On Thursday Comcast announced
a 250 GB cap for their broadband service. We applauded the fact that they finally gave some transparency to their "hidden" cap, which had always snagged a few users, without telling them exactly how much their use should
be, but then we realized: where's the meter?
Time-Warner Cable is currently trying out
metered service in Beaumont, TX. Their caps are lower, but they do provide one thing: a page you can go to in order to check your usage.
And what's interesting is the response you get if you ask Comcast about any plans for a meter:
Charlie Douglas, who is Director of Corporate Communications for Comcast's Online & Voice Services, and who wrote us back yesterday when asked about the cap, says the following:
There are numerous free or fee-based meters that are widely available on the Internet to anyone who wants one.
Ah, OK. So if we want to know our usage so we don't go over your
have to pay for that as well?
He's right, you can find meters that you can install on your PC that track your usage. But, ahem, how many of you have only one PC at your home using the Internet? Perhaps some, but plenty of you use a router and have a one or more PCs for your children, a PC for yourself, etc. etc.
Not that easy to track usage if you have to track them across a tool on each PC. We couldn't find anything that could do that. So I guess if we really wanted to track my usage, we'd be pulling out a calculator and manually adding up stats across different PCs.
As we said earlier, the odds of people running up against this cap right now are small. 250 GB is pretty generous. But as more and more "attractions" such as Netflix, Olympics on the Go, and Disney.com pop up, we Americans will inevitably use more and more bandwidth each month.
So Comcast, at least give us a tool so we know when we are going to hit the cap, will ya?