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Redefining 'Unlimited'
'Please don't cross this invisible line'
by Karl Bode 01:37PM Friday Aug 15 2003
In the broadband universe, the term "unlimited" usually means the exact opposite, as heavy Comcast downloaders are the latest to discover. This letter has apparently been making the rounds among some of Comcast's more bandwidth hungry customers. It warns them that they're violating the company's acceptable use policy, but fails to give them a hard number as to how much bandwidth usage is too much, or how they can become compliant. Like with so many other providers, Comcast marketing material uses the mysteriously flexible term "unlimited" as a selling point. The ensuing discussion in our Comcast forum is worth a read.

While the company's AUP does indicate users may not exceed "a maximum of one gigabyte (1GB) of newsgroup content in any one month", it doesn't specify the parameters of what they consider to be reasonable usage. It does however note that the company "does not routinely monitor the activity of Service accounts for violation of this AUP". Clearly only users gobbling down an obscene amount of bandwidth are being notified, but setting clear limits is a necessity (ditching the term "unlimited" from sales material wouldn't be a bad idea either).


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ravital
Just Another Pesky Independent Nh Voter
Premium
join:2001-07-19
Merrimack, NH

2 recommendations

reply to NunyaBidness

Re: Singled out

said by NunyaBidness:
does "Unlimited" have another meaning in your world?
to me "Unlimited" means that I shouldn't have to worry about hitting an invisible cap on downloads.

talk about download police
good grief

There is an adult meaning of the word, then there's the regular meaning. I'm never a friend of the cable providers, but this time they're correct. They thought they were addressing adults - so sure, they need to readjust their reality filters - but to an adult, unlimited means "as much as I can, not as much as I want" and it also means "not at the expense of impeding someone else who is paying as much as me for unlimited, and whose greenbacks are as green as mine."

That's what it means in my world.

This is like the fellow who complained here on BBR about a letter he got from Emusic.com - they also promise "Unlimited" downloads, and his gripe is that they sent him a letter similar to the above after he downloaded something like 300 full albums in one weekend and don't give a damn about other paying customers who want to use the service, he's some kind of Commander Data, gotta listen to 5 CDs all at the same time. Good grief indeed.

It's always going to be the craziest, nuttiest, most immature users who will prompt service providers to impose limits that are completely unnecessary for 99.999% of us, and who are going to end up impacting the experience for all of us.

Wanna stream 17 radio stations 65 hours a day? Buy yourself your own T1, T3, or T-whatever the hell it is this week, and stay out of the way of the general public, we don't deserve to be in your Olympian environment to begin with.

JonIrenicas

join:2002-06-22


2 recommendations

Unlimited Internet not Unlimited bandwidth wasting

"This letter has apparently been making the rounds among some of Comcast's more bandwidth hungry customers."

That's very misleading. It's only made it to one known person who admits may have downloaded more then half a terabyte in a single month. Also, the article doesn't state how much he said he may have downloaded nore does it state how he achieved such an enormous amount. The article sounds like a weekly BBR one sided (towards the file sharers) RIAA/Filesharing article.

"It warns them that they're violating the company's acceptable use policy, but fails to give them a hard number as to how much bandwidth usage is too much, or how they can become compliant."

This guy now knows streaming 6,7 or 8 high bandwidth radio streams at once 24/7 isn't acceptable. And he can correct it by not doing it. Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

"It does however note that the company "does not routinely monitor the activity of Service accounts for violation of this AUP"."

They monitor everyones bandwidth like all other broadband ISP's but they don't check if you're running a server and other such AUP violations. For all they knew this guy was using a wi-fi and sharing with a bunch of neighbors, which seems more realistic since you can't possibly listen to 8 radio stations at once 24/7.

"Clearly only users gobbling down an awesome amount of bandwidth are being notified"

This is just one person remember. There have been others who have said they downloaded 100-150 gigs with no notification.

"but setting clear limits is a necessity"

Why name a limit that no one will ever reach except for an idiot who feels the need to stream 5 radio stations on one computer and even more streams on another computer 24 hours a day 31 days in a month? It's like giving a 300 MPH speed limit on highways, no one will ever hit the limit except the most determined.

"(ditching the term "unlimited" from sales material wouldn't be a bad idea either)."

It says always on, unlimited internet. Not Always on, Unlimited bandwidth wasting.

[text was edited by author 2003-08-15 13:29:17]