

    And once they establish the cap, think they’re likely to raise it over time as the US’s network improves. I’d like to think that we won’t be playing network bandwidth catchup with the rest of the world forever.

    Comcast should release an app that monitors the amount of data transferred in a month for a couple months before implementing the cap. Then everyone will wonder why they bothered having a cap if they were going to set it so damn high.

  70. lidor7 says:

    Sorry to post again, but I just read what the Comcast website actually said. It looks like if you hit the “cap” they just call you and ask that you voluntarily curb your usage. Now whether that is what will happen in reality or not seems fairly irrelevant. Here’s an excerpt from Comcast’s site regarding this “cap”. Here’s what you’d have to do to hit the cap:

    * Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)
    * Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song)
    * Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)
    * Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)

    Good luck watching four movies a day (or three if you want to still send 13 million emails).

    • Xkeeper says:


      * Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)

      Eh? Since when were e-mails barely 50 bytes? Nice use of shoddy math, Comcast.

      Anyway, my own math:

      (250000000000 / 1024) / 30 / 24 / 60 / 60 = 94.190056

      250 GB (as in 250 billion bytes, like misleading hard drive box measurements) / 1024 (so it is now KB instead of B), / 30, 24, 60, 60; per day, per hour, per minute, per second. That’s 94.19kB/s.

      Your milage may vary.

  71. benbell says:

    My local news confirmed this at:


    “Comcast Corp., the nation’s second-largest Internet service provider, says it will set an official limit on the amount of data subscribers can download and upload each month.

    The cable company says it will update its user agreement on Oct. 1 to say that users will be allowed 250 gigabytes of traffic per month.”

  72. hairyseaword says:

    Couple of things.

    1.) How often is Comcast planning on revising this cap? 250 gigs might seem reasonable now, but it wasn’t that long ago that everyone swooned over 512k flash drives.

    2.) I wonder if this is part of a preemptive strike to protect their cable television commodity. They WANT you to watch your TV, and don’t want you using their cable to access competing products over the Internet. If you computed streaming television-style content as much as most people leave their TVs on, I’ll bet many non heavy Internet users would be hitting that cap.

  73. z4ce says:

    This is the beginning of the tiered internet everyone has been dreading. Call this “Phase 1”. Next, they will implement their own digital video rental site that does NOT count towards the cap (or itunes, youtube, etc will pay to not be included in the cap). This is how it works in Australia where the tiered internet has been a reality for a while.

    Hopefully the US is a competitive enough market to force them away from this.

  74. sleze69 says:

    Bye bye, comcast. Hel-LO Fios!

  75. Jevia says:

    Now I know why my husband wanted to sign us up for verizon fios. Sucking me into the DVR habit with a free one for 12 months too, damn them, heh.

  76. warf0x0r says:

    Did they identify if they’re going to give users the ability to see how much bandwidth they’ve actually used?

    That’d be like telling people not to go over 60 MPH and selling cars with no speedometers.

  77. psychos says:

    Who wants to bet that Comcast will ignore caps/forgive overage for anyone in a FiOS-wired area?

  78. gaya2081 says:

    Well I just talked to Comcast due to an unrelated internet issue and asked about the cap. They do not recommend any monitor yet they are still working on the implementation logistics. The rep-who was American-indicated Comcast plans on doing something to help their customer be aware of their usage. They also just found out tonight.

  79. GamblesAC2 says:

    I have Comcast so…yeah this is gonna kind suck..Luckly i stopped playing WoW recently.

  80. chartrule says:

    250gb wouldn’t be too bad. Sympatico caps it at 60gb for their middle of the road package and caps it at 100gb for their top package.

    the kicker is that sympatico counts your downloads and your uploads towards the cap amount

  81. gzusrox says:

    bendbroadband has a 100gb cap, and your charged if you go over. no other choices here except them, until fiberoptics comes in.

  82. Gannoc says:

    I hate this “top 1%” shit. You know what happens when those terrible, terrible top 1% leave/pay more? Well, now there is a brand new top 1%!

  83. tape says:

    Dear Verizon,

    Get FiOS into the City of Boston, pronto. I don’t see what the problem is; I WANT to give you money or your service. Enable me to give you money.


