Comcast Rolls Out Data Usage Meter In Portland, Oregon

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 2 2009 7:17 PM
The residents of Portland, Oregon are the first lucky Comcast users in the country to get the chance to try out Comcast's newly deployed (and long expected) data usage meter. For users who have long been trying to guesstimate how close they are to their allotted 250GB limit and the overage charges that could result from using too much bandwidth, the meter should come as a welcome tool.

The meter is designed to be pretty simple to use. According to the Comcast Blog, the data is refreshed about every three hours. The median usage for most users is somewhere around 2-4GB each month.

Portland users can access the meter by logging in to Customer Central at and clicking the Users and Settings tab. Next, click View details in the My devices section (located toward the upper right hand of the screen) and you'll be directed to the meter page.

Right now, the meter shows the usage in the current calendar month. As time progresses, the meter will show the most recent three months of use including the current month. The meter is designed to measure all data usage over the cable modem.

Although no exact timeframe has been set, Comcast plans to roll out the data usage meter nationally after "a short period."

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depending on what your doing or how many pc's you have 250gb isnt a ton.....

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Dec 2 2009 10:59 PM

Yeah, 80% of the folks on broadband aren't going to care, maybe 90% but those that care, will REALLY care.

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Dave, I'm one of those that will REALLY care. Hoping FIOS comes to my neighborhood soon.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Dec 2 2009 11:28 PM

I agree Dave, but of those 20% of which 90% really care, how many are making money with that bandwidth? I would say probably 10%, so they can afford to pay a lil more for an extended cap. Those other users, half of them are most likely illegally selling or accessing data for sale and or personal use. I mean grabbing a could songs of a file share is one thing 250 GB worth in 30 days is a large amount.

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Fanfoot replied on Wed, Dec 2 2009 11:47 PM

About freaking time. When was it they said this would be rolling out? January? Its crazy how late they are with this, and of course most of us still don't have it.

I've actually been surprised the router manufacturers haven't jumped in with features to track your usage. Most home routers don't have the ability to do this as far as I can tell. Yes I know you can roll your own firmware on a Tomato router as long as you don't need 802.11n or ... No thanks.

As for how you can use this up? Typical "HD" video (actually 720p) from Apple or XBox runs around 6Mbps or so. Real 1080i would be quite a bit higher. 250GB is 92 hours of this stuff. Assuming you do nothing else, that would be 3 hours a day. Nothing compared to typical American TV watching, if you abandoned cable and just watched Over The Top services. And that's assuming you ignore firmware upgrades, Windows patches, game downloads, etc which would reduce this somewhat. And all legal.

Yes for now 250GB is a reasonable limit. If IP TV takes off though, it isn't going to be acceptable. And Time Warner's crazy 40GB limits are just nuts.

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Xylem replied on Thu, Dec 3 2009 5:11 AM

250GB sounds like a dream with the sort of speeds Comcast has. Here in India, Airtel is the biggest cheat. They have a 384KBps "Unlimited" plan with a 25GB Limit. If you go beyond that your speed drops to 256KBps and so on and so forth. Sick people. Though its not the same with all. Speeds are a major limiting factor and a 1MBPS connection can really get very expensive!! :( Sincerely praying for a low cost ISP.

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wil2200 replied on Thu, Dec 3 2009 8:59 AM

250G is such a joke

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The meter is a good idea if you are hobbled with restrictions as to how much you use. If my ISP pulled this crap with me I would switch to someone else. Let's face it, more and more bandwidth is required these days to use all of the fine new technology that's being offered to us to purchase. Without the bandwidth to use, what reason do we have to buy all of the techno-bling?

I have a DSL 10MBPS connection that's reasonably priced with no restrictions at all. I hardly ever use over 250GB in a month, but I have been known to use that much in a week. Big Smile

Comcast is a competitor to my ISP in this area, but I always steer people away from them when asked, just because of the bandwidth cap.

If they didn't oversell their service then they wouldn't need to throttle back their customer's usage. The money spent on developing this 'meter' should have gone into more available bandwidth. Angry

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Dec 3 2009 11:57 AM

>> I've actually been surprised the router manufacturers haven't jumped in with features to track your usage.

DD-WRT (free replacement Linux firmware that runs on many routers) does this on its Status|WAN panel.  When you rollover individual days, it will give you exact stats for that day.


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What realneil said. 250 GB per month would have been unimaginably large in the days when a web page was text and pictures; but then everyone had to throw in their way of making it look flashier than everyone else's, which means not only bad-looking pages at anything but default typeface size but also huge pages. For some reason web designers think they have to rewrite the OS on every single page. That adds up.

I'd also be worried about gaming. I honestly don't know the quantities of data that are transacted when you play an interactive online game, but I suspect it's significant; perhaps not for a lone wolf, but if you have more than one person on the line, it could suck up that allocation before the month was up.

I would prefer not to have a service that put such a limit on my use, but if I had to, I'd insist on an app like this. The alternative would be a huge surprise bill.

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