Tell me more x
, there is a new speed test available. Give it a try, leave feedback!
dslreports logo
story category
Comcast 250GB Cap Goes Live October 1
Updated: Comcast confirms our story...
by Karl Bode 09:30AM Thursday Aug 28 2008
Back in May I broke the news that in addition to throttling back high-consumption users to "DSL like speeds," Comcast was considering implementing a 250GB monthly cap as part of their shift toward "protocol agnostic" network management. Despite consumer grumbling, that plan is in fact now moving forward. Sources tell me that Comcast will officially announce that they're implementing this new system starting October first.

Originally, the source indicated Comcast was considering charging $15 for each 10 GB over the cap customers travel. A press release should drop shortly confirming whether this is still the case. The source claims there was also consideration of a new system whereby users who received more than four DMCA letters in a twelve month period potentially faced account suspension. That's a risky move I would imagine won't make the final cut.

"The intent appears to be to go after the people who consistently download far more than the typical user without hurting those who may have a really big month infrequently," says an insider familiar with the project, who prefers to remain anonymous. "As far as I am aware, uploads are not affected, at least not initially." According to this source, the new system should only impact some 14,000 customers out of Comcast's 14.1 million users (i.e. the top 0.1%).

While we won't be sure this is still the case until we see Comcast's plan, the original source indicated that Comcast was considering giving customers one "freebie" every twelve months in regards to the cap. In other words, you'd be able to consume more than 250GB once a year, but consecutive months with violations would result in you getting a wrist slap. Obviously there's lots of questions here, not least of which are whether Comcast's own content counts against the cap, or whether customers will be provided with a usage meter.

Comcast this morning wasn't ready to divulge anything yet, telling me simply to "stand by" when contacted for official comment.

Update: I've confirmed the October 1 start date for the cap with additional sources, and have seen documentation making reference to the plan. Interestingly, this information makes no mention of overage fees or increased DMCA enforcement, which might suggest Comcast decided against those additional measures at this time. It appears that right now, the primary goal is simply putting a very clear number on Comcast's long-standing glass ceiling. That should please those customers who've been complaining about this invisible cap for years. More information shortly.

Update 2: Thar she blows. Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas directs my attention to their updated network management website, which confirms the October 1 cap launch. From the website:
250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of data, much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis. Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 - 3 GB. To put 250 GB of monthly usage in perspective, a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song)
* Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)
* Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)
Measuring your caps by e-mails sent is a little lame (though increasingly common). That said, 250GB is a generous cap, particularly when compared to the 5-40GB caps being considered by companies like Time Warner Cable and Frontier. It's good that customers will no longer have to guess how much usage constitutes gluttony, and it's great to see that Comcast left the overage fee concept on the cutting room floor (for now). The site says that Comcast customers should see notification in their bills shortly.

354 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments

My views are my own.

2 recommendations

reply to powerspec88

Re: 8 GB per day

Yup... and in this economy and world.. if you wanna play, you gotta pay. 1080p is something that isn't necessary.. and I have to agree on Comcast on this one - and ALL ISPs.. Everyone is trying all they can to do an online business which is often cheaper to them to operate with out all the brick and mortar costs.. so, if you think about it, the ISPs are being expected to handle the load, see no increased revenue for it, and what do they get in return? bitching? No wonder why they love you in return.

While the online vendors have lower costs than BandM businesses do, there is still going to be a shift in expenses.. the ISPs are the ones that have to absorb them. While the internet may be assumed to be getting cheaper, the cost to keep up with everyone tossing something on the net, in hopes to defer costs or save money, it just throws the burden elsewhere.

What do you want the ISP to do...? sit back and accept it? if you were the CEO, everyone here would be attacking you because you'd be doing the same thing, cutting...

each ISP out there will ultimately shift to this method in the future.. yes, even the beloved Fios. why? because of what I said above.. it's the ISP that has to absorb the costs.. as soon as Fios is done being built, you wait and see.. their costs will either go up, or they will ration the internet like Comcast is doing.

Jewett City, CT

2 recommendations

reply to Trinijoy

Re: Ummm...

As far as HD movies go... let's say the typical h264 movie is 5GB. (the type of quality offered by iTunes, Xbox Live MarketPlace, etc)

Let's say you use 50GB a month for other traffic.

200GB in streaming = 40 movies. More than a movie per day.

40 movies purchased from Xbox Live, PSN or iTunes = $250 a month for movies.

Even if you decided to pay for the additional bandwidth from Comcast to stream more movies the price would dwarf what you're spending on the movies themselves.

Tavistock NJ

1 edit

2 recommendations

reply to IM1811

Re: 8 GB per day

said by IM1811:

That's the problem. Uninformed comments like this.
My typical "day" at home may include 1-4 full length movie downloads via Roku and\or Xbox360. Possibly a game or 2 downloaded on the 360, as well as a couple of South Park HD episodes. I also LOVE my ITUNES, try to back-up my files on a regular basis, and I may watch a little Megarotic from time to time.
And how do you find time to watch everything you are downloading?
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?