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The Internet Communications News

Charter Cable Capping Usage Nationwide This Month 369

Posted by timothy
from the coming-soon-to-you-from-them dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from DSL Reports, with possible bad news for Charter customers who live outside the test areas for the bandwidth caps the company's been playing with: "Yesterday we cited an anonymous insider at Charter who informed us that the company would very soon be implementing new caps. Today, Charter's Eric Ketzer confirmed the plans, and informed us that Charter's new, $140 60Mbps tier will not have any limitations. Speeds of 15Mbps or slower will have a 100GB monthly cap, while 15-25Mbps speeds will have a 250GB monthly cap. 'In order to continue providing the best possible experience for our Internet customers, later this month we will be updating our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to establish monthly residential bandwidth consumption thresholds,' Ketzer confirms. 'More than 99% of our customers will not be affected by our updated policy, as they consume far less bandwidth than the threshold allows,' he says." But if they're lucky, customers will be able to hit that cap quickly.
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Charter Cable Capping Usage Nationwide This Month

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  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:27PM (#26742167)

    The top paragraph points out that the 60mb service has no cap.

    • by XanC (644172) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:29PM (#26742189)

      I believe his point was that Allen may sell the company, and then all bets are off.

      • by Sun.Jedi (1280674)

        Hit the cap and pay double/month for the 60mb service without caps instead of the capped 25mb service. I agree the OP is inferring that Allen may just stay if that happens.

        I have charter's 16/2 and was considering moving to fios for the 20mb+ packages offered. I also wanted to dump Charter copper phone, and go voip over fios to help defray total package costs (tv, phone, internet) with a better down/up speed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          >>>hit the cap and pay double/month for the 60mb service without caps instead of the capped 25mb service

          Precisely. If you want the "goods" then you should pay the piper. That's entirely fair. It's how everything from water usage to electric usage to gasoline usage works. The more you use, the more you pay. ----- As for myself, I'd be happy with a 100 Meg cap, since my traffic report says I only downloaded 55 Meg last month. Nowhere near the limit.

          • by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:06PM (#26742699)

            Absolutely - - - - as long as they stop advertising all plans below 60mbs as "unlimited".

            That's been the problem the previous times bandwidth has been brought up. It's not that caps are bad per se, it's that advertising "unlimited" then implementing a (often hidden) cap is fraud.

            And of course, another complication is the fact that last-mile competition is stifled by private ownership of the wire, which together with an undue burden on residents for unlimited fiber pulls, creates a very high barrier to entry for new companies willing to offer truly unlimited service and take market share from the entrenched (literally, in this case) competitors.

            • by fermion (181285) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:09PM (#26743873) Homepage Journal
              When I was young and poor, I kept my electricity use very low. Why? Because there was one rate for low users, and another for high users. The amount of electricity I could use was unlimited, if I wanted to pay for it. By not crossing that limit, I kept my bill absurdly low.

              Of course people today are used to using unlimited service, even me. But there is always a limit, as no resource is infinite. The question usually is do we have to enforce that limit explicitly, or will the market tend to enforce it. For instance, in garbage collection I grew up with unlimited garbage collection. There were practical limits on what could be collected, and I suppose that sometime garbage would not be collected, and i would not call that fraud, but for the most part it worked rather well. But eventually people got lazy, greedy, and wasteful, and a formal limit had to be set. For most of us the limit was not a problem, and we were happy that the parasites who leeched off our taxes were contained.

              I think that is what is going on here. I do not think that what amounts to a 142 MB limit per hour of every day is anything that most people would consider a limit. I do not think most services actually effectively feed more than 2 or 3 MB per minute, and least not every minute of day all year. I think that most people would be happy to know that cost are being contained so they are not forced to forced for some other persons p0rm habit. I think it would be more fraudulent to raise rates just to insure other people can run a cheap P2p service, not matter how noble such a service might be.

              I also understand that many would say this is just anticompetitive behavior to prevent streaming TV and movies which are becoming more popular. To this I would say, how much tv do you watch? If you are talkiing about downloading extremely good quality movies, at 1 GB a piece, yes, that will eat up the limit, but if you are doing that I would think you would spring for the high speed unlimited service. Otherwise the stuff coming off, say netflix, seems pretty small and one would have to watch a hell of lot of TV to reach that limit. Again, i would not want to subsidize such use. On regular TV, the more you watch the more ads you see. On the web this is not the case.

