Comcast argues their 250 gigs a month cap on broadband usage is more than enough to satisfy 99% of their users.
I don’t understand why Comcast is punishing 99% of us for the bad behavior of the one percenters.
The Comcast cap is not about user abuse — Comcast is pushing for a mulligan on the “Double Billing for Bandwidth” matter that I raised here on January 11, 2006 — because they don’t want you downloading HD movies from Amazon or iTunes at 2-3 gigs a pop without having you pay more to them for that convenient luxury, but they can’t quite figure out a way to properly tier you by priority, or you or charge you more, so they instead wish to punish you for even thinking of becoming a mega-content downloader.
Comcast also doesn’t want you streaming video to your computer without them getting some sort of reciprocal benefit in return.
The Internets will only become richer and more immediately bandwidth intensive as the future unfolds, and Comcast doesn’t want you to have any part of that better experience unless, of course, you’re streaming their Pay-Per-View videos or paying extra for their VOIP service.
Oh, sure, Comcast will give you a 16BM “blast” download pipe — but what good it the extra speed when they limit how much you can download a month?
The Comcast Straw Man ploy begs the old “Bait and Switch” dime-store routine: Faster download speeds mean the quicker Comcast can cut you off each month for enjoying their online competitors too much.
With Comcast setting the punishing new standard for the web experience, and Time-Warner Cable following their tacky lead, we are being pushed back to the Bad Old Days of combining ISDN “A” and “B” lines — billed at two pennies per minute per line — to get a 128K download speed.
Comcast won’t tell you how much bandwidth you’re using a month — they’ll just cut you off when you hit 250 gigs and if you go over your allowance, you cannot buy more. You’re out. If you go over your limit twice in six months, you are cut off from Comcast for a year!
Comcast falsely argues the burden of knowing how much bandwidth you are using a month is yours. They point you to their ridiculous online FAQ that explains you can only buy tiered speed — not more bandwidth — and that you have to monitor your own usage:
We know they know how much bandwidth you use on a second-by-second basis because they plan to cut you off when you reach the cap.
Why is Comcast playing coy with your online life?
Comcast doesn’t want you to know how much bandwidth you’re using because then you’ll be more conservative.
Comcast cynically knows most people won’t know how to meter their own broadband usage — and so they’ll skip that video call with mom or not download that new HD movie from iTunes because they really don’t want to go over their allowance and risk getting cut off and placed on six months probation.
Or, ever worse, Comcast believes if you know how much of the 250 gigs you’re NOT using, you’ll use more to get “your fair share” — and they don’t want 99% of us coming anywhere near out cutoff limits.
I can’t wait for the day when a user gets unceremoniously cut off and calls customer service to complain:
CUSTOMER: Hey, I only used 100 gigs!
COMCAST: Oh, no you di-in’t! You used 250.001 gigs!
CUSTOMER: But I meter my own bandwidth.
COMCAST: Your meter is wrong!
CUSTOMER: But you won’t let me see your meter. How do I know how much bandwidth I’m really using?
COMCAST: That’s for us to know and for you to find out! Bwa-ha-haaar! We are Comcast and you are cut off!
I can also login to my at&t account and see precisely how much data bandwidth I am using every day. I can manage and meter my data usage based on at&t’s system. I am not forced to find my own bandwidth meter.
Who knew it would take Comcast bandwidth restrictions to make me appreciate at&t billing?
Here’s the hard line that Comcast boils down for your current internet usage — and forget about taking advantage of multimedia video streaming in the future — you won’t be able to afford to participate without the fear of getting cut off:
- No third party VOIP like Skype or Vonage
- No Deaf Video Phone conversations
- No Video on Demand
- No Multimedia Streaming
- No Online Games
- No Telecommuting
- No Gmail All Day Long
- No more working online with an “always on” connection
The future of broadband in America is quickly going down and back into the Dark Ages.
Comcast has effectively frozen the Internets forever in today because customers and content providers won’t want participate in or create the “Next Big Thing Online” because they will risk being cut off for using too much bandwidth.
America once led the world in technological advancements with the birth of the “All You Can Eat” internet connection, and now, it looks like Comcast is pressing us under so Japan, and the rest of the world, can continue to surpass us in broadband speed, convenience and easy access to content.
Bandwidth limits are bad for business and really bad for the freedom of a wandering expression.
If if video killed the radio star, then Comcast just killed the Internet revolution in its crib.