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Comcast Expands Usage Cap Trials Further
by Karl Bode 10:06AM Tuesday Dec 03 2013
Comcast has slowly but surely been expanding their usage cap trials, predominately in less competitive Southern markets. Portions of Maine and Augusta, Georgia appear to be the latest market to face caps and overages. Augusta locals tell the local media they were surprised to suddenly see they had a 300 GB cap and had to pay $10 for every 50 GB they travel.

Comcast has also tinkered with providing a $5 discount if users agree to a 5 GB usage cap and $1 per additional gigabyte overages.

"If you’re in that tiny minority of people where you use that much data and you would like to use more, this is now the fairest and most flexible way that we believe we can implement," Comcast tells the paper.

telcodad See Profile directs our attention to the fact that Comcast's cap FAQ indicates that they're also expanding these usage caps into Maine (another uncompetitive market) starting this month.

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SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

2 recommendations

Because it wasn't broken before.

quote:
"If you’re in that tiny minority of people where you use that much data and you would like to use more, this is now the fairest and most flexible way that we believe we can implement to extract more money from your wallet," Comcast tells the paper.
ftfy

anonome

@verizon.net

Re: Because it wasn't broken before.

Well, they've got to do something to convince people that how much one customer uses actually has some affect on their neighbors' Internet experience!!! I mean, that's the whole point of their crap faq (no, that's not a typo ). Anyway, what's wrong with charging customers again for the same service that they've already paid for? If they don't like it, then they can just cancel it and get service from someone els... wait a minute!! I see a problem...
tabernak

join:2013-08-10
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·AT&T DSL Service

Re: Because it wasn't broken before.

There is some truth in the fact that what your neighbor consumes impacts you. The reason residential internet is cheaper than business internet is because of the fact they are able to oversell to the consumer.

That model is great until they oversell too much or you get too many hardcore users on a node. Unfortunately we have no idea which tends to be the case as they don't share that info and we have to take them at their word. I suspect they are price gouging more than anything.

If they really want to do caps there's probably a good argument to simply start making consumers pay per GB at something reasonable like $.10-$.20/GB so the hardcore users are no longer subsidized by the light users. Or you could pay more to be guaranteed a certain capacity like businesses do.

anonome

@verizon.net

Re: Because it wasn't broken before.

Which is another way of saying that 50 customers in a small neighborhood all affect each other when trying to use their connections at the same time (which is normal), but nothing about 1 customer's usage affecting anyone else's usage (because it doesn't). The huge majority of customers with "high" usage hit the levels they do because they're using their connections when those around them aren't (to any real degree). As always, Comcast is full of crap (as is any ISP with caps & overages).

Toguro

join:2003-10-23
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

XBOX ONE/PS4

What will happen when people start buying games and movies on their console and 2 games eat through a 1\3 of their cap in a day.
Right now 300 seems like alot but in a year when all these new toys make it into people homes will Comcast increase there caps again.

NodeSplit

@comcast.net

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

Gamers doing massive downloads, overloading local nodes, need to pay more so that local node splits can be financed.

trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

2 recommendations

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

Oh bullshit, DOCSIS 3.0 was supposed to make it so that node splits were the last and final option. Most DOCSIS 3.0 modems support up to what? 8 bonded channels and with some of the newer ones capable of 16.

All Comcast has to do is turn up some more DOCSIS channels and expand from 8 to maybe 16 channels. Instantly fixed.

DOCSIS 3.0 and the new 3.1 was supposed to fix this crap and make usage caps absolutely unnecessary. This is a money grab, pure and simple.

Oh no! The EXAFLOOD! WHAT EVER WILL WE DO!?!? LMAO
--
Tom
Tom's Tech Blog
raythompsontn

join:2001-01-11
Oliver Springs, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

said by trparky:

All Comcast has to do is turn up some more DOCSIS channels and expand from 8 to maybe 16 channels. Instantly fixed.

Not quite. Comcast would also have to upgrade the node to handle the additional channels. Even with channel bonding there are only so many channels to go around. Why should you get 16 channels while I only get 8 channels for the same price? Oh, wait I know, you're special.

