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3.3 Bandwidth & Usage

Why does Comcast manage its network?

Comcast manages its network with one goal: to deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers. High-speed bandwidth and network resources are not unlimited. Managing the network is essential to promote the use and enjoyment of the Internet by all of our customers. We use reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards. We also try to use tools and technologies that are minimally intrusive. Just as the Internet continues to change and evolve, so too, will our network management practices to address the challenges and threats on the Internet.

All Internet service providers need to manage their networks and Comcast is no different. In fact, many of them use the same or similar tools that Comcast does. If we didn't manage our network, our customers would be subject to the negative effects of spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of the service. By engaging in reasonable and responsible network management, Comcast can deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.

How does Comcast manage its network?

Comcast uses various tools and techniques to manage its network, deliver the Service, and ensure compliance with the Acceptable Use Policy and the Comcast Agreement for Residential Services available at »www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber/. These tools and techniques are dynamic, like the network and its usage, and can and do change frequently. For example, these network management activities may include identifying spam and preventing its delivery to customer e-mail accounts, detecting malicious Internet traffic and preventing the distribution of viruses or other harmful code or content and using other tools and techniques that Comcast may be required to implement in order to meet its goal of delivering the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.

Does network management change over time?

Yes. The Internet is highly dynamic. As the Internet and related technologies continue to evolve and advance, Comcast's network management tools will evolve and keep pace so that we can deliver an excellent, reliable, and safe online experience to all of our customers.

In March 2008, Comcast announced that it will migrate to a new network congestion management technique before the end of the year. (See more FAQs about that in this section.)

How will the new technique work?

The new network congestion management practice works as follows:

If a certain area of the network nears a state of congestion, the technique will ensure that all customers have a fair share of access to the network. It will identify which customer accounts are using the greatest amounts of bandwidth and their Internet traffic will be temporarily managed until the period of congestion passes. Customers will still be able to do anything they want to online, and many activities will be unaffected, but they could experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower, or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish.

The new technique does not manage congestion based on the online activities, protocols or applications a customer uses, rather it only focuses on the heaviest users in real time, so the periods of congestion could be very fleeting and sporadic.

It is important to note that the effect of this technique is temporary and it has nothing to do with aggregate monthly data usage. Rather, it is dynamic and based on prevailing network conditions as well as very recent data usage.

Will the technique target P2P or other applications, or make decisions about the content of my traffic?

No. The new technique is protocol-agnostic, which means that the system does not manage congestion based on the applications being used by customers. It is content neutral, so it does not depend on the type of content that is generating traffic congestion. Said another way, customer traffic is congestion-managed not based on their applications, but based on current network conditions and recent bytes transferred by users.

How does the new network management technique impact me and my use of the Comcast High Speed Internet service?

With this new technique, most customers will notice no change in their Internet experience. The goal of congestion management is to enable all users to have access to a fair share of the network at peak times, when congestion occasionally occurs. Congestion management focuses on the consumption activity of individual customer accounts that are using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. As a result, and based on our technical trials of this technique, we expect that the large majority of customers will not be affected by it. In fact, based on consumer data collected from these trials, we found that on average less than 1% of our high-speed Internet customers are affected by the approach.

How often does Comcast expect to use this technique?

Based on market trials to date, Comcast expects that select portions of the network will be in a congested state only for relatively small portions of the day, if at all.

During these trials, Comcast did not receive a single customer complaint that could be traced to this new congestion management practice, despite having publicized the trials and notifying customers involved in the trials via e-mail.

Comcast will continue to monitor how user traffic is affected by these new congestion management techniques and will make the adjustments reasonably necessary to ensure that our Comcast High-Speed Internet customers have a high-quality online experience.

Can you give me some "real world" examples of how much bandwidth consumption would be considered too much? For example, how many movies would I have to download to be affected by this new technique?