              • by CaptCovert (868609) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:37PM (#26744353)

                Otherwise the stuff coming off, say netflix, seems pretty small and one would have to watch a hell of lot of TV to reach that limit.

                Yes, one would have to watch a hell of a lot of TV to reach that limit. I have 6 'users' in my home, all of whom could theoretically be pulling down these movies. Will I hit my cap? Chances are, yes.

                OTOH, why should I, someone that is using the bandwidth that I paid for (for completely legitimate reasons, mind), be penalized simply because you use less? You are not subsidizing my use of the internet, you're simply not using all of the internet available to you, and declaring that everyone should be pulled down to your standard, or you are 'losing money'.

                Also, are you getting some sort of price break when my usage is capped? I mean, if the point of this is to save you money (in the form of a lack of subsidization), where are those savings?

                To put this into perspective, let's consider a hypothetical: You own a gym membership. You use the gym in what is considered a 'standard' manner. Let's say, 1 hour a day, Monday - Friday. I own a gym membership as well. I, however, am a health nut, and devote 4 hours a day to physical fitness, including weekends (when I spend 6 a day). Well, the 'average' user (you) only uses the gym 1 hour a day, and even 99% of the gym members work out no more than 2 hours a day. Well, since it'll only impact a few, the gym decides to implement a policy that allows someone no more than, say, 21 hours per week (7 days a week, 3 hours per day). I mean, I am using up this finite resource (If I'm on a particular weight machine, you can't use it), and I'm using it a lot more than anyone else. Should my usage be capped off, simply because I'm using the service provided to me?

                Analogies like this can be created for nearly ANY service industry that offers a flat rate. That is the risk that you, as a company, take when offering a flat rate. The fact that so many companies are trying to back out of it in the tech field now sickens me. Society would be up in arms quite a bit more if it started happening in other industries.

              • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:06PM (#26745553) Homepage Journal

                The limits kind of seem like bullshit. We pay more for all grades of connection than in (many) other countries, even in the cities where population density is highest, and get less for it. I might point out that we are seeing a re-consolidation of telcos back into Ma Bell (but this time with a Death Star twist) that can't possibly be good for consumers. And "oddly" the frequencies that were supposed to help solve this last mile problem are being held on to for another little slice of time so that more people can get their television converter box handouts.

          • by edmicman (830206) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:21PM (#26743011) Homepage Journal
            But you're paying for water usage and electric usage for a finite resource, not the means of transmission. All Charter or any other ISP is providing me is a means to access a resource. I'm paying my water company for the water I use, not the pipes that it comes in on. If I wanted, I could contract with Koolaid to put a reservoir on my land where my water comes in, and I would pay them to provide Koolaid instead of water. Would I keep paying the water company?

            Bandwidth caps are stupid stupid stupid, as are the retarded attempts to defend them. This is a situation where the ISPs *don't* want to build new infrastructure and lower their margins, so they are attempting to socially engineer lower bandwidth consumption. If you're running out of space on your pipes, build bigger and more pipes. Don't try and coerce people to use *less* of your service.

            WTF would Charter do if all of a sudden every single subscriber signed up for the 60Meg tier and maxed out their bandwidth 24/7. They'd be back in the same fucking boat they're in now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Hit the cap and pay double/month for the 60mb service without caps instead of the capped 25mb service. I agree the OP is inferring that Allen may just stay if that happens.

          I have charter's 16/2 and was considering moving to fios for the 20mb+ packages offered. I also wanted to dump Charter copper phone, and go voip over fios to help defray total package costs (tv, phone, internet) with a better down/up speed."

          Does Charter offer a 'business' account? If so, get those....if they're like Cox, they aren't

    • by hemp (36945) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:46PM (#26742401) Homepage Journal

      The top paragraph points out that the 60mb service has no cap.

      For now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sta7ic (819090)

      It started as "RTFA".
      Then it became "RTFS".
      Now it's "The Editor Should RTFS".
      Sheesh.

  • by LordKaT (619540)

    Alright, I'm willing to live with bandwidth caps as long as there are some tiers that are uncapped. It's the forced cap on all tiers - especially the high bandwidth ones - that really get my head scratching.