Bandwidth is a limited resource, laws of physics. Look it up.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

You don't "get" a channel, you are "assigned" to a channel to LOAD BALANCE. If they add new channels they do so to load balance users.

In fact for slower speeds (15 or less) the TWC tech I know says that they monitor your usage for a month and then bond you to a SINGLE channel, even if you have a DS 3.0 modem. And there are lots of legacy users still on DS 2 modems out there (my rents for example).

As to laws of physics, the coax limit is the Shannon-Hartley limit, and if you look at DS3.1 they begin to add things like FEC and LDPC and they haven't even gotten to turbo codes or which increase the bit limits/freq even more. Current coax runs can go into the Gbits/sec, the question is what your operator wants to spend to get you there, the law of "PROFIT"
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

2 recommendations

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

said by elefante72:

In fact for slower speeds (15 or less) the TWC tech I know says that they monitor your usage for a month and then bond you to a SINGLE channel, even if you have a DS 3.0 modem.

That makes no sense at all. What would they accomplish by doing this? It's automatically load balanced across all the DOCSIS channels, regardless of your provisioned speed, forcing the modem to a single channel would defeat this behavior.

Additionally, I live in a Time Warner area, and I haven't seen a single DOCSIS 3.0 modem limited to one channel. I'm the geek that hits 192.168.100.1 at all my friend's houses, so I can see their signal levels, and I think I would have noticed this by now. Heck, on Motorola Surfboards you don't even have to hit the status screen, the LEDs change color when channel bonding is in effect....
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

I am only telling you what he told me, and he was obviously using incorrect terminology. He said that even though it is bonded, they only send traffic UL/DL one channel in each direction which I took it to mean that they assign a Primary DS. It does make sense if they are stacking a bunch of DS2,0 modems to specific channels.

That won't show up on your Moto...

What they do is assign a primary DS channel and enable DCS. I have been out of that space for a few years... Because of overhead, they probably keep DS2.0 modems in the first few channels depending upon node splits, and a big reason why TWC wanted 8 channel modems, because if they were ever to convert to Sec DS they needed 8 channel DS modems. I don't know what Comcast does, but probably similar. Now I hear 16 channel is hitting the street.

With that said this was a year ago, and he was drunk! I'm sure as they move more people to DS 3 modems, they can tune that down because of the overhead and convert more to secondary DS.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

The "primary" channel is simply the channel that transmits signalling information, which can consume a LOT (upwards of 40% in some environments) of the available capacity. A D3 modem bonded to multiple channels will use all of them for data, simultaneously, as the CMTS attempts to maintain similar traffic ratios across them. It may get more data on channel A than channel B, if B has higher utilization for whatever reason, but it does use them all, per the D3 specs, which are publically available if you're really bored.

D2 modems need to be balanced, best practice is to put them in channels that D3 modems use for signaling (i.e., the "primary"), that way you keep traffic-only channels to maximize D3 throughoput.
cooperaaaron

join:2004-04-10
Joliet, IL
Does Comcast have 3.1 hardware ? Or are they just installing and replacing older 2.0 hardware for 3.0 ?
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
The splits can be financed by the profits Comcast already makes. You realize the arm billions every year, right? Their customers already pay them for Internet access. Why the devil should anyone pay them any more?

espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Vitelity VOIP

1 recommendation

said by Toguro:

What will happen when people start buying games and movies on their console and 2 games eat through a 1\3 of their cap in a day.

If you're buying games for your brand new game console at a pace to blow through your monthly data cap, the $10/50GB overage is merely a blip on the radar for the cash you'd be hemorrhaging.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: XBOX ONE/PS4

Oh well that's a wonderful justification for comcast's uncompetitive money grab.

telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3

1 edit

In Maine now also

This FAQ page on the Comcast Support site says the 300 GB monthly data usage allowance trial has also been extended into Maine as of Dec. 1st: »customer.comcast.com/help-and-su···launched

EDIT: Also on the MCN site:

Comcast’s Usage-Based Broadband Trial Reaches Maine
MSO Charging Extra When Customers Exceed Their Monthly Data Thresholds

By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News - December 3, 2013
»www.multichannel.com/distributio···e/146989

gate1975mlm
Premium
join:2001-09-30
Philadelphia, PA
kudos:8

Usage Caps then its bye bye Comcast!!