Since the technique is dynamic and works in real time, the answer really depends on a number of factors including overall usage, time of day and the number of applications a customer might be running at the same time. First, the local network must be approaching a congested state for our new technique to even look for traffic to manage. Assuming that is the case, customers accounts must exceed a certain percentage of their upstream or downstream (both currently set at 70%) bandwidth for longer than a certain period of time, currently set at fifteen minutes.

A significant amount of normal Internet usage by our customers does not last that long. For example, most downloads would have completed within that time, and the majority of streaming and downloading will not exceed the threshold to be eligible for congestion management. And the majority of longer-running applications, such as VoIP, video conferencing, and streaming video content (including HD streaming on most sites) will not exceed these thresholds either.

The point of the technique is to deliver the best overall online experience possible. The technique should help ensure that all customers get their fair share of bandwidth resources to enjoy all that the Internet has to offer and that includes surfing the web, reading emails, downloading movies, watching streaming video, gaming or listening to music.

How will customers know they are being managed?

We are exploring ways to create new tools that will let customers know when the management is occurring. In the short term, our efforts are focused on transitioning to the new technique as soon as possible.

We believe this sort of congestion notification should be an Internet standard and have been discussing this issue in technical bodies like the Internet Engineering Task Force. We believe the use of Internet Standards for such a real-time notification is important as applications developers can write for networks beyond the Comcast network. However we are planning to develop a capability that may enable a customer to see if they were managed in the past, though this is not yet ready for testing.

Does this technique apply to both Commercial and Residential services?

Yes

How is this announcement related to the recent 250 GB monthly usage threshold?

The two are completely separate and distinct. The new congestion management technique is based on real-time Internet activity. The goal is to avoid congestion on our network that is being caused by the heaviest users. The technique is different from the recent announcement that 250 GB/month is the aggregate monthly usage threshold that defines excessive use.

Is Comcast Digital Voice affected by this technique? What about other VoIP providers?

Comcast Digital Voice is a separate facilities-based IP phone service that is not affected by this technique.

Comcast customers who use VoIP providers that rely on delivering calls over the public Internet who are also using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth during a period when this network management technique goes into effect may experience a degradation of their call quality at times of network congestion. It is important to note, however, that VoIP calling in and of itself does not use a significant amount of bandwidth. Furthermore, our real-world testing of this technique did not indicate any significant change in the quality of VoIP calls, even for managed customer traffic during periods of congestion.

What about Fancast.com and streaming video or video downloads? What will happen to them?

During periods of congestion, any customers who are using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth no matter what type or content of the online activity (for example, it does not matter if the content is coming from a Comcast owned site like Fancast.com or not) may be affected by this technique.

Our technique also has no ability to determine the applications or protocols being used or the content, source or destination.

Does Comcast block peer-to-peer ("P2P") traffic or applications like BitTorrent, Gnutella, or others?

No. Today, Comcast does not block P2P traffic or applications like BitTorrent, Gnutella, or others as part of its current network congestion management technique.

It is important to note, however, that the current network congestion technique, which will be replaced by the end of 2008, may on a limited basis temporarily delay certain P2P traffic when that traffic has, or is projected to have, an adverse effect on other customers' use of the service. We do this because, in certain situations, that type of traffic consumes a disproportionately large amount of network resources.

Does Comcast discriminate against particular types of online content?

No. Comcast provides its customers with full access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer. However, we are committed to protecting customers from spam, phishing, and other unwanted or harmful online content and activities. Comcast uses industry standard tools and generally accepted best practices and policies to help it meet this customer commitment. In cases where these tools and policies identify certain online content as harmful and unwanted, such as spam or phishing Web sites, this content is usually prevented from reaching customers. In other cases, these tools and policies may permit customers to identify certain content that is not clearly harmful or unwanted, such as bulk e-mails or Web sites with questionable security ratings, and enable those customers to inspect the content further if they want to do so.