    Of course this is coming from a guy who has am uncapped 15/1 ADSL2+ line.

    • Re:Ok (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amouth (879122) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:56PM (#26742547)

      I'm fine with caps at all ranges - as long as they are advertised as such - and i don't mean in the small print - if they advertise a connection as unlimited it should be just that.. unlimited.. not "unlimited until 200gb"

  • by slifox (605302) * on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:29PM (#26742187)

    Just like Comcast... I'm getting sick of this crap

    If you get 250GB/month, then you're actually allowed a constant usage of 0.78mbps, regardless of whether you can burst up to 15mbps (or whatever).

    Comcast internet service runs $50 to $70 on average, depending on the burst speed you get.
    However, the limit is always 250GB/month. So doing the math, you're paying $65 to $90 per megabit/sec!

    At any given datacenter, you can buy (100mbit-burstable) bandwidth at $5 per megabit/sec (price includes renting a server, rack space, power, and cooling).

    Someone will of course respond "then don't use their service." Well, thats great, I'd love to. Unfortunately my government subsidy to Comcast gave Comcast a monopoly on the lines... and for some reason there are areas of the city that are "designated RCN" areas, while others are "designated Comcast" areas. What is this bullshit??

    I'm angry at telecommunications companies.

    • Someone will of course respond "then don't use their service." Well, thats great, I'd love to. Unfortunately my government subsidy to Comcast gave Comcast a monopoly on the lines... and for some reason there are areas of the city that are "designated RCN" areas, while others are "designated Comcast" areas. What is this bullshit??

      You didn't look hard enough for alternatives. T1 service is available almost everywhere, with no caps.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        T1 service is available almost everywhere, with no caps.

        Too bad it's A) unaffordable, B) not really fast enough for a lot of applications (streaming high quality video comes to mind)

      • 1.5mbps is not terribly attractive.

        • Speakeasy offers a product called "OneLink DSL" which provides up to 6 Mbps on a dedicated data line, and doesn't require phone service. Plans start at $55.95/month, and include a static IP. If you go with their "OneLink SelectPlus" plans, 4 static IPs are provided. All plans have up to 768 Kbps upstream, depending on which one you choose. There are options out there.
    • I am going to consider this post a rant unless the author is willing to take initiative and find these subsidies and locate the section where these providers are liable if they fail to deliver.
    • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:21PM (#26743003)
      If you get 250GB/month, then you're actually allowed a constant usage of 0.78mbps, regardless of whether you can burst up to 15mbps (or whatever).

      For Internet "use" (meaning actual interactive use, streaming HD video, VoIP calls, web surfing, game playing, etc.) you are sitting there. Presuming you work, you spend 9 hours a day at an 8 hour a day job (lunch) plus an hour each way for the average person, and you have lost 11 hours a day. Add in 8 hours of sleeping. That's 19 hours a day. You blow 1 hour a day on bathroom time getting ready for work, fixing food, etc. We'll assume you are on the Internet while eating. So, for a weekday, you have about 4 hours a day of Internet use. Toss in 16 hours every weekend day (8 hours of sleep, and nothing but Internet all day long) and you are looking at being at a computer around 50 hours a week. That's more like 3 Mbps. So, what are you doing that is 3 Mbps for every second you are sitting at the computer? You can stream regular TV 100% of your usage, while downloading ISOs, checking mail, chatting, calling people over VoIP and such without ever hitting the cap, depending on compression, you could even be watching HD TV 100% of the time. Even if you are a porn downloader, with common compression, you could download 24/7 and still download faster than you can watch it without ever hitting your cap. I'm sure people out there will hit it. But I have no idea what they are doing that would qualify as "residential Internet use" that would have them smack a 250 GB/month limit.
      • by Wiscocrew (1254242) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:50PM (#26743533)
        Some people use their connection when they're not sitting at their computer.
        • by Wiscocrew (1254242) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:56PM (#26743639)
          And some people have more than one person using the connection.
      • by cheesebilly (1191145) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:30PM (#26744237)

        You blow 1 hour a day on bathroom time getting ready for work, fixing food, etc.

