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Comcast to Test Bandwidth Caps?

Comcast is reportedly considering monthly caps on bandwidth usage and may charge customers who go over these limits. DSLreports writes that users would get to use up to 250 GB per month and be charged $15 for every 10 GB over the limit. When contacted for comment a Comcast spokesperson told DSLreports:

“Comcast is currently evaluating this service and pricing model to ensure we deliver a great online experience to our customers. We have not made any changes to our current service offerings and have no new announcement to make at this time.”

Comcast has said it will start targeting bandwidth hogs, and this could be the way they do it. If you’re wondering if you’d have to pay extra, Silicon Alley Insider did some quick math and here are a few highlights of what 250 GB represents:

A LOT of Web usage. Your typical daily Web/email/IM usage is probably somewhere between 10-50 megabytes — maybe 100-200 if you’re watching some low-quality YouTube, or 300-500 if you’re watching a few hours of Hulu every day. So normal Web users won’t have any problems. (1000 megabytes = roughly 1 gigabyte.)

170-250 iTunes movie downloads. Digital movies in standard-def run between 1 and 1.5 gigabytes. “No Country For Old Men” is about 1.3 gigs, friend-o.

50-60 HD movie downloads. These run closer to 4-5 gigabytes each. So theoretically, this could be a problem, one day, for people who download more than 2 movies a day, every day. Do you know any of those folks?

This plan differs than the pay-per-use model Time Warner is testing. Comcast would offer near-unlimited bandwidth, whereas Time Warner would charge you more the more you use. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should trust Comcast. Setting caps and overages allows them to eventually raise fees while lowering the caps.

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