The rumors are circulating that Comcast, the company that shuts you off for using too much bandwidth but won’t tell you how much too much is, may be imposing a 250GB cap on all it’s users. And, if you go over 250GB, they will charge $15 for every 10GB you go over.
“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%).
The FCC recently slapped Comcast around for using Sandvine’s equipment to throttle P2P traffic. At the same time, there was a public relations storm brewing over the same thing as well as their policy of shutting off customers for crossing some arbitrary line in the sand over bandwidth usage. Customers who cross the limit are sent this disconnection letter, which fails to tell the user how much consumption is too much. When pressed, Comcast refuses to clarify.
While I support Comcast’s right to manage their network how they see fit, I do have some concerns over how this is headed. Typically, there are only two or three options available to a potential customer. They can choose their phone company and what ever DSL resellers are available. They can choose their cable company, typically Comcast, Cox, CableOne, TimeWarner, etc. Finally, they can choose DirecTV or whatever it’s called now. Yes, there are a growing number of wireless providers out there who serve primarily rural areas where no one else wants to. The fact is, you are usually limited to just a couple of businesses to choose from. If one of those suddenly gets the idea to start charging for bandwidth overages, what will the other do? Will they choose the competitive stance and say “We won’t screw you like that?” or will they fall in line and start doing the same thing?
And that, my friends, is the question. What will the others do?