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Comcast, Cox, Trot Out Their Worst 'Bandwidth Hogs'
681GB of upstream capacity used per month....
by Karl Bode 10:34AM Friday Jun 27 2008
As I've covered, Comcast will be changing the way they deal with users who consume "excessive" amounts of bandwidth on their network. Instead of using Sandvine gear to forge packets in order to disrupt upstream P2P traffic for all users, 24/7, the company will be using a new multi-pronged approach. Internally, the currently favored plan involves a clear 250GB cap, overage fees and increased DMCA enforcement.

Earlier this month they also began testing a throttling system that identifies the top two or three percent of bandwidth users and throttles their connections temporarily. Trials are currently ongoing in Comcast's Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Warrenton, Virginia, and Colorado Springs, Colorado markets. This week Comcast CTO Tony Werner had a tiny bit more detail on the company's new throttling project:
Comcast’s plan is to identify the 2% or 3% of customers who over the last hour or two have consumed more than 50% of the capacity on the network, Werner said. Those heavy users are then given lower priority and will have their bandwidth limited for a temporary period of time. However, Werner said, "even those who go to that lower state will be above DSL. So it’s not terrible."
Not terrible like say -- HughesNet satellite broadband, which throttles users back to between 7-14kbps should you violate their not so "Fair Access Policy". Both Cox and Comcast execs trotted out their networks' heaviest users in order to justify the use of caps and throttling:
Werner said some subscribers have used "in the 3-plus terabyte range—that’s not uncommon. They did nothing but download movies constantly." "You could watch movies for 12 years in the amount of data they download in one month.". . . One (Cox) customer used 681 gigabytes of upstream bandwidth capacity in one month. His upstream speed is 2.3 Mbps, which means he almost hit his theoretical maximum possible upload capacity of 710 gigabytes."
That customer wouldn't have violated the latest caps being implemented in Japan this week where 100Mbps fiber deployment is more commonplace. What precisely triggers Comcast's new throttling machine, what speed throttled users will see and how long they'll be throttled still hasn't been made clear -- but then Comcast doesn't plan to fully unveil this new system until the end of the year.

190 comments .. click to read

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1gbps is all the rage.
Astoria, NY
·Time Warner Cable

2 recommendations

reply to Nightfall

Re: 681GB, Oh, The Horror!

said by Nightfall:

said by pabster:

said by ElJay:

Sorry, but heavy users like you with the "I'm entitled to this" attitude are going to turn this into a pay per gigabyte thing for the rest of us. Even if it is not spelled out in the ToS, a $75/mo internet connection is not going to last for long if everybody uploads 1tb a month. That is insanity even if you cannot recognize it.
I should add that I do not upload that volume on data on my $75 a month connection. I do that on a business connection which costs considerably more. But if I wanted to throw a few hundred gig out of my home connection, I should be able to. If they don't want that, quit selling "Unlimited Internet" and spell it out in black and white. These games are getting old.
A business connection is not valid here. They are not being touched. As for you throwing out a few hundred gig out of your home connection, you still can. 250gb is a hell of a lot for a month.
Me and my family can eat up 250gb easily. 3x Itunes - 1x Rhapsody, 1x Netflix (myself), SteamPowered x2 for my Son and I. World of Warcraft x2 - Wife users Shockwave games and GameTap. We don't upload, unless its due to the crappy Blizzard patching system, but we can easily hit that 250gb cap, all doing legal forms of entertainment.

Now persay, a new Computer comes in with a new hard drive. You know how huge SteamPowered games are? Bioshock, HL2, Ep1, 2 - GTA etc.. we're talking in the 3-5gb range per title.

Cap the upload, not the download.

Can you do Blu?
Hercules, CA

3 recommendations

reply to gatorkram

Re: Boohooo

They sell you a 6-16mbps line for $40-$50 per month and you expect it to deliver wide open volumes of bandwidth?

What color is the sky on your planet?

Go price a 10mbps line that is designed to run 24/7 at full on speeds and volume - it aint $50!
Think outside the Fox... Opera


Waterloo, IA

2 recommendations

reply to 88615298

Re: 681GB, Oh, The Horror!

"This dude was UPLOADING 24/7..."

BFD. So do I. I backup roughly 800GB or so to Mozy on a regular basis. Stop it with the "illegal" nonsense that folks are so fast to trot out. There are plenty of legitimate uses for LOTS of upstream bandwidth. I probably did over 1TB upstream in the last month.

If they want to provision and sell service with time-limits...like uploads only during certain hours or other arcane restrictions, fine. Sell it that way and make it clear. Otherwise STFU. I don't pay for my connection a few hours a day, and I'll use it as I see fit.



3 recommendations

reply to 88615298
No, No, No. He is a dealer of rare and hard to find linux ISOs.

Laguna Hills, CA

6 recommendations

Again, they mislead people

They talk about 681GB of usage, and then talk about their real plan.

Their plan has NOTHING to do with 681GB usage.

said by Comcast :
Comcast’s plan is to identify the 2% or 3% of customers who over the last hour or two have consumed more than 50% of the capacity on the network, Werner said
So it's a FAP that applies on 1-2 hour periods and has nothing to do with 681GB usage. It could be a one time thing and you get traffic shaped.

You could use 10GB and be affected by their new traffic shaping.

Sure looks to me like a direct attack on competing video services. Those video services rely on timely delivery and constant throughput after the initial buffer. What this system could do is empty the buffer 1/2 way through your rented movie or internet VOD program. A few times of that and who would want to bother renting a movie online. They'll go back to cable VOD.

Very sneaky.


2 recommendations


I think throttling heavy users during peak times is a great idea. There is a lot of time during the 24 hour period where there's a lot of idle bandwidth not being used, let the people who download "linux distros" use it at that time. When everyone gets home and begins emailing, youtubing, myspacing, etc then slow those torrent / usenet downloads down.

One thing is for sure, 600GB+ of upload is very excessive for a home user. If they're going to use that much, they should pay for a business class account.
"I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies." Thomas Jefferson