    P.S. I want to leave Comcast for FiOS because everything Comcast does is the exact opposite of what I want. The sole exception to that is “serving my neighborhood”; they do that, and that’s good. But I’d prefer it if you did it.

    • psychos says:


      Sorry, no FiOS in Boston or here in Cambridge. Too complicated to wire urban areas with fiber, unfortunately. So Verizon’s busy cherry-picking the richer suburbs (and even within those suburbs, the richer neighborhoods.) Unfortunately fiber optics didn’t exist many years ago when coax cable was being put in by Comcast’s predecessors.

      I’m actually kinda surprised about Cambridge, where I am (Central), though. I would expect the level of FiOS signups to be amazingly high compared to most areas. (Of course, they’d have to play their usual games and stick to Kendall/Central/Inman/etc, and skip areas like East Cambridge.)

  84. scoutermac says:

    Comcast is just evil. This is why we need net neutrality. Ya know.. the university I attended used to own a local cable company. They charged $5/month for cable tv and they had to sell it because they made a profit and the university was not allowed to make a profit. So when comcast charges $60 to $100/month for tv/internet and they claim they cannot make a profit.. someone is just lying and they are greedy.

  85. fluf says:

    Eventually everyone will have to be limited, there are many scaresayers who claim the current infrastructure can’t handle anymore bandwidth and companies aren’t interested in paying to update their hardware to accommodate the growing need.

  86. Jthon says:

    While having a cap sucks at least now Comcast has an established limit. That’s definitely better than the old we’ll kick you off for using too much where too much is not defined system.

    Also 250GB isn’t that bad, I consider myself a medium to high user. I stream lots of stuff from Hulu, play games, download demos, stream from Netflix and use internet radio and I doubt I use 8GB a day. But this would suck if I still lived with roommates and such who ALSO use the internet as much as I do.

    People with roommates or large net savvy families are going to be screwed the most by this deal. With 3+ people streaming TV, radio, gaming and heavy surfing I could see a 250 GB being very tight. Hopefully they have some sort of reasonable rate to go over the limit so large usage groups can get some relief.

    I’m also curious if Comcast has plans to increase this limit over time. Xbox Live and the Playstation Network have just added HD movie rentals and if you use them frequently I can see you hitting the limit pretty quickly. With other services also adding HD like Hulu, the TV networks, and iTunes Comcast’s limit could be too low.

    Especially if they plan to offer people access to that fancy new DOCSIS 3.0 network. With a 250GB/month cap having that extra fast internet connection isn’t looking like such a great deal.

  87. qmanol says:

    There’s always caps. And the reason for that is that to keep costs down, the ISPs sell the same amount of bandwidth multiple times since most users don’t saturate their bandwidth 24/7. Now that average utilisation is rising, you are either going to get cost increases or caps, because part of your current price is based on the fact that they can sell their bandwidth 20 times over.

    Of course, you can get zero contention plans,(usually for business) if you absolutely must have sole ownership over a piece of bandwidth, but of course that’s significantly more expensive since you don’t have 19 or so other users subsidising the bandwidth. You can saturate 24/7 with a plan like that though. We have one here, costs about 6-7 times what a home connection does.

    We have quite low caps here, always have, due to the woeful state of Australian broadband. I wish I could get a 250GB/mo cap. What our ISP does do is mirrors a lot of content which is then completely exempt from the cap since it does not use their Internet bandwidth. They run a Steam Content Server, a Sourceforge mirror, and other such things.

    Certainly there’s an element of greed here. But there’s also the fact that people are demanding more bandwidth than they used to, and the ISPs desire to not leave any bandwidth lie fallow has caught them in a tricky spot. They have to expand bandwidth and infrastructure in order to be able to deliver what customers think they already have. Even with the most benevolent company, you’re going to see some tightening of policies.

  88. LesterGaze says:

    In order to download the Internet on schedule, I need at least 7.2 Exabytes/month. I guess I should switch to the business plan.

    (actually, I get 4.5 down with Comcast here in Seattle, for which I pay $55.95 + $.27 state sales tax. this is not a bargain.)

  89. scootinger says:

    Cox (in Oklahoma City area) has had a 30GB/month limit in its TOS for years…when I found out about it I thought “what the hell?” however I have FAR exceeded it on MANY occasions and they haven’t complained to me or anything.

