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.

  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.

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


  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…

  5. Thanks!

  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.

  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

  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.¨


  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 [...]

  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.

  11. I don’t know about 250GB, but I know it’s TOO easy to break the 100GB mark. I’m on Shaw cable in Canada, and our service has a 100GB cap (wiuth a “grace period” of unknown size). I’m constantly over the cap, but luckily, I guess I’ve stayed withing the grace, because they haven’t shut me down yet…

  12. There is going to have to be details on the “cap”.

    Element manager traffic over IP, tftp downloads, etc. would all count against you even though you don’t “ask” for that traffic.

    Does this now mean I am liable for a DDoS attack traffic against my home router and/or PC?

    It is curious.

    This also means they might place provisions on “in network” streaming and realtime services to place a competitive bar and hook subscribers on Comcast only content CDNs that are “free” or heavily subsidized as they acquire content assets.

  13. I break 250GB every 3 weeks or so. I consume a lot of media with movie and music downloads in iTunes, streaming video, YouTube, podcasts, etc.. Then I have off-site backups of two machines on my network. I also upload a large amount of video and photos for client projects.

    In the last 24 hours, between my two computers I have used around 13GB of bandwidth. There are also three other computers on my network that use significantly less than me, but still average 50GB a month between them.

  14. I could EASILY break that limit with Giganews. Without a problem.

  15. I have 12 Win2003 servers on 12 cable and FIOS modems spread around new england. I give them to friends and family, maintain them, and use my own remote “desktop” so I dont bother theirs.

    I use them as seedboxes for utorrent with private trackers. They only seed from 1am – 6am.

    I’ll simply tweak the download/upload for any ISP that sets a known cap limit. I’ll slide in just under the limit.

    At home, I have Optonline Boost, and only DOWNload. I have a feeling if you pay a little extra, you wont get hassled or capped. not sure if it is true, but time will tell. I have heard other ISP’s have Extra you can pay for. Verizon FIOS does.

    Boost is only $15 a month more, and considering all the stuff I’m getting from giganews, Bitme, ST, PB, TL and PT, I think it is well worth it.

    Jay’s comments on DDOS bring up some interesting points though.

  16. 250GB is nothing. I was booted off of comcast over a year ago for using over 500GB/mo. 124 standard def movies? who watches those nowadays anyways??? high def content will drain 250GB in no time.

  17. with giganews + opt boost, I get download speeds of 3.5 MB/s, and I probably if I really wanted to, download 100GB a day (which I have done) :P

  18. I can break the cap by doing a reinstall. I’d have to redownload my Steam games and a handful of GameTap games. That would put me over 200GB alone, nevermind my other software I’d need to download on top of normal usage throughout the rest of the month. I don’t need to take this challenge. I live it.

    1. But if you are a scrawny post-adolescent boy who absolutely must have a steady stream of calories all day, maybe pick an artificial-cheese-based snack that doesn’t make a heard-across-the-whole-floor crunchy sound? ,

  19. Breaking past 40GB, maybe.Over 250GB? No way, not possible unless you torrent bluray movies or something, at which point it goes beyond “normal”, fair use. If you download that much per month, over 250GB and haven’t yet been booted off by your ISP you should be incredibly grateful.I guess it hasn’t occurred to you that you downloading that much stuff(stuff to be honest that you could 100% live without and most likely you don’t even end up watching completely) probably puts a big strain and limits other persons’ bandwith?

    Some people have no decency and common sense these days.

  20. 250 GB Challenge & 5 Tools To Monitor Your Bandwidth | nerdd.net…

    \r\nWith Comcast announcing a 250 GB cap on its broadband service and Time Warner trialling a tiered…

  21. Breaking it for me is really easy. I have a 300 GB limit (averaged between 2 months) so I watch my downloads and try to limit myself. if I didnt have this limit… I’d be doing far more. Before the days of HDTV, around 2 years ago, I hit 500 GB a month. Bandwidth data according to my ISPS tracker:

    March: 221 GB
    April: 309 GB
    May : 225 GB
    June : 203 GB
    July : 417 GB
    Aug: : 224 (so far)

    I’d be above 250 each month, but I’m allowed 600 combined between any 2 months.

    I think 250 GB is generous for this day and age, but with us just getting into the HD age, TVOIP (Which would use 250 GB alone) That 250 will soon be obsolete… And with Cable companies not wanting others to use TVOIP, I doubt they will raise their caps anytime soon to adjust with the needs of the future.

  22. I’m in Montreal.Canada and we have to deal with 20GB download limit and 10GB upload limit. It actually worries me because by the 3rd day this month i was already over the limit. and I downloaded just a couple of programs, didn’t even have time for movies or streamed videos.

    and for 7.50$ the extraGB i will be paying probably three times my internet bill this month

  23. Bandwidth caps will never fly, not for long. As soon as those caps start hurting online vendors, the cable and dsl companies are going to be spending a great deal of time in court.

    IT’s all about greed. These companies just don’t want to pay for the upgrades so that they can continue showing higher profit margins for their aging networks and servers.

  24. I live in a house with 6 other people (all college students), in the last 16 days we have downloaded a total of 228 GB worth of data, and uploaded about 50 GB worth of data.