If Comcast brings back the Usage Caps to my area which is Philly then I will more then likely switch to Verizon FIOS which has no caps! FIOS just arrived in my location this month

So I dare you Comcast just bring the Caps to my area and watch how many people drop comcast for Verizon FIOS!

buzz_4_20

join:2003-09-20
Limestone, ME

Re: Usage Caps then its bye bye Comcast!!

The painful truth is that for now, if you have an alternative provider the cap will not be coming to your area for quite some time.

If customers don't have an alternative it's easier to keep putting the screws to them.

Qil Comcast

@google.com
You're acting jubilantly as if Comcast and Verizon aren't in cahoots in the grand scheme of things.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Usage Caps then its bye bye Comcast!!

One of the many benefits of fibre. No node splits.. Even 500 links can go to 4:1 and none the wiser...

And there is no reason they can't traffic shape if they need to, not like they have done in the past..

And lets not pretend 300GB is some magical number that will bring the world crashing down. We already average 600GB a month.

No way Comcast brings this to competitive areas anytime soon. Verizon will eat their lunch if they are smart..

300GB just happens to be the number the quants figure the median user will use in 2015, just in time so that they can milk their DS3.0 gear and have overages pay for the new 3.1 gear.

In Canada, they have already figured out the scam. Many of the third-party companies have unlimited caps in the wee morning hours and that is when people do their game downloading, P2P, anything that would rack up bits on the meter...

Those who argue node splits, need to understand a 300GB cap does little for prime usage. Do you think 16 year olds are worrying when they are consuming media and games?

Put plainly, HSI is vastly profitable, and caps are just a way to make more money from the declining ARPU from people downgrading their TV packages. In fact HSI is AT LEAST 3-4x more profitable per dollar, so if they can get you to downgrade $20 on your TV and they substitute that $20 in overages, it's like a $60-$80 ARPU bump on profitability (or more). ITS GRAVY....

TWC sends $20 of everyone's bill back to dividends every month, so figure that one out...
fieroloki

join:2007-07-29
Van Alstyne, TX
FiOS has a cap. Just stupid high 10Tb cap.

telcodad

join:2011-09-16
Lincroft, NJ
kudos:3

Re: Usage Caps then its bye bye Comcast!!

said by fieroloki:

FiOS has a cap. Just stupid high 10Tb cap.

Yes, see: »Verizon Cracks Down on 'Excessive' FiOS Users and »Verizon Probably Should Stop Advertising FiOS As 'Unlimited'

IowaCowboy
Want to go back to Iowa
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

My usage is around 40 GB per month

My usage isn't out of control because my video comes in through that big metal thing on my roof called a satellite dish. You DO have a choice in video providers, it's called DirecTV/Dish Network.

You don't always have to take your ISP's video offering, but they penalize you for not doing so. The caps are designed to lock you to their video but you can always go the satellite route and tell them off on their video offering. I like the picture quality better on DirecTV as well.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

whfsdude
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Re: My usage is around 40 GB per month

said by IowaCowboy:

You DO have a choice in video providers, it's called DirecTV/Dish Network.

In many urban areas this isn't an option. Eg. living in an MDU or historic laws preventing satellite dishes.
BlueC

join:2009-11-26
Minneapolis, MN

Re: My usage is around 40 GB per month

said by whfsdude:

said by IowaCowboy:

You DO have a choice in video providers, it's called DirecTV/Dish Network.

In many urban areas this isn't an option. Eg. living in an MDU or historic laws preventing satellite dishes.

Living in an MDU does not make it impossible to get DTV/Dish. There are many system operators out there that can install one set of dishes on the roof, and have it service the entire building over coax. It's commonly done.