        Last I checked, only Kramer fixed his food in the bathroom... in the shower specifically.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      Welcome to America comrade, here is your jar of Vaseline. You are gonna need it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490)

      I for one am glad for the caps. The #1 thing I want is for the terms of service to state the service, not promise infinite speeds and infinite bandwidth. The caps they put in place are completely reasonable.

      If you get 250GB/month, then you're actually allowed a constant usage of 0.78mbps, regardless of whether you can burst up to 15mbps (or whatever).

      Sounds about right. Were you meaning for this to be a complaint?

      So doing the math, you're paying $65 to $90 per megabit/sec!

      So what? That metric would only be relevant if you were using bandwidth constantly. Since home users do not do so, then this complaint is moot. If you are using it constantly, then you are doing more than "residential" type stuff. Sam

      • by Braino420 (896819) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:32PM (#26745175)

        I for one am glad for the caps.

        You're glad you're getting less from your ISP even though you're paying them the same amount? Very suspicious.

        The #1 thing I want is for the terms of service to state the service, not promise infinite speeds and infinite bandwidth.

        Everybody would; that's the problem. Comcast et al have promised "unlimited" and that's what everyone expects. I'm kind of surprised that you would take a cap as apposed to Comcast providing what they originally offered. Or, Comcast could also re-evaluate the way they have been selling and offer a choice to their existing customers. Instead they simply change the contract. All within their rights, but I'm still shocked you're satisfied by that.

        The caps they put in place are completely reasonable.

        For you. For now.

        That metric would only be relevant if you were using bandwidth constantly. Since home users do not do so, then this complaint is moot.

        What? Citation needed. Have you seen the difference between business/residential rates for internet? I think if you did, you would stop considering this as a possibility for any home users. There needs to be a tier in-between that is reasonable.

        If you have a few hundred thousand dollars, they will happily run a line to your house, and provide you with $5 per megabit/sec service.

        Wow, so you do seem to know the difference. So you are totally unreasonable then. Great.

        The government is to blame for the monopoly situation. So I place my anger there. The telecoms are actually starting to come around (hence the bandwidth caps).

        This is what really gets me about your post, and why I think you probably work for some ISP. The government is to blame for giving them money to set up an infrastructure? Aww poor monopoly, you should be allowed to abuse it! As John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

        If you don't work for a ISP, it's important that you understand that it's reasonable for the ISPs to use all of the money that has been given to them thus far and upgrade their infrastructure. Many countries are waay far ahead of us now as it relates to residential broadband. But instead of upgrading their infrastructure, they are choosing to spend money looking for ways to limit their customers. I don't know why you wouldn't want to join most other countries with their 100+Mbps broadband connections, but this is definitely putting up road blocks to us getting there. Please look a few years into the future and see the potential that such fat connections would have for the internet and see how ISPs are getting in the way of that. You may not need these fat connections now, but as people get them there will be more services that can saturate them.

  • New 60Mbps service (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Panseh (1072370)

    But if they're lucky, customers will be able to hit that cap quickly.

    This refers to the 60Mbps service being offered. However, the summary itself says it will have no cap.

    Does Charter offer their customers anyway to check on their bandwidth usage? If not, do they intend to release those tools?

    • by nabsltd (1313397) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:34PM (#26743223)

      But if they're lucky, customers will be able to hit that cap quickly.

      This refers to the 60Mbps service being offered. However, the summary itself says it will have no cap.

      Still, at 15Mpbs, you can hit the 100GB cap for that service level in just 14 hours.

      For the 25Mbps service, you hit the 250GB cap in 22 hours. Or, as others have pointed out, the 250GB cap allows you to average 760514 bits per second (about 750Kbps). If you download something that takes just 2 minutes at 25Mbps, that means you essentially can't use your connection at all for the next hour to bring you back to the average.

      If you can't actually get the quoted max speed (which is usually the case), this helps a bit, but then you still end up in the situation of paying for more than they can possibly deliver.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BlueStrat (756137)

      Does Charter offer their customers anyway to check on their bandwidth usage? If not, do they intend to release those tools?

      Not that I'm aware of as a customer, and probably not.

      Why should they? It would cost them money. It would also emphasize the caps in the publics' perceptions. They'll just slam the poor customer (like me, possibly, if my usage grows...having the bad luck to live where Charter is the local government-mandated monopoly) and/or simply cut them off.

