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How Much Bandwidth Do You Consume Per Month?
And are you willing to be billed by the byte?
by Karl Bode 02:57PM Tuesday Sep 11 2007 Tipped by en102 See Profile
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With the media's recent rediscovery of Comcast's half-decade old practice of booting high-consumption users, our Comcast forum regulars are running a poll asking just how much bandwidth you consume per month (download an app like DU Meter if you have no idea). The discussion of broadband caps has re-kindled calls (mostly by industry) that we shift from a flat rate system to a billed by the byte bandwidth model.

Comcast continues to say their invisible caps only affect a minuscule portion of their userbase. Satellite provider HughesNet also insists that their FAP "Fair Access Policy" only has an impact on a "small percentage of subscribers." Cable operator Insight says they only take action in "exceptional cases of sustained usage at very high rates for long periods of time."

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The problem obviously is that such "extreme" usage isn't going to seem quite so extreme in just a few years. Check out DirecTV's upcoming broadband on demand video service, which hooks a user's DVR into their broadband connection in order to download high definition content. Legions of HD movie buffs are about to become "bandwidth hogs."

This looming surge in demand has the industry once again suggesting that it's time to migrate to a "bill-by-the-byte" business model. An exec for the CTIA (a wireless carrier trade group) insists that caps aren't the problem; flat-rate pricing is the menace:
"The problem for Comcast, as with other wireline and wireless ISPs, is how they have priced their good. Flat-rate pricing for Internet access and bandwidth use might have had its place during the development of the Internet, but as we move into the phase of ubiquitous access, and wide disparities of usage and file size develop, particularly on the more scarce wireless bandwidth side, long-term economic network viability and fairness demand that people pay for the bandwidth they consume."
The question becomes which U.S. ISP wants to be the first to try it? Which U.S. ISP wants to have competitors attack it for charging per gigabyte usage fees? Will users tolerate the migration to a bill-by-the-byte business model? That depends entirely on how much bandwidth they're eating each month.

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3 edits

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reply to psx_defector

Re: wtf?

In strong contrast, many of our larger cities are more dense than theirs. Isn't that ironic? Guess what, most isps in those countries DO NOT have caps. Sweden, Japan, Italy, Finland, Korea, etc etc all have fiber and no caps. Want to toss out that argument that they are subsidized. Go for it. I will then counter that our tax dollars SUBSIDIZE the teclos and cable companies in terms of tax breaks and incentives to build out. Par for par, we pay more than most and get far less.

Population Density by country if anyone is curious:

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ··· _density

By City:

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_se ··· _density

As you can see.. the argument that we are less dense than other countries is a fallacy. The U.S. is more dense than Sweden, Norway, Finland. Sweden as we all know is one of the top countries int he world for fiber. Better yet, many of our cities are more dense than some of the largest around.

My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Grand Rapids, MI

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reply to Jwobot

Re: Sale Ad's

said by Jwobot:

My ISP says:

Ultra 6.0 Mbps
The ultimate! Get that edge for on-line gaming. Stream video in minutes, not hours with our Ultra speed that⦡mp;#128;™s up to 100 times faster than dial up. Download large pictures in seconds, video clips in less than three minutes, and large feature-length films in about 20 minutes.* Our Ultra speed is the perfect choice for customers accessing video-rich website content.
Upload Speed 512kbps.

I have seen comcast ad's on tv that say pretty much the same thing. Why would they tell us to do this stuff if they complain about users doing it?
Theres a difference between saying you can do it and saying you can max out your line 24/7 365 days a year.