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Old 05-08-2008, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

Well I think this was pretty much inevitable. Lots of Cable Internet company's are now getting ready to start setting caps for your internet then charge you for overages.

Granted I know some of you already have caps in place but I don't think your getting charged overages yet.

This is really going to put a hurting on future HD downloads and services like netflix online unless they have exemptions to certain sites. Who wants to get smacked with massive overage charges downloading video's online trying to save money not going to the video store and burning gas.

If you had to set a per month limit what would you feel was a reasonable amount? From reading this article I feel comcast has the best idea of 250GB per month although with heavy movie downloading I don't think thats going to be nearly enough for what the future holds IMO.

Quote:
Source Cable Broadband Users, Get Ready For Overage Fees
tags: competition business bandwidth Op/Ed Comcast RoadRunner Cable Rogers Hi-Speed
What seemed like a vague industry possibility just a few months ago now seems like an inevitable certainty. Multiple carriers in North America are now either employing or considering monthly caps where users pay per gigabyte should they "over eat." But the move begs a number of questions. Not least of which is whether opening the door to overage fees invites a broadband future where ISPs use the nebulous specter of "excessive use" as a new piggy bank -- and as a pre-emptive weapon against competing content.

Once we've agreed to the monetization of "excessive consumption," what stops ISPs from constantly lowering their definition of "excessive," while hiking user penalties?
Earlier this week I broke the news that Comcast is considering implementing a 250GB monthly cap, with a $15 penalty for each 10GB over that cap you travel. I've been reading through the various subsequent coverage (Associated Press, New York Times, CBC) , and came across this Business Week report. In it, Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley confirms they're still on track to begin testing their own overage system. If you recall, we also broke the news of that system, which could come with caps as low as 5GB per month.

The public backlash apparently didn't scare Time Warner Cable away from the project. While Time Warner Cable and Comcast are still cooking their overage plans, Canadian cable operator Rogers just became the first major North American broadband operator to implement such a system (60GB cap, between $1.25-$5 per additional gigabyte). Some smaller U.S. cable broadband providers like Oregon based BendBroadband have also embraced the idea (10-50GB cap, $1.50 per additional gigabyte).

If the caps are generous (and Comcast's 250GB cap is), being clear about them is certainly a welcome shift. However, many caps won't be so generous. And the sudden decision by the U.S. broadband industry to adopt a system where "excessive use" is punished by per-GB charges raises a lot of new questions.

What's To Keep FiOS From Eating Cable's Lunch?
Verizon has thus-far said they won't cap or restrict their FiOS FTTH service. With the cable industry suddenly imposing overage charges on high-consumption users, it immediately puts them at further marketing disadvantage to a product they're already afraid of. Sure, 250GB is reasonable, but it won't be hard for Verizon or AT&T's ad agency to make cable broadband service seem miserly. Cable won't have to worry about Qwest, who has their own invisible consumption ceiling and hasn't invested in fiber.

What Will Keep Caps And Overage Fees Reasonable?
Honestly, what's to keep investor pressure from constantly forcing caps downward and overage fees upward? Unless you're living in denial, we can generally agree that most broadband markets in the United States consist of a largely uncompetitive duopoly. In order to please investors and create consistent quarter over quarter growth, ISPs have been selling everything that isn't nailed down (your personal browsing data and even your typing mistakes).

Does anyone really believe that once overages become commonplace, the general trend won't be consistently lower caps and consistently higher overage fees? Once we've agreed to the monetization of "excessive consumption," what stops ISPs from constantly lowering their definition of "excessive," while hiking user penalties? The highly lobbied FCC? A bickering Congress? A cap that begins as reasonable can quickly become oppressive.

ISP Usage Meters Suck
Sorry to be blunt. Don't believe me? Spend some quality time in our HughesNet or Wild Blue satellite broadband forums talking to users of these services. Both providers cap monthly use, then throttle customers who exceed consumption limits. The provided meters for these providers have been so unreliable, many customers have been forced to code their own. Australia ISP Telstra created a billing nightmare when they tried to accurately track consumption back in 2002. Hopefully Time Warner Cable and Comcast do a better job.

If we agree that independent video is a direct and serious threat to cable television revenue, and we agree that the bandwidth needed for HD services will only grow, then what stops any cable operator from lowering the definition of "reasonable consumption" to deter use of competing HD services?
Usage Caps and Overages Impact Content Competition
It's a constant meme thrown out by network neutrality supporters, but it's true. The future consists of any number of bandwidth eating services that haven't been invented yet. The present consists of multiple, independent operators trying to force high-definition content down Comcast's pipe. DirecTV is launching an HD-delivery system that uses your bandwidth as a VOD delivery vessel.

Time Warner Cable's overage trials involve caps ranging from 5GB to 40GB per month. If we agree that independent video is a direct and serious threat to Time Warner Cable television revenue, and we agree that the bandwidth needed for HD services will only grow, then what stops any cable operator from lowering the definition of "reasonable consumption" to deter use of competing HD services?

Why Not Just Make Gluttons Pay For a Business-Class Tier?
Time Warner Cable and Comcast agree that "bandwidth hogs" make up a very small portion of their overall subscriber base. Comcast pegs the number of bandwidth hogs as the top 0.1% of their user base (14,000 customers out of Comcast's 14.1 million users). Time Warner Cable argues that 5% of their subscribers utilize over half of the total network bandwidth. So why would TWC want to impose a 5GB cap on lower-tier users?