    I will say that we are heavy users, we have a NetFlix account with streaming movies, we watch TV shows on Hulu and move a lot of data for school. I personally also run Backups from my web host to my local server so that in case something happens I have a backup of the data. We are all also fans of Open Source, and the majority of the machines in the household run Linux/FreeBSD. Those ISO’s are not going to magically appear for us to burn … coupled with wanting to play new games (some of them being over 5 GB to download) when beta’s come out …

    Since I have IMAP for my email, if I start syncing my 4 different email accounts I use about 14 KB/sec which comes out to about 35 GB in just one month. That is assuming I could keep up 14 KB/sec (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Which with visiting websites, checking email, IM clients, IRC clients, Skype, and Ventrillo becomes quite easy. Especially when that is just the average I have to come up with.

    A 250 GB cap is too low, and I am not sure how Comcast would help out people like me where 7 people in a house use a huge amount of transfer, mainly because we are technology geeks. It almost seems unfair.

    As for people saying that 250 GB a month is insane, how about my use case? Not possible? It is entirely possible. In a month the 7 of us do about 300 – 400 GB of transfer.

  25. I live in a 4 computer household, and we regularly break our 200gb limit by about 10~40gb per month. (We) Do everything from downloading things (music, software, TV Shows) to streaming (Divx, youtubes, other sites) to just general internet surfing and game playing.

    According to the stats that my ISP offers (us), the majority of our bandwidth is spent on streaming, games and downloads.

  26. I was at ~500GB/mo for a while before Comcast decided that I had broken some barrier that they couldn’t tell me what it was. Now I’ve been watching my family’s bandwidth like a hawk for fear that we’ll get kicked off. This was back in the days before Blurays; just downloading DVD5 and DVD9 material.

    I pay Comcast far out the ass and at a premium for their Ultra-mega-tier. I expect to be able to use the bandwidth I’m paying for without limitation.

  27. Surplus meter is only available for the Macintosh. Their site states “All the above utilities require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.”

  28. I consider myself a heavy user, I watch a lot of Internet TV and buy my music in low compression/uncompressed formats. My bandwidht usage since I last reset my router.

    Uptime: 25 days
    Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]: 1,274 / 8,046
    Data Transferred (Sent/Received) [GB/GB]: 12.03 / 66.59

  29. i have been online for 22h 35m and already i have 4.48gb sent and 5.1gb recieved according to my local area connection status window. not even a full day, but multiplied for a month is equal to about 153gb recieved if everything were to stay constant. in these 22 hours i have downloaded 2 movies @ approx 700mb each, the rest is web surfing and gaming ( TF2, CS:S, WoW). putting caps on the usage that ppl use is wrong, we pay for a faster connection speed, and we should not be limited because rich companies want to get richer by charging us for more “allowances” in our connections. the world is filling up with more gamers every day and we need that bandwidth to maintain the competitive edge. instead of finding ways to limit us, these companies should be trying to find ways to increase capacity.

  30. Let’s do the math.

    1 Byte = 8 bits (Also written: 1 B = 8 b)

    250 GB x 8 = 2 terabits

    In a month, you have 30 days, that’s 2,592,000 seconds.

    2 Tb / 2.5 million seconds = You need to pull 772 Kbps 24/7 for a month to break the 250GB limit.

    2 Tb / 50 Mbps = 12 hours connected non-stop downloading at 50 Kbps necessary to break the 250GB limit.

  31. (Sorry, the last line should read “downloading at 50 Mbps”)

  32. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg story Uncategorized [...]

  33. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg story Uncategorized [...]

  34. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg story Uncategorized [...]

  35. It’s frustrating to see a 250GB limit being introduced in the USA, and having people nag about it. It’s common in Belgium to have a 12GB limit PER MONTH – and we accept it. There’s not much you can do when all your ISPs give you very low bandwidth limits, and we just have to deal with.

    You’re worried you “only get 250GB/month”? Thrust me … you can do a hell of a lot worse! Here’s some math to show the situation in Belgium: http://www.mattiasgeniar.be/technology/quick-math-to-show-how-terrible-belgian-bandwidth-providers-are/

  36. Regarding limits: I get DSL through Frontier Communications. Frontier’s AUP, a masterpiece of the genre, contains the following droll little comment: “Frontier may suspend, terminate or apply additional charges to the Service if such usage exceeds a reasonable amount of usage. A reasonable amount of usage is defined as 5GB combined upload and download consumption during the course of a 30-day billing period. The Company has made no decision about potential charges for monthly usage in excess of 5GB.” (source)

    One phone line with voice and DSL on it from Frontier runs me about ninety five dollars a month. I do not make any billable long-distance phone calls. Ninety five bucks a month is the base price. This isn’t even excitingly fast DSL — they only sell the one kind. I think this is kind of pricey, but it’s the only game in town so I pay it and I take my DSL.

    Five gigs a month is a “reasonable” amount of usage, they tell me.

    My ass.

    I called to complain about this and the customer service person at Frontier said that since there were no penalties for overage, that it didn’t matter and that I shouldn’t worry about it.

    My ass, I say.

    Not that it takes much effort for me to exceed this laughably low cap, but I did manage it this week. I downloaded and watched the first season of Mad Men, 4.4GB download, seeded to about .935 before I shut it off, so there ya go.

