Comcast Puts 250GB Monthly Cap on Bandwith Usage

Bob Preston
NEW YORK — Starting Oct. 1, the Comcast Corporation will limit the total amount of information users can upload to and download from the Internet.

The cap starts at 250 gigbytes of total information transferred. Customers who exceed this limit will hear from Comcast. Typically, Comcast said they ask customers to curb their Internet usage.

Comcast is the second-largest Internet service provider in the country. They said that they enacted this policy in response to their customers.

"We've listened to feedback from our customers who asked that we provide a specific threshold for data usage and this would help them understand the amount of usage that would qualify as excessive," the company said in a statement.

Comcast mentioned no kind of fees or penalties for users who exceed the bandwidth cap. Furthermore, the company assured customers that 250 gigbytes of bandwidth would let an average customer download 125 standard definition movies before reaching the ceiling.

But not everyone's convinced. NichePay's Media told XBIZ that he would be in danger of hitting a 250 gigabyte ceiling because he does so much work from his home office.

"I think its one of the stupidest moves that a cable company can make," he said. "To deny your customers true unlimited downloads when their service is already capped at a download speed without a throttle. If you want to stop people from downloading so much then don't allow the high megabit per second accounts they give to people. It makes it redundant sort of. They're basically controlling the way a surfer surfs. They want to offer all these bells and whistles to people, yet keep them on a leash. 'You can have blazing fast internet as long as you don't download a lot of content.'"

On the other hand, Playboy webmaster Brett Gilliat, aka Vendzilla, told XBIZ that he figured it would be hard for most people to ever reach 250 gigabytes per month.

Over in the mainstream world, tech writer Steve Gillmor said that bandwidth caps might herald a new era when users stream content instead of downloading it. He said that Microsoft's new media program Silverlight, a competitor to Adobe's Flash, might help make this happen.

"The advent of new look-ahead streaming capabilities in Silverlight suggest that streaming can accommodate DVR-like functionality that makes the value proposition of 'owning' the data on a local drive much less important," he wrote on TechCrunch.com.

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