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Charter Preparing To Strictly Enforce Caps?
Updated: Charter confirms plans to Broadband Reports
by Karl Bode 12:38PM Thursday Nov 11 2010
Back in January of last year we were the first to report that Charter Communications would be imposing usage caps, though at first they were "soft" caps -- or only enforced in instances of extreme congestion. Though Charter executives are on record saying they'd like to go to a "usage based" model, earlier this year the company told Broadband Reports there were no plans to enforce the caps, though employees kept sending us e-mails hinting to the contrary.

As 2010 winds down, Stop The Cap says they've received e-mails from several Charter support reps saying they're meeting this week to make hard cap enforcement a reality:
Effective Nov. 16th, Charter will begin enforcing their Usage Cap policy strictly:

* Base Service: 100GB per month
* Plus & Max: 250GB per month
* Ultra: 500GB per month

Violators will receive two warnings and then face service suspension for up to six months unless they switch to a Business Class broadband product.
We've dropped a line to Charter for comment, and will post an update when we hear back.

Update: Charter has confirmed to Broadband Reports that they are implementing some "new programs designed to improve our high-speed Internet service" and in order to "continue providing the highest quality Internet service," they will start enforcing these caps. The company also says they're working on a usage monitor, and they'll begin implementing a new traffic management system that sounds much like the protocol agnostic system implemented by Comcast. Charter's complete statement to us:
In December, we will begin reaching out to a select group of customers whose use is excessive to make them aware of their usage patterns, to help identify possible causes (e.g., unsecured wireless routers or viruses) and review security options with these customers to reduce the risk of unauthorized Internet use. We are currently working on a way to present data usage to customers so they can self-monitor their bandwidth usage. Until we make that tool available directly, customers who are notified of excessive use will be provided a contact at Charter who can check the customer's usage throughout the month to help them better manage their Internet usage. If the excessive usage continues repeatedly, their Internet service could be suspended. Our intent is to prevent the very small number of users who are consuming excessive amounts of bandwidth from negatively impacting the experience for the majority of our customers.

In tandem with enforcing our "Excessive Use of Bandwith" policy, we will also introduce a congestion management policy to improve the Internet experience for all of our customers. Congestion Management will become part of our standard Network Management practices, and the policy will be protocol agnostic, which doesn’t distinguish among the online activities, protocols or applications a customer uses. It applies only during periods of congestion (which we find to be relatively rare). It affects only the heaviest users (less than 1%) in small time increments, who will have their bandwidth limited during times of congestion, however, no Internet activities will be blocked. We based this system on the "fair share" model described to the FCC in September of 2008.

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