      They really don't want customers that actu

  • by elij (1430533) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:30PM (#26742203) Homepage
    Where I live in Canada, my only high speed option is the dreadlord Rogers Cable. MY monthly limit? 95GB, and that's with their most expensive (re: 54.95 monthly) service. Granted, I can go over but I'm charged a rather whopping 2.00 for every 1GB I'm over. I'd love to see other options but I'm SoL where I live.
    • by Pope (17780)

      Eh, whatever. I've got the Extreme ROgers package, and don't remember the last time I even went above 50% of my mothly usage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jester998 (156179)

      The Rogers overage charges stop at $25. So whether you use 150GB or 1TB per month, your bill will only be $54.95 + $25.00 + taxes.

      My bandwidth is regularly several hundred gigs a month on Rogers Extreme. I've done 1TB+ in a month before.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Rogers may not be your only option. I was previously under the impression that either Bell or Rogers were my only options for internet. Then I found out about Teksavvy, and switched over to them. Significantly less bullshit, and WAY WAY WAY cheaper.
      Before I was getting nailed with $70-$80 bills every month from Bell and they'd just put 'bandwidth usage' with the added cost of all the gigs I went over my 50 gig limit (not being terribly specific in that regard mind you). Plus the bastards were throttling my

  • For the 15-25Mbps folks, that's ~28hrs of solid downloading at 20Mbps. Hopefully I did the math right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mastadex (576985)

      'More than 99% of our customers will not be affected by our updated policy, as they consume far less bandwidth than the threshold allows'

      If the VAST majority of the users use less then the cap, whats the point of having a cap anyway? 1% of users going over won't effect anything.

      • by AndersOSU (873247)

        The 1% of people use way more than 1% of the bandwidth.

    • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:02PM (#26742631)
      Google [google.com] can help a lot on this kind of calculation.

      (250 gigabytes) / (25 Mbps) = 22.7555556 hours

      Sometimes, because of how advanced google can be at providing answers for everything and anything, I wonder if with Google we are moving towards singularity. I for one welcome our all-seeing eye overlord.

      P.S. It amazes me even more to know that the link to this very Slashdot article was returned by the above linked google query even before I submitted this comment. Scary (and circular) stuff!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts. The same type of thing happened back when Netscrape came out (RIP Gopher you'll be missed, *sniff*); pictures could be embedded in web browsers. Remember the jpg vs gif debates? We used to have a partial t1, now we play with partial gig 10 years later.

    I'm guessing history will repeat itself, and while some companies will have limits, others wont, and they will advertise that way. From the article, this shouldn't bother anything serious about their downloads.

    (

  • I don't ever come close to that on my charter account, but I would hope that if I did hit the cap, instead of cutting me off, Charter would simply drop me down to 256kb/s. Painful, but still usable.

    • by bittmann (118697)

      I don't ever come close to that on my charter account, but I would hope that if I did hit the cap, instead of cutting me off, Charter would simply drop me down to 256kb/s. Painful, but still usable.

      Ahhh...but they can't make money CHARGING you for that, can they?

  • I use Road Runner and it is at 10mbs oddly enough that is fast enough for me and I am not at all interested in the 15mbs upgrade. 60mbs is way more then I ever need. So you put caps on the slow speeds to make people want to upgrade.

    • I use Road Runner and it is at 10mbs oddly enough that is fast enough for me and I am not at all interested in the 15mbs upgrade. 60mbs is way more then I ever need. So you put caps on the slow speeds to make people want to upgrade.

      I prefer not to have my ISP be synonymous with both the RIAA and MPAA, therefore I choose to go offline/pirate internet rather than subscribe to Time-Warner internet for my area for the time being.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:38PM (#26742301)

    I realize these are pretty high caps, but what happens at the end of the month when your heaviest users hit their caps? Isn't it going to be a stretch to say that you cap usage due to bandwidth constraints, yet because the heaviest users are not using it the available bandwidth skyrockets?

    Another thought is, you buy/lease/subscribe to a line with 20mbps and that's what you expect out of your service. Is it reasonable to expect that they multiply each user by their speed and have enough bandwidth to supply all of their customers? We all seem to understand when phones get overloaded during emergencies, but if that internet doesn't come to us immediately it's suddenly bait and switch, that we can't use what we were sold?

