Comcast Announces 250 GB Broadband Cap

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News Posted: Fri, Aug 29 2008 12:51 AM

How many of you are aware of the 5 GB cap that Frontier DSL has imposed?  Or of the trials in Beaumont, TX that Time-Warner Cable is running?  It's only a matter of time before others impose caps.  And here we are, with a big ISP imposing a cap.  But really, let's be honest: this ISP already had one, just one that was hidden.

Today Comcast detailed its new "network management" policies.  Basically, they set a 250 GB cap on users, effective October first.  It should be noted that for years people have complained about a "hidden" cap that Comcast had, whereupon it would terminate a user's account without giving him or her exact numbers.  Now we have an exact number.  The question is: do you feel better or worse now? 

Comcast said:

We've listened to feedback from our customers who asked that we provide a
specific threshold for data usage and this would help them understand the amount
of usage that would qualify as excessive. Today, we're announcing that beginning
on October 1, 2008, we will amend our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) available at
and establish a specific monthly data usage threshold of 250 GB/month per
account for all residential customers.

So what they've done is bring clarity to the "hidden" cap, assuming, of course, they didn't lower it at the same time.  In reality, this is generous, when you consider Frontier's cap.  And there are no overage fees detailed.

Ah, but don't think you get off scot-free.  Comcast also says:

If a customer surpasses 250 GB and is one of the top users of the service for
a second time within a six-month timeframe, his or her service will be subject
to termination for one year. After the one year period expires, the customer may
resume service by subscribing to a service plan appropriate to his or her

They've detailed the punishment which was always associated with the "hidden" cap, so now we know what triggered past terminations.

What's interesting is that anyone who's been watching has seen a number of new services offered, just begging consumers to use more bandwidth.  Examples would be Netflix's Roku box, or HBO's download service, and that doesn't even count things like iTunes.  While few will run afoul of a high cap like this, as time goes on, more and more may actually be affected.  It's something we should all keep an eye on.  You can expect more, not less caps like this in the future --- and perhaps not quite such a generous one.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Aug 29 2008 7:14 AM
I never did like ISP's advertising "unlimited" and then cancelling you for overutilization. At least this way a competitor can come along and advertise a higher cap.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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warlord replied on Fri, Aug 29 2008 7:49 AM
This was bound to happen eventually

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shanewu replied on Fri, Aug 29 2008 10:27 AM
Cox, please please please please don't follow suit.

"Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me, the choice is easy." - Michael Scott (The Office)

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Glad to see them finally telling people about the cap thats always been there. The people that are going to win out in the end is going to be the companys that build out (i.e. Verizon) instead of setting caps because the video and downloads are only going to get bigger and when Comcast cuts someone for a year for hitting the cap they are not coming back to comcast every and that means no overpriced triple play packages either.

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A couple of questions: 1) Is there any way for the customer to keep tabs on his usage?  2) How much bandwidth does folding involve?

 SPAM-posters beware! ®

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1) not unless they do it with app on there computer. 2) Folding doesn't take much at all. Depends on how fast your computer is. The more WUs you finish the more it will download.

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