You know, I'm getting a bit tired of the whole "unlimited" argument. Show me where in any form of print, web, or whatever, Comcast is selling you unlimited bandwidth.
Once upon a time they offered "unlimited access", back in the days when dial-up accounts gave you so many hours a month, and you paid extra for going over that. Kind of like the way cell phones are run now. Which with all the whining from the power users/bandwidth hogs is probably the way that we're going to wind up going. Didn't Rogers up in the great white north just institute a 100GB/month limit, with users who exceeded that being charged by the GB? Maybe Comcast needs to do something similar. Download too much porn/warez/"linux distros" and you pay extra. Or maybe just different tiers levels for different users. But people will probably whine about that as well.
Once upon a time they offered "unlimited access", back in the days when dial-up accounts gave you so many hours a month, and you paid extra for going over that. Kind of like the way cell phones are run now.
I remember those days of pay-by-the-minute -- that was also a bandwidth purchase.
* Funchords enters the way-back machine...
I remember that CompuServe used to charge per-minute one rate for a 110 bps connection, and a higher per-minute rate for a 300 bps connection.
Customers didn't like pay-by-the-minute, so the industry changed to pay-by-the-month.
When AOL switched to pay by the month, demand responded! Customers could not connect to AOL reliably for a couple of months! Suddenly people came out of the woodwork to sign-up, and users who previously were very careful about monitoring their online time extended their use of the service. The problem was so bad, that AOL's image was badly tarnished for a brief while -- some calling AOL "America Off-Line."
They eventually caught up, but they also rocked the industry. Pay-by-the-minute was dead, and the fledgling dial-up ISP business also exploded into life!
There were heavy users and light users then, too. Heavy users made sure that their dial-up connection never went idle. They used shareware/freeware applications so that they could ping different Internet sites and be "always on." Many customers tied up an incoming ISP phone line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers bought additional phone lines, because their online usage increased so much that it was interfering with their normal voice-use of POTS.
How did AOL and other ISPs respond to this crush of demand? -- they improved their service to handle it.
AOL made crazy profits as a result, and mom-and-pop ISPs sprung up everywhere trying to get a piece of the action!
Pay-by-the-byte is a dead idea. It isn't going to happen, there are too many alternatives, and history has shown the overwhelming demand for a pay-by-the-month model over a metered model.
And now dial-up is almost dead. Why? Why did people switch from dial-up Internet that essentially was always-on and unlimited? What was the difference? Someone offered better bandwidth at a price that was acceptable. And they called it, Broadband.
Comcast is in a fight with FIOS and DSL and the playing field is somewhere around 60%-70% of the people that live in a service area. Most customers are not necessary technical people, and they don't understand WHY 6 Mbps really means an average of something less than 1.34 Mbps (which is 450 GB/month). But the word is out that Comcast HSI does offer 6 Mbps, but they'll cut you off if you use too much of it -- they're quietly being metered.
That's a problem! Customers don't know a Kilobyte from a Megabit. Some customers (most that actually use very little of their bandwidth) are now worried because they perceive that they use it a lot. Customers are comparing these facts with the competition.
These "bandwidth hogs" are not evil people. They bought a service and they are simply using it. They stay well within the bandwidth limits that -- whether by fact or perception -- they bought. They're not uncapping their modems or using software or devices that give their connection an advantage. They're just using the internet!
What do regular, non-technical customers and prospective customers think about the nationwide articles that they've read? Customers are reading that Comcast promises 6 Mbps, but will cut you off and ban you for a year if you actually use less than a quarter of that.
As I said before, most of their customers are non-technical people. But I don't think that technical people really should be very accepting of this subtle redefinition of bandwidth that Comcast is pulling.
The more I examine the facts, the more I am convinced that Comcast is very quietly pulling a bait-and-switch routine, hoping that their FIOS competitors don't notice.
Bandwidth has two factors amount of data over a period of time. Comcast sells, for $42.95, as standard in most markets, 6 Mbps.