DTV/Dish have their own MDU-specific system operators for that reason.

IowaCowboy
Want to go back to Iowa
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast
said by whfsdude:

said by IowaCowboy:

You DO have a choice in video providers, it's called DirecTV/Dish Network.

In many urban areas this isn't an option. Eg. living in an MDU or historic laws preventing satellite dishes.

MDU is a tricky situation, that is where the FCC OTARD rules kick in. If you have a private porch or balcony, then you have a renter's right to mount that dish on there but you are SOL if it don't face the satellites.

I live in a duplex and mine is mounted on the roof. Mine was installed before the current landlord purchased the building from the larger complex but you should see all the dishes on that larger complex, it looks like a dish farm.

I think if the roof needs to ever be replaced, i'll probably go with a pole mount and mount it in the yard. The landlord is pretty lenient but I wouldn't want to pierce a brand new roof.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD
40GB? These days, that is equal to precisely ONE game - and there was just a Steam / Amazon / Origin sale to boot.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
Click for full size
Which seems to be about my average when I'm not gulping down Netflix.

My 95th Percentile: 0.16mbit/s. Please, tell me why I should pay the same as someone with a 95th Percentile in the double digits.....
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: 16GB here in the last month.....

Uh... Because bandwidth isn't a limited, tangible, perishable substance and Comcast doesn't pay by the byte? They pay per mbit, and burst traffic is what really affects node congestion. We all get that you're a cheapskate and would like to pay as little as possible even if everyone else is screwed in the process, but please stop pretending to be ignorant.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

Re: 16GB here in the last month.....

said by sonicmerlin:

Because bandwidth isn't a limited, tangible, perishable substance and Comcast doesn't pay by the byte? They pay per mbit, and burst traffic is what really affects node congestion.

You did catch the part where I mentioned my 95th Percentile number, right?

Bytes are "free" (sort of), but bit/s are not, and customers with a higher average bitrate require more investment in infrastructure than those with a lower average.

I would rather see 95th Percentile billing or something similar (electric utilities have been doing this for years, see "demand billing"), but the masses wouldn't be able to understand it, so we're stuck with pure usage based billing. It sucks, from both a fairness and efficiency standpoint, but it's arguably fairer than people like me paying the same monthly rate as those with totals in the terabyte range.

said by sonicmerlin:

but please stop pretending to be ignorant.

Nice way to elevate the dialogue.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
Uh... No. It's burst rate, or peak bandwidth used during peak hours that matter. D ultimately the cost of bandwidth is a fraction of expenses, and ISP capex has been dropping every year.

Johnnybegoo1

@myvzw.com
»mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSB···irpc=932

Wish it was possible in great Country of USA!

caseywor

join:2004-04-19
Birmingham, AL
Reviews:
·Charter
·Mediacom

WOW!/Knology in Augusta

Does WOW!/formerly Knology have usage caps? It's actually not accurate to say that Augusta doesn't have competition because much of the area has been served by Knology, now WOW! for years as an overbuilder. It is interesting to me that they would try this there, unless the competition has caps. I am not sure, I think Uverse is available in Augusta, of course, they have a lower cap at 250GB if I recall correctly.
SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Re: WOW!/Knology in Augusta

Yes they do.

BiGdUsTy

join:2005-10-20
Panama City Beach, FL
kudos:1

Re: WOW!/Knology in Augusta

WOW/Knology in Panama City never had caps. I was a long time customer of Knology until WOW wrecked it. I switched to Comcast shortly after and have been happy. But if they put that cap in here I'm headed right back.

syslock
Premium
join:2007-02-03
La La Land
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..

Fair and Flexible?

>>this is now the fairest and most flexible way that we believe we can implement," Comcast tells the paper.

Is that what your stock holders are telling you to say now?
Its not about thier customers, its about revenue on the books for the stock holders.

noc007

join:2002-06-18
Cumming, GA

Where can we provide feedback?

