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Summary:

Since we’re getting in a huff over Comcast’s 250 GB cap, we thought it would be helpful to lay out why capping broadband is a bad idea today and a worse one for tomorrow, how it can benefit ISPs, and why it’s not really necessary on most networks. Check out our handy overview and links to our past coverage on the topic.

Since we’re getting in a huff over Comcast’s 250 GB cap, we thought it would be helpful to lay out why capping broadband is a bad idea today and a worse one for tomorrow, how it can benefit ISPs, and why it’s not really necessary on most networks. Check out our handy overview and links to our past coverage on the topic.

  1. Time Warner got the ball rolling back in January, and in June it announced a trial limiting folks to tiers from 5 GB per month to 40 GB per month. Billing began this month.
  2. While some of the telcos have threatened caps, only Frontier has actually done so across its service area with a minuscule 5 GB limit.
  3. Yesterday Comcast clarified that it will implement a per-month cap of 250 GB, but defended it by noting that it will affect less than 1 percent of its users and most users download 2-3 GB per month.
  4. Many of these caps have been imposed in the name of network management, but they have financial benefits for ISPs as well.
  5. There are differences between the last-mile networks of telco and cable providers that make broadband caps more useful for cable networks, but it’s still a bad idea.
  6. A 250 GB cap won’t affect many people today, but anything making people think twice about delivering or downloading broadband services could have a negative impact on innovation.
  7. In the case of delivering Olympic coverage online, lower-level caps may already be having an effect, but it’s hard to tell without software to track usage.
  8. That means it could hurt companies such as Google, Amazon.com and Netflix as they roll out higher-bandwidth using services.
  9. And in the future, services ranging from telemedicine to teleconferencing could feel the impact. Not to mention those poor web workers.
  10. But regardless of what a few carriers in the U.S. are doing with caps, the web will continue to grow, both in terms of the number of users and the amount of data they consume. Caps won’t stop it, and neither will network management measures such as traffic throttling. If our broadband networks can’t meet that demand, the U.S. eventually could find itself lagging in the technology field.
  1. [...] capping downloads to 250GB a month and countless others are threatening it. And in her article, 10 Things to Know and Hate About Metered Broadband, she ends it with a very valid point that we should all remember: …regardless of what a few [...]

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  2. Do the telcos or corporations care about sending the US on the road to mediocrity. Look at the car companies: they designed third rate cars to sell to a gullible public. Now the demand of a 50 billion dollar taxpayer funded loan bailout is good for America. Does the old 50′s moniker :”What is good for GM is Good for America” should now mean “Give a Corporate bailout and Bankrupt the America Taxpayer.”

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  3. the best thing to
    do is leave them
    and awitch isp
    not that any one
    needs 250GB

    rc

    trading tennis blog

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  4. [...] 10 Things to Know and Hate About Metered Broadband [nw] :: GigaOM – you just knew this was coming didn’t you [...]

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  5. Well…or in the case of Comcast, your could just switch to a business account which will run about $149 per month for good bandwidth. If you are using that much data for work or play it may indeed be worth it.

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  6. I honestly don’t understand the controversy– if the cap inhibits users of the future, couldn’t Comcast just stop the cap? Not everything is the end of the world. Sometimes businesses are just trying to continue operation.

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  7. Caps have been a reality of Life in Australia for years, and a 250 gig limit!! totaly unheard of down here, I’m on what is probably the best plans in Australia outside of a pay per gig Business plan and I get 60 gig.
    as to expecting a cap to be lifted because of expected usage due to a new technology or service, get a grip! the telcos will just increase the cap, at an extra cost to the end user of course or implement a per gig $ penalty if you exceed your cap

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  8. In Belgium it’s even worse! My monthly cap is only 20GB (uploads and downloads together) and I’m paying approx $50 a month.

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  9. [...] Om Malik of GigaOM has compiled the top ten reasons as to why bandwidth metering sucks big [...]

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  10. This is getting ridiculous. Om is completely obsessed with this ridiculously enormous 250 GB “limit” and the best argument he can come up with is the old slippery slope fallacy.

    The simple fact is, the only ones that are hurt by this are the .1% who go over the gap, and the other 99.9% are the BENEFICIARIES of this policy! All of the other supposed drawbacks are pure speculation.

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