Cost of the service: $42.95 The amount of data offered: 6 Megabits Within an amount of time: 1 Second
Barring a customer's use that creates a negative impact on the service, there are no secondary limits or ceilings expressed in the offer. Ladies and gentlemen -- what technical person can't agree that this is AN OFFER OF 6 Mbps OF BANDWIDTH? There is nothing that I know of in history or tradition of online services that allows Comcast to define a service that is 6 Mbps of always-on Internet Access into something less than 1.34 Mbps with occasional bursts of additional speed allowed.
I'd be pissed if I was in the CATV industry -- because Comcast's seemingly hardline approach is calling attention to facts that suggest that DSL and FIOS are superior at delivering the services that they offer.
I'd be really interested in communicating this issue if I was a FIOS or DSL competitor looking for customers:
Comcast actually offers an average of less than 1.34 Mbps for $42.95 DSL actually offers 1.5 Mbps for $25-$30 FIOS actually offers 20 Mbps for $50-$60
Why on earth are any of the technically savvy people of BroadbandReports so quick to allow this redefinition of how the industry defines Broadband service?
Is greed a factor? Yes, but I think greed drives invention and investment. Greed is natural. But, we always must be wary that greed can drive someone too far -- like when someone accepts payment for one thing and then surreptitiously delivers something less. -- Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Hillsboro, Oregon USA Are you affected by Comcast's RST forging? How to test it! -or- Read my original report.
NO -- YOU SHOW ME, in any form, were Comcast states that 6 Mbps doesn't mean that I can access 6 Megabits every second of my always-on connection!
Other than the bandwidth mentioned in the tier, it doesn't mention any other fixed limits in the TOS/T&C/AUP/Subscriber Agreement/Abuse Policy.
This was as carefully worded as the ToS policy. Notice the use of "fixed" when people all know that there is no published "fixed" limit. Probably for many reasons including, marketing issues, avoiding having everyone run (limit - 1Kb) and the flexibility of slightly increasing or decreasing it depending on local circumstances without all the fan fare.
As speeds increases in broadband it is foolish for people to think usage will not need to be metered. I expect it will be metered in a fashion not to increase bills of 99% of the user base including gamers, heavy downloaders, people that work from home, etc. The 1% are way over the top users.
If you want to argue the letter of the ToS. Each side loses on that one, as each side is carefully wording their argument.
When you look at Comcast's website they only refer to "Speed" that you can download. Not how much you can download.
Frankly, I think that we're going to be arguing apples and oranges here. You have an expectation of service that Comcast isn't willing to provide. Or at least not for the current pricing structure. My expectation is that I'm always connected, get decently high speeds and can do what I need to do online. We can argue back and forth here, but we're not going to change each other's minds.
My opinion is that in the end, all the whining, threats of lawsuits, newspaper articles, etc is going to tell Comcast that we need somesort of metered service. For 99% of the users who fall well below the current "abuse" thresholds, we'll still be paying the base rate. For those of you who are using 300+ GB's/month, when the bill comes and it's $100+ for HSI only, we can start a new whining thread then.
I have the advertisement for Comcast unlimited access, just because you dont have it does not mean it doesnt exist.
the argument versus speed and capacity is stupid, why would you care about speed if you cannot use it? you dont need lightning fast speed to download e-mail and web pages. In a nutshell that's what comcast is saying by cutting people off, they dont want you to download jack.
If you want to offer high speed, then allow people to use it. Otherwise modify the terms of service and advertising.
That's the damn argument here, not the fact that people are "bandwidth hogs" change the advertising and TOS and there will be no argument.
What comcast is doing is oversubscribing and then slapping people around when it doesnt work according to plan. They dont have the infrastructure to support 100 percent high-bandwidth like the fiber guys do however they are offering it up.
"When you look at Comcast's website they only refer to "Speed" that you can download. Not how much you can download."
This is absolutely true, and is an important distinction IMO. Speed does not equate to data transfer. If Comcast is going to, as a monopoly in most areas here in the East, regulate data transfer by month, they should advertise and disclose what that data transfer limit really is.
