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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, September 15, 2008

Comcast getting its throttle ready

In our inbox this afternoon:

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer,

We appreciate your business and strive to provide you with the best online experience possible. One of the ways we do this is through our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP outlines acceptable use of our service as well as steps we take to protect our customers from things that can negatively impact their experience online. This policy has been in place for many years and we update it periodically to keep it current with our customers' use of our service.

On October 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clarify that monthly data (or bandwidth) usage of more than 250 Gigabytes (GB) is the specific threshold that defines excessive use of our service. We have an excessive use policy because a fraction of one percent of our customers use such a disproportionate amount of bandwidth every month that they may degrade the online experience of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of bandwidth and it's very likely that your monthly data usage doesn't even come close to that amount. In fact, the threshold is approximately 100 times greater than the typical or median residential customer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in perspective, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 million plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Download 125 standard definition movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heaviest multi- or single-player gaming activity would not typically come close to this threshold over the course of a month.

In addition to modifying the excessive use policy, the updated AUP contains other clarifications of terms concerning reporting violations, newsgroups, and network management. To read some helpful FAQs, please visit http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Excessive-Use.

Thank you again for choosing Comcast as your high-speed Internet provider.

Comments (9)

How about the jokers at Comcast not ripping us off and actually using that money to improve the amount of bandwidth available?

They could do things like, you know adding more fiberoptic cable to replace the junk that many outside of the new developments have to live with? Or how about Comcast actually start properly filtering the script-kiddies who are spoofing packets as well as the rest of misconfigured machines that are spewing garbage onto the Comcast internet backbones.

Isn't it embarrasing to be advertising (with those slick but utterly silly commercials) how much faster Comcast is and how much faster they are becoming when we're lagging behind in average speeds compared to many places in the world?

There's not enough competition in the broadband industry. Most people have a choice between cable and DSL and that's it.

I hope they aren't advertising their service as unlimited. Even if 250 gigabytes is a high limit, it's still a limit.

Common folks, it is just the word limit that pisses you all off. This is really and indictment of our society. No one wants to be accountable, just do anything that feels good and screw anyone that gets in the way. You have to put this in perspective. I pay about 59 bucks plus taxes (you the city charges that were supposed to go for street infrastructure repair) and get 250 gig and get free McAfee for all my computers too (5). I also pay 59 bucks a month for my wireless broadband and get 5 gig. No, I am not a fan of Comcast and wish that there were competition with cable tv in my area. Hey, being connected is not a biological requirement like eating or having a place to sleep. Put it in perspective, it is really pretty cheap. Quit wining, go back to dial up.

Sorry about all the grammatical mistakes in the previous posts, lost my glasses.

"Switch to Verizon's FiOS"

I am. They are coming to hook me up on Saturday. For once I live in the right neighborhood.

Median would not be the typical or average (what they're implying) user--that would be the mean, or average.

Median would indicate that half the users are above the cited number, half below. Half above the number covers a lot of territory--and users, above their average. What, then is the average, or mean? Perhaps somewhat above the median, or not?

And with the mean, it might be useful to have the standard deviation to get an idea of the real range of usage? So we could tell where 67%, 95%, and 99% of their usage lies? It might be supportive of their contention, but the real numbers would be more convincing. What they're saying is that they have a certain number of users that are three standard deviations (less than 1%) above the mean usage.

And we could ask, then: How many actual users is that? I'm not denying that it's a problem, but I'm curious about how many users are causing the "problem" and if this is the best way to deal with them.

Not that Comcast would ever fiddle with the numbers...Have you ever tried to figure out why your bill keeps going up and up? But if the numbers are real, they can support their position.


TomR, not that I'm a comcast fan but they did figure out another way to deal with the abusers. They throttled down on the offenders connection. Comcast was taken to court over the issue and a judge told them to knock it off because they offered unlimited service and did not define a maximum useage. This is how comcast has responded to the judges decision.

Don't let Qwest scare you off of DSL, just go with a local ISP and pay your line charges to Qwest but don't use them for internet access. You can get it as cheap as $25/mo from locals like SpireTech (which I think is the only decent size locally-owned ISP left?).

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