  90. DarkTide says:

    Reading a lot of the comments I see here, I notice a few things, a lot of you are focusing on worst case scenario. Lets look at the obvious here… Pandora stream radio… streams at what 256kbps?

    2.77GB/day * 30days = 83.1GB/month

    You an internet junkie?

    5GB/day * 30days = 150GB

    Couple of high def movies @ 7GB a movie?

    2HD Movies @ 7GB/movie = 14GB

    Grand Total = 247.1GB

    This is being extremely liberal with daily 5GB of random internet usage EVERY DAY and 24/7 streaming radio at 256kbps quality stream.

    Just some food for thought.

  91. dequeued says:

    All of you seem to be forgetting that comcast is the scum of the earth,and irredeemably evil.

    Last year, they capped my upload to 128K, and then, I called three different CSRs who all denied it.
    I said I was looking at the docsys settings and could see that my modem had been reprogrammed to limit my connection.
    After badgering them for over a month they finally restored my connection.
    And then they had the audacity to bill me for the full price that month!
    Personally, I think their other capping system is a racket, they want ot find any excuse they can to not deliver what they claim.

    Do any of you really think they are going to stop with 250G?
    First they will introduce this cap and no one will complain, and pretty soon comcast customers will be thankful for 20G a month.

    Think about it — what does comcast really want?
    They are a cable company, they make most of their money when people pay for on-demand movies, it literally costs them NOTHING to stream a video to someone’s cable box within their network.
    I can tell they haven’t been re-investing in their own infrastructure, television service is poorly compressed and filled with artifacts.

    They hate people like me who can download a movie, in high quality, from someone else over my internet connection.
    If they had it their way they would just outright block any type of internet video downloading and make you use their godawful cablebox for everything.
    And they would nickel and dime you for every domain you resolved on their dns servers, and charge you text messaging rates for sending email though their smtp servers.
    And American consumers would support this.

    It’s not as if there is a free market for internet service providers or anything like that.

  92. MrEvil says:

    The good news for the WoW addicts, or any other gamer for that matter, is that apart from patches there’s VERY little data transferred between the client and the server. Basically all you’re sending and receiving is posistional updates. It doesn’t require extreme bandwidth (though games gradually get ever-inefficient netcode), but does need low latency. I doubt in 40 hours a week of WoW you’d hit 10GB except MAYBE if a huge patch got published.

    However, this seems like the ISPs’ shot across the bow to the independent Vid over IP startups that are out there or will be coming soon.

    If you ask me, this “bandwidth shortage” that the ISPs seem to decry is a complete fabrication designed to keep customers as slaves to their legacy services. I’m sure Comcast wants you to continue subscribing to Digital cable rather than can your cable subscription in favor of a TVoIP solution from a third party.

  93. Mysterry says:

    UGH. Makes me want to go with DSL … since it’s between DSL or Comcast right now… Anyone has experience with Qwest’s DSL service in Minneapolis??

  94. Teknojunkie says:

    Just spoke to a Comcast rep named Cindy and their reps didn’t even know about it yet. I guess the tubes are ahead of the game.

    Anyway, Cindy talked with her management and informed me that they were still debating the cap, but would personally follow-up on it and have someone contact me to address my concerns. My main concern is that I have 2 VOIP lines, in addition to the fact that I telecommute, and I may reach that limit quickly with just VOIP. My employer is gracious enough to reimburse me for my internet expenses, but I certainly do not want to increase those expenses by either being charged overage fees or having toi upgrade to a more expensive Business plan.

    I’ve fired off an e-mail to Rick Germano, Senior VP Of Customer Operations, in hopes my voice will be heard. I strongly urge you to do so as well. Maybe with enough feedback, Comcast will rescind its policy.

    Here’s how to contact Rick:


  95. warf0x0r says:

    I wonder how this will effect people using Steam? I love digital distribution but downloading a 10GB game doesn’t seem like a good idea for these people when you can get it off the shelf for the same price.

  96. Xay says:

    Is Comcast including their own digital phone service in the 250GB limit?

    I’m glad I signed up with a local DSL service this week.