  37. I work for a large networking company in the Voice Technology Group and all I am going to say is any users with their primary or even secondary phone line as VOIP will certainly break Time Warner’s cap and quite possiblly/probably break Comcast’s…

  38. Well, since I’ve been running dd-wrt for a while, I know EXACTLY how much bandwidth I’ve used over the past few months.

    (inbound, outbound is usually 1/10th of these numbers):

    august: 35 gig
    july: 67 gig
    june: 30 gig
    may (incomplete data): 75 gig

    that’s as far back as my stats go. I download a 50-50 mix of sd and hd content. And, obviously, my use has a lot of pendulumn effect going on. My giganews account occasionally will go over 100 gigs/month, but on the low side hovers around 30 gigs just for GN itself.

  39. We have caps in Australia, though with most ISPs only downloads are counted (ergo uploads are free and uncounted).

    We have three people living in the house — two techies and one non-techie. Our plan gives us 40 GB during “peak” hours (7 am – 1 am, local time) and 110 GB during “off-peak” hours (1 am – 7 am).

    We occasionally hit the 40 GB peak cap, but are generally careful enough not to. We always get pretty close though — it’s never been under 38 GB.

    Our off-peak usage varies, usually depending on BitTorrent traffic. We’ve only hit the 110 GB off-peak cap once, and that was not due to BitTorrent traffic. We usually get somewhere between 50 GB and 80 GB off-peak. I repeat: this figure represents downloads only — uploads are not counted. We generally average a share ratio of between 1 and 3 on torrents, so our uploads are likely to be significantly higher.

    Do we really _need_ this much data? Absolutely not. But such high allowances, coupled with incredibly cheap hard disks, means we’re able to download first and ask questions later. We also have no qualms about streaming video. We have the fastest residential broadband currently available in Australia – ADSL2+, and we’re less than one kilometre from our local exchange. This gives us a downlink of 21 Mbps, and an uplink of 1 Mbps.

    On our previous connection (Cable modem, at around 2 Mbps), I imagine we would have struggled to reach the kind of caps we have now. But then, on that plan we were limited to 5 GB per month, and they counted uploads.

  40. except that what people are talking about here is breaking the 40/250gig cap without resorting to grey area content. like online file storage, online gaming( steam ) and youtube. imagine if someone put a limit on how many books you could read at the library?

  41. @ anon

    Going over 250gb is completely possible without downloading anything illegally. Don’t assume that just because all you do is check your e-mail that other people don’t use their systems for significantly more than you do.

    I could easily break 250gb/month with legitimate traffic, and it has nothing to do with “decency and common sense”.

    You fail to realize that there is more to do with a computer than write to your family and check the weather network.

  42. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg [...]

  43. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg [...]

  44. [...] with limits that range from 5 GB to 40 GB, we’ve decided to challenge people to break those caps.read more | digg [...]

  45. Stacey — I am sure this was meant to be fun, but this will play directly into Comcast marketing. The issue isn’t that that it is 250GB — the issue is that it is there at all. Plain and simple. The service has been billed as unlimited, but now that usage is beginning to climb in areas that Comcast wants to explicitly control (namely video on demand) — here comes a stated cap.

    Companies like Google, hulu, online gaming, every video sharing site, Apple, Netflix, et. al. should group together and sue Comcast for this practice as it directly will affect their future revenue streams.

  46. Breaking the 250GB challenge?! Easy. I’ve got Charter’s 10Mb/s down and ~930kb/s up cable connection. I run a TOR exit node and between TOR and my usage in the last 10 days 17 hours and 20 minutes I’ve been monitoring I’ve used 164.8GB. By the end of 30 days I should be over 300GB of data.

  47. I have don 277 GB in 17 days. 250 a month isn’t much for a month.

  48. [...] La discusión acerca de la magnitud del límite y su medición está siendo muy interesante en el mercado norteamericano: el límite presuntamente establecido por Comcast, 250 GB al mes, puede parecer razonablemente prudente con el tipo de uso que hacemos de la red hoy en día (según las declaraciones de la compañía, hablamos de  cincuenta millones de correos electrónicos a 0.05 KB por mensaje, 62.500 canciones a 4 MB cada una, 125 películas en calidad estándar a 2 GB cada una, o 25.000 fotos en alta resolución a razón de 10 MB/foto), pero ¿qué ocurre con las tendencias actuales de consumo, cada vez más exigentes en cuanto al consumo de vídeo y de materiales en alta definición? Cada dos horas de película en HD son 8 GB, un evento deportivo en directo pueden ser 13 GB, y además, no estamos solos en casa, compartimos nuestra conexión con otros miembros de la familia… ¿Cómo se define un uso abusivo? [...]

  49. dude check this out…. the reason i have this is becouse i wanna see how much of my roadrunner line i use…. neways heres the pix http://laughingman.ath.cx/bandwidth.jpg as u can see i totally go way over the cap….

  50. The point is far from whether you can hit the cap now but more that consumers are used to its existence. Once everyone blindly accepts that caps are good for them (yeah right) we can look forward to excuses on why the cost increases or the caps decrease until the point where we’re paying for ISPs, Data Plans and then for the actual media we want.

    Caps should be outlawed, they stifle innovation (business and personal) on the internet, place control firmly in the hands of ISPs on what content we can afford to access and offer absolutely no improvement to customer quality of service.