"Most customers are not necessary technical people, and they don't understand WHY 6 Mbps really means an average of something less than 1.34 Mbps."
I am technical and I know why you believe what you do and how you got to that conclusion for bandwidth consumption. And I don't agree with it - it appears to me that people are getting tagged for data transfer, and it's not being called bandwidth consumption. Your 6Mbps only equates to what's possible on your speed - it doesn't cover the amount of data you're dowloading or uploading per day. Associating speed with data transfer is not accurate. One can have 6Mbps or even the 1.34 average and still download 100gig per day on a cable modem per day, especially if more than one person is file sharing or downloading video content in a given home.
The article quoted at the beginning of this thread mentioned EVDO - Verizon is doing the same thing as Comcast, since their agreement is also for speed, however they DO have some fine print which states data transfer should be within "reason" (whatever "reason" is.) When you get your bill for EVDO, you'll see they also track the amount of data transfer, and it's on your monthly statement. Why is it there? So later (actually now apparently) they can tag you if they feel you're over their non-disclosed data transfer reasonable limits. Why else would they track it?
Comcast should adopt the same model if they're going this way, publish what their limits for data transfer are and Verizon should stipulate what "reasonable" transfer is.
Paco: I think what we're arguing about here is people's personal definitions. You state that you have an ad from Comcast that states "unlimited access". To me, that means that I have the ability to connect at any time of the day or night and not acrue additional fees. You seem to be arguing (and please correct me if I'm wrong here) that SINCE the access is unlimited, that you should be able to MAXIMIZE the usage of it.
I fully understand this argument. I just don't support it.
Since Comcast doesn't require contracts, people have the choice of leaving to other providers. If other providers aren't providing service in those areas, that's not Comcast's fault.
What you are talking about is self-restraint. Who's talking about that? My car goes fast too, I have a house with electricity and I do have water. If I go to a buffet and pay one fee, I eat what I damn want. Their terms of service will state whether you can take it with you or not.
If you were a lawyer you would be fired pretty quick, you've got no argument. For the speed limit, the law pretty much defines that (that's one argument shot), for electricity you are metered thus not termed "unlimited" (another argument shot), and the law monitors your speed (another argument shot)
Paco: actually, all-you-can-eat buffets have been known to ask customers to leave who eat way more than the average person. Why? Because it's unprofiatable for the restaurant. Kind of like what Comcast has been doing with removing users who are using way more than the average user. It's the whole "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anybody" argument. So I wouldn't trot that one out in your defense.
Pretty much everything you do (except maybe breath) can be listed as "metered" these days. The more you use of something, the more you pay for it. Why shouldn't ISP's operate the same way? We're already seeing some ISP's start to go that way.
Other than the bandwidth mentioned in the tier, it doesn't mention any other fixed limits in the TOS/T&C/AUP/Subscriber Agreement/Abuse Policy.
This was as carefully worded as the ToS policy. Notice the use of "fixed" when people all know that there is no published "fixed" limit.
The reason I used the word fixed was because if Comcast wanted to be clear about about a second ceiling -- something that suggested that 6 Mbps was just an occasional thing but the actual bandwidth provided was less, it would be in there. It's not. -- Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Hillsboro, Oregon USA Are you affected by Comcast's RST forging? How to test it! -or- Read my original report.
If I could, I'd download around 5 or 6. Since a lot of the games on Steam are priced fairly well. Some are $30, some are even $10.
Right now, I'm not downloading a thing out of fear. I still haven't even installed the games I already bought on Steam since my old hard drive crashed. The remaining games on my not installed list may very well total 40gigs.
Please don't be discouraged from using your service.
In my experience, Comcast does not concern itself with how much bandwidth you use unless your usage begins to impact the network causing your neighbors to complain. In that event, the first notice you'll get is a warning.
If you need to do a large download (several GB), I think that you can avoid any impacts on your neighbors by downloading it during non-prime usage times.
Once your game is downloaded and installed, you do not need to worry about bandwidth usage. Game playing involves very little bandwidth compared to many other uses of the Internet.