    My point is, I suppose, we are sold the connection to the ISP at a certain speed, but we are not guaranteed that it will function at that speed. If bandwidth is available, why the arbitrary cap? Shouldn't it be more like you lose priority after hitting a certain level?

    • by sssssss27 (1117705) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#26742485)
      If bandwidth is available, why the arbitrary cap? Shouldn't it be more like you lose priority after hitting a certain level?

      Exactly. I have no problem with caps or even quality of service. If the ISPs actually worked with their customers then a lot of these problems they are having could go away. I wouldn't have any problems with my bit torrent packets having lower priority than someone's VOIP packets. One is far more sensitive to latency than the other. I also wouldn't mind them decreasing my uploading bandwidth during peak hours and giving me increased uploading bandwidth during non peak hours.
      • expression of redistribution of resources. Instead of being able to have what you can afford you can only have what everyone else can have.

        Administered by corporate entity or government entity there is no difference in the outcome. Regardless of service availability everyone gets limited all to stop those who are "excessive" and help those under privileged.

      • by jjhall (555562) <slashdot AT mail4geeks DOT com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:23PM (#26743069) Homepage

        I have no problem at all with QOS implemented by an ISP as long as it is fair, such as all VoIP packets getting the same priority, regardless of whether they have their own offering or not. As long as they don't prioritize their own services, I think they should still be allowed to maintain their common carrier status.

        I do however have a problem with changing the upload speed. If they want to cap my download, go for it, but leave upload along. QOS in Smoothwall, Tomato, DD-WRT, and other routers is based on a constant upload bandwidth. This means in order to ensure you have proper-functioning QOS during a rate cap, you have to configure it for the capped speed at all times. You can no longer take advantage of your uncapped speed.

        The best way to handle high-usage customers is to downgrade their priority once they hit a threshold. That way if my neighbors aren't using the bandwidth, I can. Why let the pipe sit there empty? When the neighbors need it, my priority goes down to make sure they see the speeds until they hit their own cap.

        Since most peering arrangements are based on the percentage of traffic moving in one direction based on the other, they should be encouraging customers to be on the uploading side as it will help tip the scales in their direction and actually reduce their bandwidth expense.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by eth1 (94901)

          Or perhaps sell bandwidth based on Guaranteed/Burst rates.

          Guaranteed = you can't over-sell this, and it has un-restricted use; 100% of your subscribers should be able to use this 100% of the time (and thus increasing this is expsensive, but most people don't need much).
          Burst = any spare bandwidth is evenly allocated for burst use.

          So your basic connection would have 256Kbit guaranteed and up to 20Mbit Burst.

          A scheme like this would at least allow the constant-download/upload crowd to set appropriate traffic

  • Just like slashdot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by qoncept (599709)
    If I can recall, every time I've seen a story about slashdot before today, there were 100 comments saying "They need to just have a firm cap." Now everyone is complaining about the firm cap.

    The fact of the matter is, you asked for it, you got it, and arguing that 250gb a month isn't reasonable would be tough. Comcast is right - that should cover 99% of their customers, and of the 1% who "need" more bandwidth, 99% of them probably aren't using it for legitimate downloads. Anyone who needs more than that s
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)

      Why shouldn't they pay the same? They are paying for speed, not the amount of bandwidth they are using. Will the price drop for those with capped connections? Because after all, now that all the "higher need" users are paying more, those that doesn't use a lot should pay less, right?

      • by qoncept (599709)
        You're wrong. Comcast is capping bandwidth beginning this month. They are paying for speed and bandwidth.
        • by Sensible Clod (771142) <dc-7@charte r . net> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:22PM (#26743027) Homepage
          Listen, bud. The agreement we signed didn't say anything about how much we could use per month. We're paying for a dumb pipe of X megabits per second, to use as much as we like. They want to change the terms AFTER the fact. My monitor indicates that in 2008, 9 months out of 12 we exceeded 100GB, and 3 of those months we exceeded 250GB.

          They are just greedy money grabbers who took billions from the federal government for upgrades, and kept it instead of upgrading. Should it surprise you that they want to make another money grab now?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by qoncept (599709)
        I'm not happy with my previous comment, so I'll try again. It still applies, though. If you are in the 1% of people using 100x as many resources as the next guy (and work with me here, think in generalities) why should you be paying the same price? You are either making their service worse or making it cost more for them.