These ISPs could simply force these high-consumption users to a more expensive business tier. Instead, they're choosing to monetize "excessive consumption." This is happening just at a point when their bread and butter income (TV and its endless rate hikes) is being threatened by alternative video. It's fair to ask whether the move is less about network strain, and more about a pre-emptive strike against competing video delivery systems.

Is This A Prelude To Billing By The Byte?
I've talked at length with multiple ISP executives who say their companies have no plan to currently shift from a flat-rate pricing model (the current U.S. standard) to a bill-by-the-byte model. The truth is that existing profit margins (particularly for VoIP) are very healthy, and many U.S. consumers already feel they pay too much for what they get. It's an uphill battle to convince consumers they should pay more, to get less.

The general consensus among executives seems to be that they'd love to migrate to such a model, but they're afraid of consumer backlash. But what if you could warm the public to per-byte billing via baby steps? What if you could convince Joe consumer that a bandwidth apocalypse is looming thanks to video and P2P, and per-byte billing is a "necessary evil" to save the Internet as we know it?

This Is About More Than 250GB Being Reasonable
To be clear, I do think having reasonable caps on consumption is vastly superior to nebulous caps, vague enforcement, and the throttling of upstream P2P traffic. But while I embrace clear caps, I think a shift toward per-GB overages is a dangerous migration that could have serious repercussions down the line for consumers and content competition. This is a door, once opened, that can't be stepped back through.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

To be honest I think downloading a HD movie is stupid. That what disc are for especially for such large content as HD movies
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Lindon View Post
To be honest I think downloading a HD movie is stupid. That what disc are for especially for such large content as HD movies
Digital content distribution is the way of the future, streaming / downloading a HD movie is a great idea.

I think a 200-300GB cap without overages is sufficient for almost all users right now. The biggest thing is bandwidth usage during peak time. I would not be against a plan limiting 200-300GB during peak times, and allowing unlimited downloads during non peak times. $10 per 100GB over is also a fair price for bandwidth, as their is still quite a profit margin however it's not completely screwing over the customer. (For example, 100Mb connectivity costs around $1500 per month as an example, which would allow over 16TB of data to be downloaded, however it would likely average out to about 50% usage with the whole peak times thing)

I am HIGHLY against making a service (ex. netflix) immune to bandwidth caps. Doing so violates the fundamentals of net neutrality. I am also highly against ISP's in any way stopping certain traffic or inspecting certain traffic (ex. torrents).
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

no this is messed up
thank god my cable company isnt doing this
(i hope at lest)
i pay a lot of money for fast net
i better get to use it as much as i want!!!
thats like limiting cable tv
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by esa193 View Post
no this is messed up
thank god my cable company isnt doing this
(i hope at lest)
i pay a lot of money for fast net
i better get to use it as much as i want!!!
thats like limiting cable tv
Cable TV is limited just like Satellite TV. You have your basic packages then you have extended packages with premium channels.

I wouldn't have a problem with them doing limited plans but I think to be fair they need to offer different packages based on download caps.

A example would be something like this. I'll just use are local comcast prices as an example.

8Mbps Down / 6Mbps Up is $59.95 per month. Say they made this the 250GB per month package.

They should have a option of say $79.95 for the same plan with say 500GB of bandwidth.

Then maybe a $99.95 package which would be unlimited.

All these packages are far more reasonable than my package with Verizon Wireless. Starting March 2, 2008 they implemented a new contract. Its $59.95 per month for 5GB of access then each MB over your 5GB limit is $0.49 cents. Thats MB's not GB's! Granted old accounts like mine get grandfathered in so we just get throttled instead of getting charged overages.

If you look at the history of the internet and the overall speeds from the past decade you'll see why setting and getting high limits is a must David.

Every year there are new services that come along that tax more and more bandwidth. Today you have all kinds of digital services like Amazon Unbox, NetFlix, and various other HD providers. Not to mention gaming systems like the PS3 and Xbox 360 with all there downloads for game demo's etc. I played GTA4 the other day and in about 2 hours used almost 400MB's just playing the game.

Like you I prefer to buy the physical disc's but ever since I've gotten a better connection I've been using Amazon to download TV episodes I forget to DVR. 30 minute episodes are roughly 500MB and 1 hr shows are around 900MB-1GB.

Its just a convince factor. I would be more inclined to rent some Blu Rays via the web rather than purchase since the download is only a few bucks to rent. I'd have more tied up in gas just driving to the store to rent it than getting it online excluding the rental fee from the store. If I liked it and decided to buy it I would go to the store. But with gas prices rising the days of going to the video store are going to be less popular as we get faster speeds and more options to download via the internet.

Overall Storage space for your computer is becoming cheaper and cheaper these days with 750GB HD's around $130 bucks. In another year you should be able to pickup 1.5GB HD's for the same price if not cheaper.

I do agree with DJ-Chris the 250GB of space per month would be more than sufficient for the average user. But then again I think your going to see the average user doing a lot more in the next few years compared to today.

People just are not aware of all the things you can do through the web yet so there not using there connections as much as they really could be.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

i ment by that like paying to watch tv
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

There have been download caps in Canada for years. :/

Low too... isn't the Rogers Ultra-Lite cap like 3GB?
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

Meh, i have a cap. Im not bothered.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

i have a cap of 60gb upload/download a month. not complaining. never went over like 45gb
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: What do you feel is reasonable Cable Usage limits?

idk if i have a cap, i have charter cable...any way i can check? (i think charter is a part of comcast)
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