*This FAQ is via Comcast's "Frequently Asked Questions" about Comcast's Network Management: »www.comcast.com/customers/faq/Fa···nagement

*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.

by Johkal See Profile
last modified: 2008-11-02 09:00:59

The short answer is "yes." This has been a known fact for our members for years now and you will find below a sampling of the most recent discussions on the topic.

Do not post another thread on this topic. After reading the posts in the links below, if you're sure you have something new to add, post it here --> »The Bandwidth Limits/Congestion Management Topic


While not actually a bandwidth limits/abuse thread, this one may be of interest as a related topic ---> »Bandwidth Monitor for Computers-Suggestions?

Consider reading the following threads to see if your information has already been posted or your questions already answered:

»[Speed] CC Throttles my 8meg to 5meg-Powercycle Resolves It
»Is "measurement" subject to state weights & measurements law
»Today's Bandwidth Limits Thread
»Did anybody else get the new AUP in their email?
»Comcast 250GB limit
»[Speed] Comcast to throttle individual users; all protocols
»[POLL] Do you agree with Comcast's new AUP ?
»Comcast switches CNET reader to an unlimited account??
»Comcast has new Acceptable Use Policy besides the 250GB cap
»Comcast + Olympics = Termination?
»IMPORTANT: If you are planning on canceling because of caps
»It's official: Comcast starts 250GB bandwidth caps October 1
»Another bandwidth limits abuse discussion
»Got a warning from comcast? use tvtonic or utorrent?
»Comcast Bandwidth Abuse/Limits - Discuss here only
»Concerned about Comcast HSI download limits
»Data transfer limit not changed on 50/6 tier service in MN
»Got 'the call' again... haven't had internet for 8 months...
»Well it happened... large digital downloads
»[News] Comcast Clarifies Bandwidth Banning - Invisicap Revealed!
»[News] Comcast Shows How Not to Win Friends
»[Business] Comcast Bandwidth Bullies!
»Well Just Got my First Bandwidth Notice From Comcast.. LOL
»Washington Post On Comcast Caps
»Washington Post: Shutting Down Big Downloaders
»[Connectivity] comcast drops/ban my connection.....
»New information about bandwidth limits!
»[Newsgroups] Newsgroups How much is too much?
»Mysterious Caps?
»if you think comcast's unwritten download caps are bad.....
»Comcast gave me a number for bandwidth usage
»I got "the call" from Comcast. Another Cap story.
»I want Comcast to take my money. Any non-standard options?
»Invisible Cap Would Comcast suspend account without warning?
»[Connectivity] Contacted by Comcast Abuse Dept Today...
»What providers have the highest dl ul caps or no caps?
»Comcast throttling high bandwidth users secretly.
»How much is too much
»Abuse line calls us because we CONTACTED the business dept?
»Comcast Workplace
»Comcast cut us off
»[Connectivity] Class action against Comcast for not disclosing c
»You think Comcast is tough on caps? Check out Speakeasy
»Comcast again starts to cut off Internet bandwidth hogs
»[News] Comcast Terminating Service of Power Users
»Internet got cancelled
»[Connectivity] Account Suspended?
»Whine, whine, whine...
»Article on Comcast Download Limits
»[Bandwidth Abuse] comcast asked us not to use VPN
»Comcast & using too much bandwidth
»Comcast Admits Caps @ 200GB/month!!
»Comcast Bandwidth limit?
»Unlimited Bandwidth Entitlement - Who pays?
»Comcast Representitive said no transfer limit
»Any New Updates on Comcast Abuse Calls
»May have a problem after the Comcast switch....
»Comcast usage "Abuse"?
»Comcast Does It Again - HSI Cancellation
»Comcast abuse phone call.
»Booted from Comcast
»[Connectivity] Do Support and Abuse dept talk to each other?
»Got Calculator?
»Acct suspended - Abuse Dept?
»Comcast Suspend Service for "Security Reasons"
»[Split] A Bandwidth Cap Discussion
»Should I Be Concerned About Download Cap
»"monthly bandwidth limits"!?!?
»[Connectivity] My account was suspended for exceeding the in
»[News] Comcast imposing invisible caps again
»Is Comcast still sending bw abuse letters?
»[Speed] U/L and D/L limits? Caps? Etc.
»Anyone got "The Letter" or call since the upgrade?
»Comcast Bandwidth Exceeded Notice!!!