    Put it this way, even with a 1gig cap a month if everyone is online at peak times, servers and bandwidth are still stretched and service deteriorates. ISPs have been attempting to push their twisted logic to lock in revenue for many years now and blogs and media companies should be working hard to expose this for what it is, yet another “Net Neutrality” battle to take over the internet and increase revenue.

  51. Well I have 2 computers on my network and I’m on Optimum Online (cable) they also have a cap but I think its so I high I have never broken it. I think 250GB is nothing with streaming and me playing Xbox.

  52. I usually come in around 100GB a month with a desktop, laptop and a Tivo connected.

  53. This months usage is at about 65GB. Most of which originated from my TV Tuner downloading olympic events. However I seen this number greatly increasing in the next year or 2. I’ll be adding an VOIP system, possibly a apple TV/Netflix box, and popping out 3 kids would definitely kill me on the internet usage I’m sure.

    You include automatic backups to a secure online location, and synchronization to multiple devices/PCs and I can probably top out 250GB with ease.

    I think 500GB is a more reasonable cap that I wouldn’t hit. I’m talking the future here though another year or 2 tops.

  54. Software is great, but you have to install it on every computer in the house…

    I am using DD-WRT 24SP1 on a Linksys WRT-54GL, which has a WAN bandwidth monitor, so it catches ALL traffic that goes in/out of my internet connection.

    In the last 15 days, I have used:
    Incoming: 17364 MB / Outgoing: 2701 MB

  55. Sorry guys. I already break the 250 GB a month barrier and I’m doing it on what comcast calls horribly slow 1.5 Mbps DSL. I cant release too many details but work from home analyzing satellite imagery for an oil company and my monthly bandwidth normally hits about 300 GB a month.

  56. Linux machines have a free alternative for monitoring their usage. VNSTAT is a console based tool that allows users to query on hourly/daily/weekly/monthly usage, gives both inbound and outbound numbers as well as totals.

  57. Well, if they are going to cap me at 250GB/mo, then I expect my overpriced HD cable channels to be UNCOMPRESSED!! They look like absolute crap because they compress the heck out of non-premium channels. HBO and Skinemax look bearable, but heaven forbid I wanted to watch the Olympics without wanting to vomit over the pixelization of the picture. If you are going to take something away, Comcast, make sure you make up for it on the other end. They have always said that the compression of HD channels were necessary due to bandwidth. Well, if everyone is capped, then obviously the bandwidth issue will be solved, right?

  58. We got lucky here in southern texas, with sudden link we get 10/2mbps (down/up) but its actually around 9000-9500 and the upload is wayy under 2 at about 750 kbps. it is a dsl account so my neighbors are probably slowing it down. last month, including my online file sharing account i did 1.1 terabytes of software, movies, tv , games and other things as well. we pay about 120 a month for internet and HD tv, so were doing pretty good. hopefully hurricane gustav wont mess up my d’ls

  59. My father broke the bandwidth cap last month by downloading chess endgame databases.

  60. I can easily do 250gb in a matter of a week. I have 3 roomates were all heavy downloaders, currently have a 16Mbps comcast line. I’m dreading this cap. I’m hoping they dont cap us higher tier users so much. I’d hate to be picky with what i download.

  61. “we’re looking for real examples of how a heavy bandwidth user could breach either the 40 GB or 250 GB limit.”

    A simple bash script should do the trick…

    while [ ! -f $FILE ]; do
    wget -nd –delete-after $FILE
    COUNT=`expr $COUNT + 1`
    clear && echo “Download number $COUNT”
    if [ $COUNT -gt 368 ]; then
    echo “U have downloaded over 250GB and pwned ur intarwebs”

  62. I got my service terminated by Comcast for downloading 860gb in one month (according to my bw monitor) about 2 years ago. After they canceled my service they left a voice mail on the house phone with a phone number for a department that no one else in customer service or technical support knows anything about. when you call the number they give you there is only a voice mail box where you can leave a message… after 2 weeks they finally called back to let me know I had downloaded “300 times the national average” and that was why my service was canceled. so be careful how much you download, they’ll kick you off if you go too far

  63. Tomato

  64. All these comments prove just how greedy you Americans are. I’m an Australian, I basically live on the Internet, and I do just fine on 20gb/month.

    When we go over our caps our internet isn’t disabled, it’s just slowed. I couldn’t see the situation being any different there. If you don’t like it then stop downloading so much. Simple.

  65. Here is an image of my pfsense rrd graphs for a month. I’ve only had it running for a few weeks and it is only me and my roommate. Here are our totals:


  66. I think a 250Gb cap is fairly reasonable – most people won’t get that high – but that isn’t the point. The real reasoning behind this is that people won’t open their access points if they know their service is capped.

  67. @Hammy

    It has nothing to do with “greed”, what a pointless and inflammatory statement!

    Bandwidth is not a physical consumable. If at midnight tonight only 50% of your ISPs bandwidth is in use then at midnight plus one second they don’t have 150% of that bandwidth available. Bandwidth isn’t stockpiled for us, it’s either lit or dark at a specific point in time. Caps simply do not ease peak usage bottlenecks, do you notice a SLA for sustained speeds and quality accompanying these restrictions or are we just being restricted further with zero actual compensation?