        See, Comcast doesn't work in a vacuum. They aren't arbitrarily setting costs and reaping in hordes of money. They price their offerings to be competetive. Even when they are the only pro
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blob Pet (86206)

          "They price their offerings to be competetive."

          You're kidding, right? Comcast has no competition where I live, and neither do many providers around the country. There's no incentive to be competitive. Why do you think ISPs have gone so far as to sue whenever a city or town even whispers the words "municipal wifi"?

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      If I can recall, every time I've seen a story about slashdot before today, there were 100 comments saying "They need to just have a firm cap." Now everyone is complaining about the firm cap.

      Every time I've commented in one of these stories I know my attitude has been that there's no need for caps, I have never had an ISP with any kind of bandwidth cap (except for my current 3G ISP that reserves the right to limit the speed of my connection if I somehow manage to transfer more than x GB in a month (I think it's 5 or 15 GB, I can't remember), this has yet to happen as I don't download large amounts of data with my cellphone).

      In fact, I think most /. users oppose bandwidth caps but when choosing

  • Overselling representations of value, in the hope that they can make maximum use of the underutilized parts of the resources available. That transforms any regular customer use of those resources a "threat" to their viability as a business. So, at some point, like with a ponzi/pyramid scheme, demand drives the overselling on that resource to reach a point where the whole system starts to unravel. As this starts to happen, those running the system will turn to threats, excuses, and sudden changes in polic

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:54PM (#26742521)

    For those that want it, there is a price you get unlimited bandwidth use. What's wrong with that? As long as you are aware of what you are getting for the price you pay (as opposed to claims of unlimited that are not) I have no beef with the structure they are setting up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by koutbo6 (1134545)
      might this qualify as price gauging? They have been offering the services for a long time now without caps. So they cant claim they can't maintain it. I wouldn't have a problem with it if they instead offered an alternative package wit caps, with a lowered price, to entice people to switch instead of just flipping the switch on current subscribers. If they took their cue from wireless carriers, then I think they will charge users on usage beyond the cap.
  • I find it funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Propaganda13 (312548) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:55PM (#26742529)

    I find it funny that ISPs are switching to tiered plans while cell phone companies are switching to all you can eat plans. While I'm not a fan of tiered plans, I do prefer that they have clearly defined limits and consequences and the ability to check current usage. Currently, Charter does not, but then again this is a leak.

    Just don't make it Comcastic.

    • I find it funny that ISPs are switching to tiered plans while cell phone companies are switching to all you can eat plans.

      Are the all-you-can-eat cell phone plans for voice or for data? Voice doesn't need more than 13 kbps using the 5:1 compression that GSM providers use, while consumer expectations of data throughput climb every year.

    • Re:I find it funny (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CambodiaSam (1153015) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:14PM (#26742863)
      Something tells me that if I tether my cell phone to my laptop and let it run continuously for a month, that a rep from my cell phone company will call to tell me that the "Unlimited Data Plan" is not really Unlimited when put to the test. I'm sure the same goes if I were to place a call and leave it up like some kind of intercom.

      I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a feeling that cell phone technology is somewhat self limiting in the "unlimited" space. People just aren't in too many situations where it will happen.

      Of course, that data scenario probably does happen on occasion with road warriors.
  • Price (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hendridm (302246)

    I'm fine with it as long as they reduce the capped service fee to something close to the price of dialup.

  • I have Charter (no choice, its the only broadband, including DSL, available to me). Does anyone know of a way I can monitor my usage, to make sure I don't go over the cap? You KNOW Charter isn't going to give me the tools to do that myself...

    Can Tomato or any other linksys alternatives do this?

    100GB, jesus that sucks.

  • One reason. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rindeee (530084) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:05PM (#26742665)
    Netflix (and every other source that provides competition to Charter or Comcast or whomever). If not for Netflix and Hulu, my usage would be minimal. I do not have cable or satellite TV (or OTA for that matter). I pay charter for Internet only service, and I pay a premium because I only want Internet. Now I am going to pay another premium to actually make full use of that Internet. Perhaps Charter will start capping ports as well. "Ports 1 - 80 are free. With our Super Ports Family Pack, you get 81 - 443 for an additional $50 per month."
    • by Xtravar (725372)

      They already block 80 and probably a few others.

