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Summary:

With Comcast announcing a 250 GB cap on its broadband service and Time Warner trialling a tiered service with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps. Obviously we can’t verify if someone actually downloads everything […]

With Comcast announcing a 250 GB cap on its broadband service and Time Warner trialling a tiered service with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps. Obviously we can’t verify if someone actually downloads everything they claim to, but we’re looking for real examples of how a heavy bandwidth user could breach either the 40 GB or 250 GB limit. Leave your attempts in the comments.

Unless you have a large family that consists of early adopters (and teenagers), or you want to step up your seeding for BitTorrent files, most people should try for the more easily attainable Time Warner caps. And since you’re going to need some software to measure your current consumption, below is a list of free and cheap programs. Now grab your Roku box, hook up the kids with Hulu and see about buying some HD video conferencing software. Do it now, because soon this stuff won’t be free.

  • Rackeys: For $9.95 you can download this broadband usage software for Windows machines.
  • Net Meter: This software from Hootech can be tried for 30 days for free; after that it costs $19.95. Measures usage, broadband speeds and allows you to save the data. Only for Windows machines.
  • Broadband Check: Free software from the UK, but your stats will be uploaded to the site.
  • iStatMenus: Free broadband usage tool for Macs.
  • Surplus Meter: Free broadband usage meter for Macs and PCs
  1. I just hit up my local Westell router through the browser and see that there is some monitoring data for my Verizon DSL line. Looks like I’ve used 20.4 GB of bandwidth (up & down) in the past 7 days and 3 hours. I’m an at-home web-worker, so I’m constantly online for RSS, writing, podcast uploads, social networks, e-mail, music streaming even some Hulu watching. Also using this connection in the house is a Vudu box and an Xbox 360. This past week I didn’t rent any movies from either Vudu or Xbox Live, but I did do some online gaming. Past experience tells me that HD movie rentals on my Xbox are around 4 GB per title.

    This scenario gets me to around 10% of Comcast’s cap through 25% of a month. So, mathematically, I’d be OK. I’m still not sold that any cap is a good idea though. As we shift more of our content consumption to online venues and explore more cloud computing / online backup solutions, our needs will grow.

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  2. I don’t think that there are any tools that separate payload from data, and Comcast has not commented whether they are charging for the raw stream, or just the payload.

    See, they are setting up a situation where the wireless Broadband carriers and FIOS will just walk over them. Might take three years or so, and they can revoke their caps at any time, but it is very strange how far removed these cable providers are from the sentiments of their clients.

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  3. Just a heads up, I find this monitor the best; and it’s free.

    http://www.metal-machine.de/readerror/

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  4. Breaking 40GB for me is a no-brainer. I’ll just have to revert user accounts backups to my home server (instead of separate dedicated box). Each day there’s about 2.3GB * 30 days = 70GB per month easily – that’s just the backups.

    Add Pandora radio, about 500 big fat emails per day (yes, I’m old-fashioned and use Outlook for all of my 12 e-mail accounts), some YouTube and RedTube videos me and my girlfriend enjoy now and then and I am almost at 100… And I am NOT downloading movies, videos or anything like that AT ALL… Don’t know, maybe I should start…

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  5. Thanks!

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  6. RedTube: Ha?!

    Who are these people who feel so compelled to be playing with themselves on camera? DO they not have jobs? Families? I am shocked, shocked I say, that there is gambling in this establishment.

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  7. Breaking the 40GB is most definitely doable. In South Africa we have caps. The standard cap is a 3GB international / 30GB local. And the fastest line we get is a 4Mb/s. Here is a real users real usage, and it is considered high use here:

    2008-February 186GB
    2008-March 154GB
    2008-April 154GB
    2008-May 119GB
    2008-June 146GB
    2008-July 153GB
    2008-August 168GB

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  8. Run somthing like Joost all day and you might be able to hit the 250GB cap ……. now only if Joost would give us something to watch .

    ¨Joost downloads about 320MB per hour (as a maximum) and uploads up to 105 MB per hour. The more popular the content is on our platform, the more sources it can be pulled from and the less redundant data we send; that number can be as low as 220MB per hour of viewing.¨

    http://blog.joost.com/2007/01/venices_bandwidth_usage.html

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  9. [...] per month worry you? If it does, leave us a note – and hop over to our parent blog GigaOM, which is challenging people to come up with plausible ways to cross the [...]

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  10. Break 250GB in a month? Child’s play. One word: Giganews. On TW I can pull down 600KB/s from Giganews or a little more than 2GB/hour.

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