    Again. This is nothing more than a means to leverage additional revenue off the back of internet services. I believe another good example of the ludicrousness of caps was comparing them to a Cable TV service which you paid for but then were only allowed to actually watch 4 hours of TV on each day.

  68. Does anyone know of a bandwidth monitoring tool, that shows you how much you have downloaded at certain times of the day. Because I have a on-peak/off-peak plan (on-peak-6am-12.59am, off-peak-1am-5.59am, and the ability to monitor my downloads would be really handy.


  69. Another one for vnstat. I’ve been using it with comcast for months:

    eth1 / monthly

    month rx | tx | total
    Apr '08 151.17 GB | 35.39 GB | 186.57 GB %%%%%%%::
    May '08 403.16 GB | 37.81 GB | 440.97 GB %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%::
    Jun '08 253.29 GB | 16.11 GB | 269.40 GB %%%%%%%%%%%%:
    Jul '08 43.61 GB | 22.03 GB | 65.64 GB %%:
    Aug '08 367.44 GB | 44.31 GB | 411.75 GB %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%::
    estimated 377.07 GB | 45.46 GB | 422.54 GB

  70. Mine is mostly vpn/sql traffic with compression enabled. These are readings courtesy of my wrt54g router..

    June 2008 (Incoming: 59507 MB / Outgoing: 125636 MB)
    July 2008 (Incoming: 70129 MB / Outgoing: 150508 MB)
    August 2008 (Incoming: 45401 MB / Outgoing: 31261 MB) << db set for replication only!

    I could hit 500g/mo with bittorrent I think! They’re just lame. “Buy our 500 gbs service!! But use more than 128 kbs and you’re banned!”

  71. “Companies like Google, hulu, online gaming, every video sharing site, Apple, Netflix, et. al. should group together and sue Comcast for this practice as it directly will affect their future revenue streams.”

    Better if Apple & Google had bid in that recent FCC auction and established a network different than the current offerings, instead of leaving it to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast who spent big and bought large chunks and are salivating over making you pay for everything by the nanosecond. Hope the low cost white space contingency plan pans out. Caps are nothing nore than attempt to close the Internet and make all services metered, like phone plans (both voice and data) and video on demand.

    As for me, my highs have been at a few gigabytes over 900; currently I am doing between 600-700 a month. Needless to say I have an uncapped ISP, but I fear those days are numbered. What’s the alternative, everbody needs email and IM to keep in touch, so what are you gonna do, go Luddite and drop off the Internet? At some point the ISPs will all realize they’ve got you and can yank your chain anyway they want. As with any drug, the initial amounts are free or cheap. We’ll see what court suits and governmental regulation does, but I wouldn’t bet on it. All they have to do is claim limited bandwidth is good for national security or hampers child porn and it will be fait accompli.

  72. Well, I’ve been trying to get mobileme settled in, so I’ve been trying to synch a small (8G) active directory over three, then two, then one machine on the home network. It looks like each machine is slowly downloading and trawling its own copy of the dataset to do the comparison. Whatever the mechanism, I can tell my opinionated friend who thinks 20G is ‘greed’ that 60 G per month was not enough to handle just that change alone. To try and forestall some flaming – yes I know mobileme has problems – I wanted to see what it mean in my environment. Yes Apple is working on it and will deal with the major problems – that’s why I have Apples. The point is though that just one standard utility with a configuration problem (even if the main problem is me) can blow these limits. And yes I know about and use dropbox and yes it’s good, and I use XP and Vista too so leave me out of your religious wars please. Let’s jus focus on the point. Heavy synching across 3-5 machines and an 8 g space 100% crawled by each machine every 3 days needs a smart approach.

  73. I have a modest home network with several desktops and several laptops, along with an older xbox and newer 360 and a wii, and I have no doubt I can break 250gb in a month, every month, just doing updates and other basic online activities like maintaining several websites and video streaming (no mention of if the caps are just down, up+down, etc).

    In my home there are 3 adult users and we each download different content – one downloads music almost exclusively, another games constantly (both pc and 360/wii) and I’m guilty of using torrents so much it’s about twice the bandwidth as the other two users combined. I haven’t metered my use but I regularly backup and wipe 600gb of hdd storage to make room for new content, about once a month (I’m more than thankful for the falling price of dvd-r and looking forward to new optical storage…). I recently stopped sharing exclusive dj mixes via ftp because it too much time to keep updated :(

    And we’ve just moved into comcast territory last month. We have a wireless (clearwire) account for basic low-impact stuff like email and browsing but I’m pretty apprehensive about this new bandwidth cap. So far I’m not very thrilled about comcast and I haven’t even had any problems (except for daily 8am calls starting the day after my first bill was due, less than 2 weeks after starting their services and before I’d even received my modem) but I also haven’t gotten settled in here so I havent tested my connection at length, either. We’ll see soon enough how this plays out, right now my clearwire doesn’t even break a couple hundred k down so I’m stuck with comcast for anything other than email.

  74. [...] opposed to just sending you larger bill for use; like banks with NSF’s, but different. They haven’t even offered to provide any tools to find out how much your using or sent an email telling ANYONE what their average is. They seem to [...]

