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Surprise! Internet Users Dislike Broadband Cap

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 50 comments

It’s no secret that internet service providers are considering broadband caps to cut down costs. However many U.S. consumers dislike the idea and will gladly change carriers if their current BSP implements the restrictions.

In Zeugma Systems’ recent survey conducted for the International Data Corporation (source), 81 percent of the 787 U.S. customers polled proclaimed their dislike for a bandwidth cap and the additional charges for internet use beyond the limit. However, 83 percent had no idea what a gigabyte was or just how much bandwidth they actually consume. 51 percent of those polled added that they would actually switch service providers if broadband caps were set in place. Some even claimed to actually pay for additional premium services if necessary.

"These results are both an opportunity and a warning for BSPs," said Kevin Walsh, Zeugma Systems vice president of marketing. "The opportunity is that consumers are signaling a willingness to pay more for dedicated bandwidth over and above basic high speed internet for such services as premium internet video, VOIP, gaming, and corporate VPN access. The warning is a clear distaste for bandwidth caps. At a minimum, providers moving forward with bandwidth capping schemes may want to consider a more intelligent and flexible application of caps.”

Starting today, Comcast residential customers are now limited to 250 GB per month. The company claims that the new limit is more than enough for its customers, and will more than likely never surpass the limit. But considering the consumers who purchases games and movies online, this restriction may feel more like a punishment than means to save money on behalf of the BSP. Online gamers may face the largest setback, especially those playing on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Everquest 2.

So why implement a level cap at all? According to this article over on DSLReports, the broadband limits are speculated to be the result of addressing people who download more than the typical user. These people, of course, are more than likely users sharing files or downloading pirated software outside P2P networks. But for legit consumers eating massive amounts of bandwidth, studies show that a good chunk of the consumption involves downloading HD video.

Additionally, Time Warner Cable recently shut down its newgroups service, claiming that the company had no way to police files stored on Usenet servers. Time Warner is also currently testing broadband caps in Beaumont, Texas. "The introduction of Consumption Based Billing will enable TWC to charge customer based upon usage, impacting only 5% of subscribers who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth," states Time Warner in a leaked memo (source). The broadband caps Time Warner is testing range between 5 GB to 40 GB monthly.

Whether consumers like it or not, it seems to be only a matter of time before the entire American BSP market faces broadband caps. If time Warner succeeds testing and implements the cap, other BSPs will likely follow suit. If Comcast stands firm with its 250 GB limit, the company may face a surge in subscriptions once other BSPs begin 40 GB restrictions.

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  • 4 Hide
    estreetguy , October 2, 2008 6:41 AM
    I used to laugh at people with unprotected wireless routers. Now I just plain feel sorry for them.
  • 2 Hide
    tektek , October 2, 2008 6:48 AM
    Screw'em.. i'll jump to Verizon broadband till fios shows up...
    the world is trying to see who can reach the 100 Mbps speed and we're stuck on 3-6 mpbs with caps!
  • 2 Hide
    DFGum , October 2, 2008 7:15 AM
    God, id use this up so fast. And i dont even download much.
  • Display all 50 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    dyingcat , October 2, 2008 7:32 AM
    250Gigs? :o  I thought it'd be like 10G or something when I started reading the article. We have 100Mbps connection here in Japan (and they started 1000Mbps service last month), and even with this connection I dont think I've ever downloaded that much in a month..
    With HD content popping out in the next 2-3 years, I guess people will start getting close to the cap i suppose
  • 0 Hide
    the_one111 , October 2, 2008 7:33 AM
    estreetguyI used to laugh at people with unprotected wireless routers. Now I just plain feel sorry for them.

    Jeez.. and its legal to use their internet too..

    Hello legal "crime" spree of wasting my neighbors money..

    Seriously, i wonder how the porn addicts will deal with this? go find unprotected networks and then dl their "fix" to their computer.

    Talk about screwed up....

    Say goodbye to multiplayer!
  • 0 Hide
    dyingcat , October 2, 2008 7:38 AM
    Btw, how much bandwith does multiplayer games on average use?
    Say...for an hour of WoW?
  • -1 Hide
    DFGum , October 2, 2008 8:19 AM
    dyingcat250Gigs? I thought it'd be like 10G or something when I started reading the article. We have 100Mbps connection here in Japan (and they started 1000Mbps service last month), and even with this connection I dont think I've ever downloaded that much in a month..With HD content popping out in the next 2-3 years, I guess people will start getting close to the cap i suppose

    Download speed and a cap are not the same thing.
  • 1 Hide
    DFGum , October 2, 2008 8:27 AM
    dyingcatBtw, how much bandwith does multiplayer games on average use? Say...for an hour of WoW?


