Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Comcast Officially Informs Customers of 250 GB Monthly Limit

I’ve been hearing news during the last week that Comcast is officially imposing a monthly 250 GB limit on traffic for their high speed Internet users. Since I use their service and telecommute part of the time, I’ve been paying attention to it, wondering how it will affect things like my VOIP use for work, iTunes video downloads, etc.

Today, I actually received the official notice from Comcast. I reproduce it in its entirety below. I do wish that I had other options (even though 250 GB is a lot of traffic) but there is no DSL or other connectivity in my part of Oakland. The infrastructure around this part of the Bay Area is crap.

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.