  75. Heres the last two months of useage on comcast:

    August: 321 GB 159D/161U
    July: 241 GB 109D, 132U

    Most of this is torrenting :P

  76. Ryan Boswell said:
    “…I also upload a large amount of video and photos for client projects.”

    The caps don’t affect Business service from what I understand. If you’re running a business (technically) you should upgrade to a business package. You don’t want your service to be cutoff because you exceeded a cap, then you’re in trouble with your clients if you can’t upload that important project. Good business sense – upgrade to a guaranteed service for yourself and your clients :)

    Having said that, caps are crap.

    In these days of ever increasing download sizes, high-quality video and audio, bandwith hungry P2P apps, huge games and the like it is very disconcerting to see caps put in place. It flies directly in the face of current (and projected) trends of bandwidth consumption. In a few short years, 250GB will be surpasses by so called “average users”.

    As download speeds increase (see Comcast’s move to DOCSIS 3.0 – with speeds upto 160Mb/s), users will naturally gravitate toward things which used to “take too long to download”.

    Caps represent the lack of willingness to sufficiently upgrade infrastructure to meet with demand. They also may usher in the age of tiered service (again, anyone remember ISDN, and the early days of T1?) which will ultimately result in higher average prices for consumers.

    It’s high time the big ISPs bite the bullet, take a little less profit (OMG, not that!) and upgrade capacity to EASILY handle current demand.

  77. Kristi Gilleland Sunday, August 31, 2008

    I don’t have any idea what we use, but I am planning on having comcast discontinue my tv service on Tuesday, that way, if we go over, we’ll be used to no tv and can afford to move to direct tv.

    I do have a homeschooled child that on school days might watch his classes online with video streaming for up to 3 hours out of the day – he takes Spanish and Japanese online.

    Then the kids like to video conference with other homeschooled kids they know, and play games on the wii. I stream radio every night because I can’t get my am station here – I’m sure we will go over.

    This family doesn’t pirate anything, we are just media consumers who have all been on the net since 1989 and since being born in some cases. This is giving me nightmares of AOLs 5 hours a month way back when.

  78. This family had a meeting, and it is Internet or nothing – we all take courses online – we decided Comcast is pretty evil for doing this, and stifling the innovation of the net like this, and that while we have to use them for cable, we don’t have to use them for tv, and they can take their on demand service that they are so obviously trying to protect with this move, and shove it. We’ll use Redbox.

  79. Two PCs here, one of which is connected wirelessly and is used mostly
    for email, web browsing, and occasional online videos (Youtube, Yahoo,

    The other PC is mine, and I do quite a bit of filesharing on it (mainly
    BitTorrent and Gnutella), plus I also have a Giganews unlimited account.
    My ISP is AT&T U-Verse, which currently has no plans to cap usage
    (though there has been talk of this happening).

    There is one bandwidth monitoring tool not mentioned: DUMeter –
    http://www.dumeter.com/ It is $24.95 for a single user license.
    Here’s a snapshot of my usage for the last few months:

    Period (Month) Download Upload Both Directions Dial-Up Time
    May 2008 52.74 GB 60.35 GB 113.09 GB N/A
    June 2008 25.94 GB 58.58 GB 84.52 GB N/A
    July 2008 73.51 GB 42.57 GB 116.08 GB N/A
    August 2008 61.95 GB 57.38 GB 119.32 GB N/A

    As you can see, I would have easily broken through Time Warner’s 40GB
    cap, but not Comcast’s 250GB one. The most bandwidth I’ve ever used in
    a month was 191GB.

    As for Time Warner’s 40GB cap, I believe that is only being done with
    new subscribers in the Beaumont, Texas area. But there are plans to
    expand it to their entire system.

  80. [...] GigaOm site has an interesting article up about the upcoming 250GB/month cap from Comcast. I must say, as a Comcast internet user,  that [...]

  81. [...] clipped from gigaom.com [...]

  82. lol 250 gig thats it good i feel sorry for you poor saps. I easily download a TB plus a month no problem on dsl.

  83. [...] read more | digg story [...]

  84. I am a usenet downloader only.. collecting normal xvid’s and dvd’s and 720p rips and sometimes full blue-ray images.. I do not have monthly stats.. I just don’t care to check.. I have 2 cable modems one is designated for downloads and 1 is designated for normal stuff (this way ping times for voip and normal stuff do not suffer)

    I would guess on average I download 100-500 Gb a month I know on occasion I have download 400-600 Gb a month.. I have been kicked off comcast once for this.. and spent a year on covad dsl where they didn’t care.. here are the only numbers I have on file..

    Cable Modem 1
    25149851/2584487 (214.38 MB/438.87 MB)
    Cable Modem 2
    150387438/123217906 (1.23 GB/3.22 GB)

    I think these numbers reset at 10 Gb but I think you can guess which is the download modem.. in addition my newsleecher shows that I have pulled

    993.6 Gb from giganews (I do not know when this was last reset could be up to 3 months worth though)

  85. [...] -250 GB Challenge & 5 Tools To Monitor Your Bandwidth 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. [...]

  86. Well, I’m a Comcast customer, and according to trusty ol’ vnstat I went over 250 gigs last month. In my case, I use Bittorrent to get live concert recordings from sites like bt.etree.org in FLAC, and ever since Comcast tripled their upload cap on my account I’ve been seeding out the wazoo in the interest of giving back to the community. “Out the wazoo” in this case translates to 200 gigs last month.