A trial implies they are looking for data back. Are they just looking at how much extra revenue this generates? I doubt the outsourced CSR making a crappy wage has enough motivation to pass along a customer's dissatisfaction with the new caps.
GTFan

join:2004-12-03

Re: Where can we provide feedback?

said by noc007:

A trial implies they are looking for data back. Are they just looking at how much extra revenue this generates? I doubt the outsourced CSR making a crappy wage has enough motivation to pass along a customer's dissatisfaction with the new caps.

It's not a trial even though they call it that, it's a slow rollout designed to get people used to caps again. AKA the old put the frog into a pot of water and slowly heat it up trick. This way they can sidestep the hit that TWC took when it implemented caps across the whole footprint.

IMO that this is all about recapturing lost video revenue from cord-cutters, and that our gov't is asleep at the wheel when it comes to regulating oligopoly wired HSI markets. They're going to get away with it because not enough people will protest, and because they don't have effective competition in the areas where they're doing this.
NeoandGeo

join:2003-05-10
Harrison, TN

.

Thank you based EPB for forcing Comcast to not enforce caps in my area with some good ol competition!

anon18749

@comcast.net

And the jack boot on our throats and wallets continues forth

"Comcast has also tinkered with providing a $5 discount if users agree to a 5 GB usage cap and $1 per additional gigabyte overages."

Kill yourself Comcast, seriously, just kill yourself. I can't see how anyone wouldn't look at just that and laugh and be sickened at the same time, especially if they know how badly you're milking the system, or trying to. I can only hope that something will happen that bankrupts the majority of ISP's in this nation grinding Internet service as a whole to a halt in the effort of bankrupting these corrupt bastards and their secret handshake with the Telco's in most communities and calling it "competition".

I'd be willing to go without Internet for a year or however long is needed to put these monopolistic pricks in there place. There is no competition unless maybe you live in New York City or a select few major cities. The legions of hired lobbyists and paid off congressmen make sure crony capitalism continues.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:38

Re: And the jack boot on our throats and wallets continues forth

New York City is surprisingly not so hot. Verizon lags on FiOS deployments despite promises of uniform coverage, and Time Warner "we'll upgrade you to next-gen speeds when we want to" Cable dominates most of the boroughs.
catnapped

join:2010-11-22
Elizabethtown, PA
I believe at some point they want most people on that 5GB plan and plan on steadily jacking the price of the 300GB plans to ridiculous levels.

KOakaKO

@comcast.net

Subject

I'm in N. Alabama, which apparently one of these "noncompetitive test areas". My wife watches Netflix all the time. Haven't seen a bill rise yet, but what do I do if I do? Call a lawyer and spend money? Call a congressperson and wait for ten years? Call the local news and get laughed at? What can a person actually do?

We have Knology in this area, which I swore I'd never use again about eight years ago. I may end up breaking that vow, in the hopes that maybe they aren't owned by the same people as ComCrap.

But honestly, if ComCrap suddenly rewrites all the rules and sucks more money out of their customers... is there something that we're able to do about it that's less painful than a Supreme Court case similar to the one that broke AT&T into a dozen pieces? (Which I notice they've managed to slowly re-amalgamate into a bigger monopoly than ever before...)

Acuity

join:2002-06-22
Londonderry, NH

it's probably time to give FairPoint a shot

Verizon ditched my area when they sold off to FairPoint. Fortunately fiber was already laid out and FairPoint offers 30/15 for a good price. The downside is that I'm bundled and will need to pay more for TV, so I'll likely end up dropping Comcast all together.

I'll probably head to the forums when I'm looking for a good TV antenna to pick up Boston channels for the Patriots games. I'm not sure why Comcast keeps doing this retarded shit.

hskerwing

@comcast.net

I got a call today in Tucker, GA (Metro Atlanta)

They warned me about coming up on my data "cap". I called in because I thought my contract was "unlimited". She said it's a new policy and that they are allowing 3 months for people to get used to the new rules and that they would "waive" my fee this month. I do a lot of downloading and according to her I was over 1000gigs last month which would cost me an extra $140 when the waiver period is over.

I'm already looking around for an option to this. 300 gigs is not that much. I could cut back some on usage but not that much.