      At least in my area.

    • by AndrewNeo (979708)
      Did they actually stop blocking port 80? I know they did after they converted from @Home, it's one of the things that's been keeping me from switching (other than poor service in my area, and now this, of course)
  • Botnet Zombies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:06PM (#26742685)
    I wonder what effect those millions of bot-infected Windows XP clients are going to have on this situation. The Charter customers who have these infected PCs already don't know what's going on with their computer let alone how much bandwidth they use. They are going to be very angry when the service gets disconnected for bandwidth they haven't personally consumed or when their $50 broadband bill jumps to $150.
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:10PM (#26742749) Journal

    This just in, Charter Cable customers are capping monthly cash payments made to Charter Cable.

  • by bossy (257050) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:15PM (#26742887)

    With all these ISPs capping b/w doesn't it make sense for them to have a usage meter for their users when the log-in to their account or something like that?
    Just like the cell phone providers do?

    If you want me to cap a a quantitative limit, you should let me know how do I find out where I stand ..

  • Robber barons (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zolodoco (1170019)
    Implementing caps makes me assume that their infrastructure doesn't support growth in service to new customers. Therefore the rates on all their capped plans should go down in direct proportion to the reduction in service, or they should change the bandwidth on all plans to account for the growth in service without added infrastructure. If they're not doing either of those measure, then they're simply trying to milk more revenue out of their customers with no increase to their actual costs.
  • Is there a reliable way to track your own bandwidth usage? Similar to tracking minute usage on cell phones? My concern is that I just got Netflix and have been going gang busters watching all sorts of stuff on Watch It Now. I'd want to know if my 3+hours of streaming a night will catch up with me.
  • Are you cut off for the rest of the month or is there an option to pay for more usage? I remember an earlier slashdot article talking about a tiered service being tested for AT&T but it had the provision to pay for additional capacity above and beyond the cap.

    I figure this is just the start, the other big players will follow suit soon.
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:23PM (#26743057)

    I was actually just thinking about this the other day. (as it happens to me now)

    If you think about it, its kind of messed up. For example, the caps are based on a fictional date, that of your billing. Which in these instances, is monthly. While this may make sense for, "billing" it may not make sense, and have ramifications beyond for caps.

    So for example I closely self monitor my cap. Which means at the beginning of the month I download like a whore. However nearing the end of the month, I might download a lot less, being aware that I am running out of cap. At the end of the month I might not download at all, because I have no cap space left at all.

    What does this mean? Huge bandwidth demand all front loaded on any given month. Multiply that by many many users, and well you get the idea. Also odds are if you are not using your cap you are likely not using it much the whole month, pretty much constant with perhaps a random spike.

    Now how about this as a business model. If ISP's wish to place caps, to me that says you are entitled to ALL of that bandwidth, as this is specifically what they are selling you. A given rate of speed for a given quantity. So what if you put in place a behind scenes an unobtrusive way to sell your unused bandwidth? Much like the stock market the price would go up and down with demand. Also you would make your cut of money by simply taking a small percentage off each sale, which when multiplied many many times over would equal Profit! I don't know how you would do it, or if it is technically feasible, or even legal, else I would do it right now and make my first million that way. Anyway an interesting idea eh?

    It would also be the demise of "caps" as we know it. People might have a "soft" cap imposed by their ISP, however if they run out would be able to "buy" cap space from someone else if they so desire. Thus power users get what they pay for, and internet gets cheaper for those moderate or light users!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:40PM (#26743363)

    They should put that in the ads. "You get 30 times less bandwidth than you could if we weren't just a pack of evil dicks! Buy now!"

  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:08PM (#26743839) Homepage Journal

    This kind of worries me. I time/format shift a ton of TV shows by just torrenting them, and lately, I've been streaming a ton of Netflix movies and TV shows to my Xbox 360. I have absolutely no idea how much bandwidth I'm actually using, so they'd better have some kind of tool that will show me how I'm doing.

    I already have to keep an eye on and balance the bandwidth for my web site, doing it at home too is going to be annoying.

  • by zig43 (1422373) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @05:15PM (#26743979)
    So does this mean everyone will have to lock down their wireless routers to keep their neighbors from jacking up their internet bill?

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