    That said, the limit won’t be a problem for me; I just won’t seed as much anymore (only up to maybe 1:1) and I’ll be under the usage limit easily. And even though I am someone directly affected by the limit, I actually have no objection to it at all. Bandwidth costs money, and when Comcast has people downloading terabytes a month through their pipes those customers are not a money-making proposition. It’s not some kind of constitutional right for me to download anything I want at a flat rate with no regard whatsoever for ISP costs. So I support their right to impose usage limits as a fair and equitable business practice, and once you agree to that principle it’s extremely difficult to argue that 250 GB/month isn’t a fair and reasonable limit in 2008.

    Also keep in mind that this usage limit is not a new policy- as others on the thread have commented, Comcast has been disconnecting people for “excessive bandwidth usage” for a long time. The only difference now is that there is now a clear, well-defined policy on what exactly constitutes “excessive bandwidth usage”. All this does is wipe out any trace of FUD, so instead of every month worrying if they’re going to suddenly decide I’m using “too much bandwidth” without bothering to tell me what it is, I know precisely how much bandwidth I have to work with. It’s hard not to see the new policy as an improvement.

    As to the other arguments against this I have seen:

    * It is a trojan horse and once they have established a limit they will gradually start lowering it.

    Well, obviously I can’t read their minds, but as a Comcast customer over the past year I have only seen my quality of service increase, not decrease. A year ago they were forging reset packets and limiting uploads to a pitifully slow rate and overall seemed openly hostile to me as a customer. At the present time, though, it really seems to me like they’re getting it right, especially compared to some other big ISPs who, while I won’t name names, seem to be really screwing up and even doing things I consider to be morally reprehensible. In general, as well, I find it silly to argue against something based on what _might_ happen in the future without any evidence to back that up.

    * Sure, in 2008 250 gigs might be reasonable, but what about in 2013?

    Again, speculative. If Comcast really does decide to set out 250 gigs as a monthly limit from now until the end of time, obviously that would be stupid and wrong. I would hope that as the Internet continues to get faster and Comcast continues to upgrade their infrastructure (which they _are_ doing as a continuous process) they will see fit to raise usage limits on end users.

    * So how is a customer supposed to know how much bandwidth they’ve used in a month? Comcast provides no such information to the user.

    This is a valid point, I think. Right now, the onus is on the user to monitor their bandwidth usage. I do not think it would be all that difficult, considering Comcast is obviously collecting that information anyway, to put a link on the user’s homepage to provide that information. For me there’s not a problem- I use, basically, one computer and get reliable information from vnstat. If someone is using multiple computers as well as set-top boxes to connect to the Internet, though, trying to accurately monitor bandwidth usage from the user end becomes a logistical nightmare. I hope that Comcast is responsive to this concern and remedies it soon.

  87. Broadband with quotas,limits,caps. Where are you living? In Turkey?

  88. This cap seems OK for now. Should families have 3 TV’s going? Should people be watching more than 3-4 hours of HD TV a day? Sure, it would be nice for my wife and I to get an adult movie from our SugarDVD.com lineup via Vudu or Roku. But a few hours a month is enough. Are families that addicted to TV instead of human interaction that they need more than 4 hours a day of VOD? Read. Play. Make love to your spouse!

  89. Why is everyone assuming their service will be cut off when they exceed their cap? I’ve not seen an uncapped internet service in my country, and in every case you either (in a few cases) pay $X/gb over the limit, or (in about 95% of the cases) they slow your speed to 64k-512k. Going over your cap will not disconnect you from the internet and won’t stop you downloading stuff.

  90. Has no one posted a 250GB file to a p2p server that we can all download over the next week, just to show our support? (by using all kinds of bandwidth and pushing that median up of course! ;-) )

  91. Assuming within a few years most people who will watch internet video will do it when they get home from work, won’t peak hour capacity demands on cable from that audience be far larger than anything that could be affected at that time by the currently discussed 1% of “top” users?

    False vaguely defined crisis, designed to create a plot outcome, panic to be forgotten by the end of the book. (wikipedia, mcguffin plot device).

    Make people pay by the hour for any video that isn’t cable, plain and simple.

  92. Basically anyone who is over the cap needs to get a job. I don’t know if the numbers people are reporting are accurate (I doubt it), but instead of actually calculating how much bandwidth we use, how about we calculate how much we need?

    250GB/month is roughly 8GB/day. That’s about 8 standard def movies a day. You’d have to be watching movies 16 hours a day for 30 days. Hi def? Maybe a movie one a day or two days, you probably shouldn’t be watching movies that often anyways. TF2? Probably not significant to even hit 10GB/month under normal usage. Email and normal web-browsing? Too small to matter. Youtube? Quality is too low and streaming youtube video all day for 8 hours a day probably wouldn’t hit 8GB.

    If you even work a part-time job, get 5 hours a sleep a night, there probably isn’t enough waking hours to utilize all that bandwidth. If you’re hitting the 250GB mark, then you should probably invest in a Comcast business line for $100 and get unlimited bandwidth.