  97. Javert says:

    They should do a cap and trade system. I barely use maybe 50 GB per month. I should have the rights to the full 250 and be able to put them up for auction on eBay or through direct sale to whom I like.

    I am now encouraged to download, stream and do all that I can to reach 250GB. I assume that there will be an easy way to check your usage too? (Comcast, that was to you.) A simple button like on my cell phone so I know if I am approaching any limits.

    Cap and trade should rule since I am purchasing a block of data. Or, how about rollover data?

  98. StoneKitten says:

    This is America, we love unlimited. Sky’s the limit.
    Boneheaded move by Comcastic.

  99. red3001 says:

    if i exceed my bandwidth/transfer cap, I am not going to pay for any traffic from ads. and i want an itemized bill stating all traffic for the month. see what costs more, trying to get the itemized bills to everyone or trying to make their network better…

  100. Tedicles says:

    Isn’t this the same as having a phone line and telling the customer that they can only make 1,000 calls per month? If they offered service based on transfer rate, sure that is fair, but that is not what they are offering, not what they are selling and not what they are advertising!

  101. El Cainos says:

    Good God Almighty I hate Comcast. Due to some stock splits I ended up with both AT&T and Comcast stock. I sold both because I got tired of having anything to do with companies that apparently hate me. However, in Seattle, I’m stuck with Comcast, unless I want much slower DSL.

    Comcast works great – when it works. Every random outage is a problem with my modem (but it’s never a problem with my modem.) Between random outages, poor service, and now usage caps I hate ’em more every day.

    Good God I hate Comcast. I guess when your country is run by, and for, corporations, your best hope is to be bent over a comfortable barrel.

  102. Upload and Download or Download only?
    If it’s both counted… well… uh-oh.

    # August 2008 (Incoming: 154953 MB / Outgoing: 70142 MB)

    And believe it or not, I haven’t run a single torrent this month. Comcast is already excercising their shaping though on all forms of traffic. Apparently, “near DSL speeds” knock your download speed to 2mbits.

  103. Scazza says:

    Wow, people complaining about 250gigs? Dont EVER move to Canada. Most here are 60gigs on their HIGH END ones. Bell has 60 gigs on their 16meg fios service.

  104. ldavis480 says:

    When I moved to San Francisco my past readership of the Consumerist saved me the miserable fate that would have awaited me as a Comscat subscriber. Instead I went with a local cheap DSL provider (DSL Extreme)

    Since then I have repeated a clever acronym: JARNT BACS
    Just Another Reason Not To Be A Comcast Subscriber

    I’d rather go back to dialup than ever be their customer. If it’s any indication of how much I think Comscat stinks then keep in mind I am an AT&T customer.

  105. wookiewoo21 says:

    ok you people are confusing yourselves and are confusing me

    b = bit
    B = byte

    1 byte = 8 bits

    the comcast cap is 250GB which is gigabytes which is 2000gB

    at a 5/Gb connection downloading constantly it would still take about 10-15 DAYS of constant downloading to hit this limit. (with utilization at 100%)

    for all you gamers, games send very very little data (your talking about 70~80bits per packet per second) which to hit your limit on gaming you would have to play for about 7456540 hours….or 310689days….in other words, gaming makes little to no impact on your data limit (unless you factor in download able content…but a few megs and some KB on images…nah…)

    250gigs is a lot for an average user

    however HD content is the new thing…even if people don’t really understand the logistics of it and just want those 2 letters next to things (just like how people loved the word DIGITAL in the late 80s early 90s)

    if you want more bandwidth, pay for a business account and don’t make others suffer due to your net habits.’

    if you want the internet backbone increased so you can continue your habits and not affect others, write a letter to congress.

  106. some_stupid_nut says:

    I wonder how this will work around campus with students. Most places here have 3-5 people sharing one account. Sure will rack up points with everyone watching so much youtube.

  107. Bryan Price says:

    There is a reason for this, and it’s due to my home state.

    WMBB article.

    Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced his office has reached a $150,000 settlement with Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC and its affiliated entities resolving concerns over disclosure issues related to bandwidth use policies. Comcast will reimburse the state $50,000 for the costs of its investigation and will contribute $100,000 to fund future investigations on behalf of Florida consumers.