In theory, most of these arguments in this Topic show that Comcast is punishing those that are guilty of simply using the service that they purchased. But the passion of the arguments pay lead you to think that Comcast is taking such actions unilaterally and frequently.
In practice, however, I've found that Comcast only takes such actions when the neighbors are complaining, probably because the downloader simply isn't aware of the shared nature of their Internet service.
I don't think that you have a reason to be concerned either way. But if you are concerned, just back off of your heavy game purchases and downloads between the hours of 6pm-10pm. -- Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- Hillsboro, Oregon USA Are you affected by Comcast's RST forging? How to test it! -or- Read my original report.
Paco: actually one incident that I know of personally involved several teenagers and their family, and the teenagers ability to pack it away. There was no loitering involved. But that's not what we're here to discuss.
You keep bringing up Comcasts advertisements. I haven't seen any ads in the last couple of years where they indicate the HSI is "unlimited." You seem to imply that you have. Can you provide us with a recent one?
Here's a bit of twisted irony for you all. Last week I got 'the call' right about the same time I was really beginning to dislike CC for using Sandvine packet forging. So...of course when I got the call, the got the usual run around when I'd try to pin him down as to how much bw I needed to cut to satisfy CC. Anyways...today I get this in the mail...seems all 8Mb subscribers in my area are getting the Blast! 16/2 tier upgrade for free. After reading stories of peeps getting 'the call' for 180GB a month then still being disconnected after reducing to 60 & 40GB (~87% reduction!), I was just gonna max my pipes for all they're worth then just change isps when they kicked me..after all, I'm beginning to wonder if ANYONE who gets 'the call' manages to retain their connection for long in any case. But in light of this upgrade I decided to install a BW meter and all but quit dling until I can get 'unflagged'...if that's even possible. Geez the irony...I get the call then a week later they double my connection speed for free..talk about giving someone enough rope to hang themselves..lmao.
Comcast has revealed some details about its mysterious bandwidth limitations. Previously the company had only said that it would shut down customers who went over what the company considered average use. But given that the company doesn't seem to have a definition of average use, it's difficult to know whether you're in danger of being shutdown.
@Mankind...a similar deduction was made attempted from an earlier CC quote saying what is too much with the phrase 'x number of feature movies'..but no video format is mentioned, is that dvd5, dvd9, divx (xvid), vcd...nothing. But the 'ol top .1% of bw consumers is the official rule..if there is one.
Has anyone here ever got 'the call' and managed to actually retain their connection by lowering their bw to the mythical 'acceptable' level? I get the feeling that once your flagged, you never get 'un'flagged.
All i know is if comcast sends me a letter then bumps me I will be the biggest thorn possible for them. Its just plain bad buisness practices. I would cancel all my services with them (about $170) and publically make it known what they do or have done to me in a local newspaper. I would also talk people away from there service. All in all thats a decent chunk of money they are loosing.
I've just signed on with verizon DSL, It's only 3mb download but it's better than nothing and better than getting cut off.
When my DSL is operational COMCAST goes bye bye. But that's no t the only thing going...All my digital cable goes too as I have already have an installation date for directv. I'm actually going to save about 60.00 a month on the whole shooting match since right now I'm over 170.00 a month for everything. COMCAST Sucks, I hope they enjoy loosing 170.00 a month, I've been a customer for over 5 years but I think that was 5 years too long.
Eventually...prolly sooner rather than later, CC is gonna have to address these issues (Packet forging w/ sandvine and the invisible cap). They are on the watch list of the EFF for their anti-seeding tatics using sandvine and now various tech web sites such as AnandTech are doing write ups about the invisible bw limit and customers getting cut off. Time will tell...the ball is in their court and the ref isn't very happy.
It's plain bad BUSINESS practice to MANAGE THEIR NETWORK THE WAY THEY SEE FIT? Why do you feel you can download as much as you feel you want for the small amount you pay? I hope Comcast gets wise and sets a 25-30 GB cap and kicks the abusers off permanently. We will all have a better experience then. -- I wasn't born with enough middle fingers.