    30Mbyte/hour in heavy areas in WoW and fps games.
    If your in a no where zone, or sitting in some unused zone or something.
    1-5Mbyte/hour.
    Now you hafta remember you upload also.
    Now imagine adding in your monthly WoW patch also. Whatever else you do in the net, and if your on a router with a family.
    5gb will definately be eaten up, most WoW gamers would easily use up the 40gb, and the heavy raiders would probably need far more. Estimating 33GB used up in the month with WoW alone.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , October 2, 2008 8:39 AM
    I hope Australian ISPs follow suit and increase caps to 250GB, rather than the typical 5-40GB. That or optical media will need to remain in place of HD content downloading for a few more decades.
  • 0 Hide
    Skouperd , October 2, 2008 8:56 AM
    I am from South Africa and our typical cap here is restricted at between 1GB and 3GB per month thanks to Telkom. I can only drool over a 250GB cap. Check out www.hellkom.co.za for comparitive costs / pricing for bigger caps... (By the way, our fastest broad band connection is 4Mb)
  • 0 Hide
    Ascadia , October 2, 2008 9:30 AM
    Between Steam, Hamachi, Ventrilo, Netflicks and at least one MMO running on both my and my Wifes computers I can honestly say I am concerned with Time Warner testing the 5-40 gig limit.

    250gigs a month is a lot, if they were willing to uncap my upload speeds then I would be willing to take a 250gig limit for a home internet connection at $50 a month... but 5-40gigs? I would use that in a week.

    Fortunately I live in Vermont, and they are always the last to catch on to things like this.
  • 0 Hide
    magicandy , October 2, 2008 11:18 AM
    DFGumDownload speed and a cap are not the same thing.


    Um genius, what dyingcat was implying was that even with Japan's insane speeds, he never comes close to downloading 250GB/month. There are caps that are quite unfair, but 250 GB/month is not even close to being an unfair cap. It's pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. I highly doubt many people consume more than 100 GB/month, let alone 250.
  • 1 Hide
    xrodney , October 2, 2008 11:34 AM
    Well My PC is on net 24/7 and even if i will not DL any game, demo, movie etc, even if its from legal sources i still have over 100GB each month.
    if i count it i can make 10+GB per month for online games, 20GB for web browsing, 10GB for messaging services, several GB for software updates and new drivers, several tens of GB for work data. Add some watching of streaming video and radio stations and you can easily reach even TB without downloading. And there is usualy more then one person on single connection.

    Also dont forget that there is increasing trend in torrent distribution of game clients and patches from Blizard, EA and other companies whitch can make another tens or hunderets GB of your trafic.
  • 0 Hide
    DFGum , October 2, 2008 12:27 PM
    magicandy

    Um genius, what dyingcat was implying was that even with Japan's insane speeds, he never comes close to downloading 250GB/month. There are caps that are quite unfair, but 250 GB/month is not even close to being an unfair cap. It's pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. I highly doubt many people consume more than 100 GB/month, let alone 250
    magicandy

    Unless he is downloading 24/7 his speed doesnt matter.
    Most people i know do over 100gb easy.
    Gaming, watching video's email etc. Even the guy above me says he uses 100gb.
    Just wiping and reinstalling/patching WoW will cost you a few gb.
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , October 2, 2008 12:30 PM
    I thought Comcast said that they have always had this limit in place, but that they only publicized the cap when they were required to. Ive been waiting for my first notice. These are my last 3 months downloads, from newsgroups alone. You would be surprised at how much you can download in 24 hrs at 1MB/s.

    Start End Days Bytes GB
    06/14/2008 07/14/2008 30.00 464,791,677,176 464.79
    07/14/2008 08/14/2008 31.00 179,961,771,447 179.96
    08/14/2008 09/15/2008 32.00 746,113,079,803 746.11
    09/15/2008 10/2/2008 17.29 375,879,374,464 375.88
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , October 2, 2008 12:31 PM
    magicandyUm genius, what dyingcat was implying was that even with Japan's insane speeds, he never comes close to downloading 250GB/month. There are caps that are quite unfair, but 250 GB/month is not even close to being an unfair cap. It's pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. I highly doubt many people consume more than 100 GB/month, let alone 250.

    First it is 250GB for $50, than 100GB for $40, the 100GB will increase to $50 and the 250GB to $70 and so on.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , October 2, 2008 12:33 PM
    Depending on ISP, you can get 25GB for $70+ here :lol: 
  • 3 Hide
    JonathanDeane , October 2, 2008 12:40 PM
    Sure 5% use half the bandwidth but that number will soon change, to something like 50% as more people start using HD video downloads and steam based games. But this bandwidth cap might head that off and kill it before it hatches. Maybe verizon FIOS will save the day since they will have less interest in keeping people from downloading movies and games. Time Warner, I am 100% sure will have a severe download cap as they want you to buy disks and save the network for grandma who uses 5-10 megabytes a month on her email and still pays 50$ a month....

    On the flip side of the coin why should grandma pay 50$ a month if all she does is check email ? Sounds shifty to me with all this talk of caps to not have a tiered service plan 10$ for grandma a month sounds more then fair to me. But I bet you will never hear of such a plan since this would cut into the profits they make off people who do not really need what they are selling.
  • 0 Hide
    rubix_1011 , October 2, 2008 12:50 PM
    Yeah? You guys think this stinks, my ISP has been doing this for a couple years now, and get this, our cap is 10gb for a 6 meg pipe. Every gig over 10 is +$2...

    They are the only cable broadband in town and DSL doesn't offer much in the way of an alternative compared to the speeds of cable.
  • 2 Hide
    ThePatriot , October 2, 2008 1:25 PM
    Here is the deal in Amsterdam NL: Real broadband.....
    60 Mbit down / 6 Mbit up for 60 euros per month, no caps.
    Tip: move to Amsterdam, the internet Capital of the world. :-)
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