•Those are only a sampling of the most recent threads on this topic, just in case somebody thinks this is news to us. If, after reading all those, you honestly think you have something new to report or discuss, please contact a forum mod before starting yet another thread on this subject.

Archive: Bandwidth Abuse Suspension Information:

Q: Does switching to a "Pro" account keep you from getting the letter?
A: The following BBR users have reported getting the letter with a "Pro" account:
Reddking See Profile »Re: anyone got a letter on a pro account? jsbthree See Profile »Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspensio
Q: If I want to complain to someone, or ask questions who should I talk to?
A: A good source of information:
»A Resource Guide for Complaints Against Comcast
Q: How can I estimate my internet usage?
A: Try this tool:
»www.numion.com/Calculators/index.html
Q: How can I monitor my internet usage?
A: This thread has a lot of information about monitoring software:
»Banned Users Need Network Monitoring Software?
Q: What is the "limit"?
A: The following is a non-exhaustive list of people's reported bandwidth usage who have received a letter:
(Warning: Most of the reported numbers are stated to be estimates)
Reported usage is for a months time and the date is when the letter was received.
95GB Down 61GB Up
Irving TX, December 03?
»Re: Help Please..I got the dreaded "letter"
60GB Down 20GB Up
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspensio
60GB Down 30GB Up
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspensio
100GB Down 14GB Up
Los Angeles, CA, December 03
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension
110GB Down
Albuquerque, NM, December 03
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension
40GB Down 11GB Up
Millville, NJ, December 03
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension
180GB Down 10GB Up
Naperville, IL, January 04
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension
135GB Down 1.5GB Up
Monongahela, PA, January 04
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension
250GB Down
Manassas, VA, August 03
»Re: Comcast Bandwidth Exceeded Notice!!!
100GB Down 17GB UP
Philadelphia, PA, September 03
»Re: exessive use of service ----WHAT I DID TO GET
»Re: Comcast Account Suspended for going over "limi
80GB total
December 03
»Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension

Unconfirmed Comcast comments on what the limit is:
Q: What is the excessive bandwidth use threshold?
A: There is no predetermined bandwidth usage threshold. It is important to note that customers who are being contacted show bandwidth usage that skews quite disproportionately high as compared to overall average bandwidth use.
Q: About how much bandwidth are these excessive users consuming?
A: There is no predetermined bandwidth threshold. However, the amount of bandwidth that an excessive user may consume may be analogous to downloading 90 movies or 4,500 movie trailers in a single month.

»Comcast APU Customer Protocol!!

*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.

by sortofageek See Profile edited by Johkal See Profile
last modified: 2008-11-02 09:01:55

There are some guidelines in their Frequently Asked Questions.

More specifically, you may want to look at Comcast's Frequently Asked Questions about Excessive Use FAQ. (Thank you, hortnut See Profile for the latest list of most relevant FAQs.)

*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.

by sortofageek See Profile
last modified: 2011-01-21 01:17:52

Yes, we have seen those reported. Recent history is here, listed most recent to older:

» two Comcast copyrights infringement letters
»Comcast to start Monitoring ISPs July 1
»RIAA chief: ISPs to start policing copyright by July 1
»Copyright Infringement letter
»So I received two Comcast copyrights infringement letters.
»comcast issued a letter to me part 2
»comcast issued a letter to me part 1
»Comcast Network Abuse Email ? Are they allowed to do this?
»Notice of Claim Copyright Infringement?
»Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
»Should i be worried?
»Comcast Illegal downloading note
»Nastygram Received
»Got a good one from comcast
»Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement
»[Connectivity] Contacted by Comcast Abuse Dept Today...
»Notice of Claim of Copyright Infrigement letter
»Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright
»Comcast usage "Abuse"?
»[Speed] NE Philly / Abington = 25 mbits!
»Notice of Action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
»Comcast disconnects for using P2P
»Copyright email...
»[E-mail] Comcast DMCA notice
»126 "Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement" Emails
»Comcast is spying on me!
»Question about Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement
»DMCA copyright E-mail from comcast? Help me please!
»DMCA Violation
»Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement

small>*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.

by sortofageek See Profile
last modified: 2012-05-29 10:16:13

From the Comcast.com website: Comcast

• Click the "My Account" tab.
Enter Email & Password of your Primary Account to sign in.

• You should be on your "Overview" tab.
Click "My Services" tab.

• On the right you will see the "Equipment" pane.
Under the listed Modem, you will see "Data usage"
Under "Data usage" you will see "View Details"
Click "View Details" for your 3 month usage graph & current usage.

*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • This was very well explained. I had no trouble finding exactly what I wanted to know from Comcast's site. Thank you very much for your help.

    2013-06-29 07:56:10



by Johkal See Profile
last modified: 2013-06-29 11:47:51

Comcast provides a Data Calculator to help you estimate how much data you are using.

Xfinty Data Calculator

by Johkal See Profile

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

by Johkal See Profile
last modified: 2013-01-08 18:04:46

Comcast will be launching multiple trial approaches, and here is an overview: 

In the Nashville, Tennessee, market, Comcast will increase their data usage allowance for all tiers to 300 GB per month and also offer additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 per 50 GB). 

In the Tucson, Arizona, market, Comcast will increase their data usage allowance for XFINITY Internet customers subscribing to the Economy tier through the Performance tier from 250 GB to 300 GB. In addition, those customers subscribed to the Blast! tier will receive an increase to 350 GB, those subscribed to Extreme 50 will be increased to 450 GB, and those subscribed to Extreme 105 will be increased to 600 GB (see info. below).

XFINITY Internet PackageNew Data Usage Allowance
Economy300 GB
Economy Plus300 GB
Internet Essentials300 GB
Performance Starter300 GB
Performance300 GB
Blast!350 GB
Extreme 50450 GB
Extreme 105600 GB

In the Fresno, California, market, Comcast will begin trialing a Flexible-Data Option specifically designed for casual or light Internet users who typically use 5 GB of data or less a month. This option will be available only to Economy Plus customers and will provide a $5 credit if a customers total monthly data usage is less than or equal to 5 GB per month. However, if a customer that chooses this option uses more than 5 GB of data in any given month, then she will not receive the $5 credit, and will be charged an additional $1 for each gigabyte of data used over the 5 GB included in the Flexible-Data Option. 

In Central Kentucky, Savannah, GA; Jackson, MS; Mobile, AL and Knoxville, TN Comcast will begin a trial which will increase their data usage allowance for all XFINITY Internet tiers to 300 GB per month and also offer additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 per 50 GB). During this trial, XFINITY Internet Economy Plus customers in these markets can choose to enroll in the Flexible-Data Option which will modify their data usage allowance from 300 GB  to 5 GB, and provide a $5 credit if their total monthly data usage is less than or equal to 5 GB per month. If customers choose this option and uses more than 5 GB of data in any given month, then they will not receive the $5 credit and will be charged an additional $1 for each gigabyte of data used over the 5 GB included in the Flexible-Data Option.

Comcast believes that the approach they are taking with their data trials is fair because it means those who use more pay more and those who use less can now pay less.


*This FAQ is based on user knowledge from a volunteer core of BroadbandReports' members. This FAQ in no way constitutes official information from Comcast or any of its affiliates.



by Johkal See Profile
last modified: 2013-11-16 09:34:50