250 GB

As most have probably already heard, Comcast has announced offical bandwidth limits for residential accounts.  250GB per month – go over it chronically and the big bad bandwidth police are going to shut your connection down!

Yet they won’t provide access to bandwidth reports so you know if you should cut back for a while or not.  Nope, they’ll just be nice and let you know once you go over the limit.  Comcast – that’s like a car without a spedometer going through a speed trap.  Pathetic.

Sure, they mention installing software on your PC. Oh, but if you’ve got more than one PC hooked up, you need to install something on each of them and add it up!  This is rediculous, because they aren’t going to care what number you come up with; if they say you’re over their limit, that’s it.  Back to the spedometer argument – No officer, my car says I was only going 65! Comcast – open the system up and let us see what you think our usage is.

I particularly dislike how the limit is presented:

The company said 250 GB equals downloading about 62,500 songs, 125 standard-definition movies or 25,000 high-resolution photos.

All of this to elicit the response Oh my! nobody can possibly use all of that bandwidth, legally!  Shut those thieves down!

Put like that, 250 GB sounds like a lot.  Well Comcast, at last check I have 190GB of backups.  Now that my private wireless link to Jay’s house is no longer possible, I had planned on sending it over the internet to his house (and his data to mine).  190GB + Jay’s data is going to put me well over the limit.  Wonderful – now automated offsite backups aren’t possible.  Thanks guys, you rock.

And now on to some of the more broad aspects.

  • The United States is lagging far behind many other countries with respect to broadband internet – and our rank has been falling for years.  Great, this will help the situation.
  • It is more than likely that this is just the beginning of extra controls and limits.  We’re going in the wrong direction here.
  • Media, media, media.  In 2 years, that 250GB is going to go far less than it does today thanks to higher quality video and other media.  Can we get a promise this limit will be reevaluated every so often?  Doubt it.
  • How nice is it that they want you to use their on-demand video system, but want to limit your access to high-quality media if it’s coming from someone else?

So, Comcast.  What can you do?  I have a few suggestions (other than ditching the limit, because we know that isn’t happening, now is it?)

  • Re-evaluate and update these limits on a periodic basis as time goes on (say, every 6 months).
  • Offer unlimited storage and bandwidth to some of your local servers, avoiding the big expense of hitting the backbone.
  • Since you’re going to continue limiting, how about a reasonably priced option for unlimited bandwidth?  Sure I could pay more for a slower business connection with you, but I don’t need your crack support team.

We really need viable alternatives to Comcast.

3 thoughts on “250 GB

  1. Hope, thy name is Verizon FIOS…

    Speaking of backups, I need to check how much bandwidth my backups to Amazon’s S3 service are consuming.


  2. @Eric – how sad is it that this doesn’t seem all too far outside of the realm of possibility? Who would have thought that in 2008 this is a serious conversation.

    @Scott – Hmm FIOS, I hadn’t heard of this. How’s it compare with AT&T’s UVerse? Any eta on Springfield availability? Oh how I’d love to get rid of Comcast once and for all.


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