    If I were Comcast, I would’ve done this years ago if there were people exceeding 500GB. Get rid of .001% of my customers to regain 90% of my product (bandwidth)? No brainer. Think of it in terms of business and you’ll realize that it’s one of the smartest things Comcast has done.

  93. [...] that the 250 GB limit is very generous, but we know it that’s a bit bogus. When we asked our readers what kind of bandwidth they were consuming, even average folks had numbers that didn’t match up with the “2 to 3 GB median [...]

  94. I did, they cut me, no warning at all. Which was nice because they left a disabled person in the house alone with no phone. They said we had gone over 600gb, and before you really think that’s all that much, Think about people who are stuck in the house and live on the net. Content and streaming and downloading are a big deal, and as tech advances and applications start becoming more web based what do you think will happen then? The is a reason they have been laying fiber. It’s real easy to say 250 is enough but Bill Gates himself said 640k would be enough back in the day. It isn’t enough for everyone. And as for Comcast? They give you no way to monitor and cut you without notice, I’d say I’d rather find another provider even if it is 3 times slower.

  95. [...] and those caught wanted to know how Comcast defined the term. So keep your complaints flowing, play our 250 GB challenge and get grandma an HD video conferencing service so average users start boosting their data [...]

  96. Only in America will you pay for services you will never receive! The Law here allows this to happen 24/7/365. It’s the American way…

  97. No One Should have to monitor there bandwidth. Caps are BS! switch your provider or check out http://www.highspeedinternetbuzz.com for the buzz on who will provide you with the best bandwidth. I can tell you now that it is more than likely not Comcast.

  98. [...] I’m not using Comcast anymore, but if you’re a customer and are willing to put up with their metered broadband philosophy, you might find this information [...]

  99. [...] Google isn’t the only one making a broadband meter and many different variants were on the market for a while now. The offline availability of Gmail or web applications isn’t just a Google breakthrough – [...]

  100. [...] Google isn’t the only one making a broadband meter and many different variants were on the market for a while now. The offline availability of Gmail or web applications isn’t just a Google breakthrough – [...]

  101. I do a lot of all kinds of different work on computers. I hit 250GB easily. I keep a local repo of everything for every version of linux ever out there. I have a local repo for a number ~400 open source projects that I maintain on a dedicated server but also mirror at my home. I have an internet radio relay stream that I send to my dedicated server. 128kbps 24/7.. if the top users ar 1-2% I would say that I’m a .05%’r. I probably move around >3TB of data doing completely legit stuff. They are taking a page from AOL’s book but they’re doing it ass backwards.

  102. [...] for lower prices. Time Warner Cable continues to come up with excuses while Comcast has implemented a 250 GB bandwidth cap. Comcast recently launched a 50 Mbps broadband offering in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and [...]

  103. [...] La discusión acerca de la magnitud del límite y su medición está siendo muy interesante en el mercado norteamericano: el límite presuntamente establecido por Comcast, 250 GB al mes, puede parecer razonablemente prudente con el tipo de uso que hacemos de la red hoy en día (según las declaraciones de la compañía, hablamos de cincuenta millones de correos electrónicos a 0.05 KB por mensaje, 62.500 canciones a 4 MB cada una, 125 películas en calidad estándar a 2 GB cada una, o 25.000 fotos en alta resolución a razón de 10 MB/foto), pero ¿qué ocurre con las tendencias actuales de consumo, cada vez más exigentes en cuanto al consumo de vídeo y de materiales en alta definición? Cada dos horas de película en HD son 8 GB, un evento deportivo en directo pueden ser 13 GB, y además, no estamos solos en casa, compartimos nuestra conexión con otros miembros de la familia… ¿Cómo se define un uso abusivo? [...]

  104. Hmmm… Lets see here:

    I2P Router – 8GB up, 8GB down/day (480GB/Mo)
    Linux distros – 5GB/Mo down
    Vids – ~5GB/ down
    Overhead – ~3GB/Mo down
    FTP Server – 120GB/Mo down
    Torrents – 200GB down, 200GB up (400GB/Mo)

    My results:
    or 1.013TB/Mo

    My ISP is Comcast, and they haven’t done anything yet, most likely because my neighbors could not tell you what GMail was, let alone I2P, Torrents or FTP. So i think I use ~99% of the data on my street.

  105. [...] of U.S. cellular companies on their data plans). However, it’s also a far cry from the reviled 250 GB per month cap Comcast implements, which may provide some solace to those worried about crashing through the [...]

  106. I received a call from Comcast security on 11/10/09 informing me that I had reached and exceeded the 250 gig limit…so far I’m at 251…without trying. Sad thing is I have been doing the same things online I have always done. I’m now using the ShaPlus Bandwidth Meter 1.3. It seems ok so far.

  107. You know Im getting 15meg service from n.e.w. roadrunner, but it dont feel any differnt than the 5meg I was getting 5 years ago really would like to see what they are really putting out to me

  108. Yah I have had RR 15 meg service now for over a year, typically Im getting about 750k downstream 500 upstream… have a friend in Japan thats got 100 meg service for about 60 USD a month

  109. coopmeister123 Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    i thought you might like to know that i am on comcast with the 250gb limit. and as of today i am pushing 408GB downloaded :). they did send a letter but haven’t done anything about it. if i keep going i may hit a TB by the end of the month :D


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