Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Typical Home Bandwidth Usage? 656

Broadband writes "With a growing number of internet service providers imposing hard bandwidth caps, I too will soon find myself with a limit. In typical Slashdot fashion I use the Internet for everything from movie streaming to online backup and just realized I have no idea how much data traverses my pipes on a monthly basis. While I have wised up and installed a bandwidth monitoring solution, it'll be some time until I have a normalized average. So my question is: What is the average monthly data usage in your household? How many people share the connection and is there anything you've found essential yet bandwidth intensive that you couldn't live without? (E.g. VOIP, movie downloads, streaming audio, etc.)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Typical Home Bandwidth Usage?

Comments Filter:
  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:17AM (#24827519) Homepage
    For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say "I'm going to sleep." And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between FranÃois I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by arotenbe ( 1203922 )

      You just hit the bandwidth cap. Be glad that your sentence happened to end there or else

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tawnos ( 1030370 )

        A more serious answer:
        5-10 gigs per heavy person, per day. I say this based on the following:
        Assuming I wanted to download h.264 encoded videos, and that I wanted to read /., read fark, and the news, plus watch random youtube videos, play games (that maybe I need to download via a content delivery system)... standard geek pursuits. On top of that, assume I have a normal work schedule (well, at least 8 hours a day). To pre-empt the "what about those that work from home" argument: they should pay for busines

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I'd be very surprised if your usage rate was that high. When I was in Australia and we actually had bandwidth caps (significantly lower than the 250GB limit Comcast is imposing) and the ability to monitor our usage was provided by the ISP, I didn't get anywhere near that. YouTube doesn't use up more than a few hundred MB per day, if that, and general browsing and work certainly doesn't use up 2-3GB per week.

          I guess, if you're constantly downloading high definition 720p or 1080p TV/Blu-ray rips, then maybe

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Doctor Memory ( 6336 )

          To pre-empt the "what about those that work from home" argument: they should pay for business class if they're doing business.

          Heh. And you should pay for "standard geek pursuits" if you're doing standard geek pursuits? I work from home occasionally, and my traffic is limited to polling the Exchange server every 30 seconds or so, sporadic IM traffic, and Subversion commits and updates. Oh, and looking up info on the web, but then I do that anyway. I'd estimate my total daily bandwidth usage at well under a gig when I'm working.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kaos07 ( 1113443 )
      Have you been saving that up in some kind of .txt file, waiting for your chance at first post?
    • A madeline for this gentleman!
  • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@geekbiker.nFORTRANet minus language> on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:17AM (#24827523) Homepage Journal

    I don't get my connectivity through a major provider. I get dsl through They are a AT&T reseller, but with huge advantages. They have not once ever mentioned bandwidth limits. I have static IPs, and I am allowed to run servers (mail, web, etc). Of course, I pay more than the average joe-user. About $70/month, but I feel it's worth it.

    I've never measured my usage, but your question has me curious. I'll install a meter and get back to you in a month. LOL

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:20AM (#24827545)

      Ahem, Speakeasy...

      Ok well full disclosure i work for Speakeasy but there are no bandwidth caps. Of course you pay more for service but you get lower latency, no bandwidth cap and i can personally attest that all the backbone lines that speakeasy runs on are undersold compared to other ISPs.

      Like anyhting in life you pay for what you get. If you pay $20 a month for internet expect to get $20 worth.

      • by orangepeel ( 114557 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:58AM (#24828891)
        I was a Speakeasy customer for about 3 years.

        Then they were bought by Best Buy []. I learned about it right here on Slashdot []. It took me a while but I dropped them by the end of that year. And yes, my decision to drop them was based 100% on who their new owner was.

        In my area, Speakeasy had always just been a reseller of Covad's services. So, I went with Covad instead and cut out the middle-man. It's been about a year now and I have no complaints. The only thing I had trouble with was technician incompetence during the installation. I had a similar experience during the installation of my original Speakeasy service (which, as I said, was always just re-sold Covad service, so it came as no surprise to me).

        Just like it was with Speakeasy though, once the installation stupidity had been bulldozed through, everything has been fine with Covad.

        I will do everything I can to avoid supporting the Best Buy corporation. Hence no more money of mine will go to Speakeasy. They are absolutely not the company they used to be.

        It doesn't surprise me at all that a Best Buy employee would post here with praise for their Speakeasy brand. That's what you are, anonymous coward ... a Best Buy employee. Are you wearing one of their shirts when you pick up the phone and answer, "Speakeasy"?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I am a former Speakeasy customer as well. It's true, they changed after being bought by bestbuy. The technical support was just as good I have to say, and the speeds were still good and reliable. The change came in billing. We consistently paid the bills about 10 or 15 days after they were due, which with a business account, is a fairly standard practice. A great deal of businesses hold their accounts almost 40 days past due as an accounting strategy. We had been reliably paying speakeasy in this way for a
          • by HeyLaughingBoy ( 182206 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:21PM (#24835423)

            So you're saying that not only were you paying speakeasy late, you were also considerably behind on your power bill as well (no utility is going to shut you off without warning and not just because you're 15 days late on a single payment). Can I assume you were also very late (read: months) on other bills as well?

            I've had what you mention happen to me before: you go to the bank and fill out an affidavit of unauthorized withdrawal. As you say, it is a federal crime and the bank will investigate and you'll most likely get your money back. Since you didn't mention anything like this I'll assume you didn't. Is it possible that you had an agreement with speakeasy that gave them permission to debit the account if you were significantly late with payment? Read the fine print on your contract: most corporations aren't that stupid. You probably agreed to it somewhere whether you realize it or not.

            As far as the calls from the credit department goes: you may not have asked for credit, but by allowing you to pay late, they were certainly extending it to you. When BB took them over, somebody in Finance probably noticed that a lot of customers were paying late and they were told to get their Receivables aging down to improve cashflow. You're a business, you should understand this.

            Sorry, no cookie!

        • by calidoscope ( 312571 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @01:26PM (#24832453)

          In my area, Speakeasy had always just been a reseller of Covad's services. So, I went with Covad instead and cut out the middle-man.

          Strictly speaking, Speakeasy resells Covad's DSL provisioning (i.e. running the DSLAM's). Speakeasy provides the actual internet connectivity, DNS and NTP services. I'm not sure who is responsible for the connection between the DSLAM and Speakeasy's nodes.

          I could also be said that Covad is in the business of reselling the ILEC's local loop from the CO to the customer.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:24AM (#24827571) Homepage

      Another issue is all the traffic generated by break-in attempts, spam and a lot of other junk traffic.

      Or if I happen to have a small web server for personal amusement and it happens to get slashdotted...

      Those are really going to blow the bandwidth cap.

      It works fine with a bandwidth cap for plain surfing, but the net is more than that. And if I have my phone completely over VoIP, then they will cut the emergency call possibility by having a cap.

      • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:37AM (#24828763)

        Oh for fucks sake. Comcast is putting a 250GB cap on it. I, in Canada have a Shaw business account with the X-Treem or whatever it is option that gives me a grand total of 130GB a month transfer. I run a web server at home, I also run a backup server that backs up no less than 3 remote sites to my place twice a week just for geographical distribution (house is about 35 miles from downtown). I also download a bunch of things including audiovisual entertainments, and other things, surf the web, have people try and break in to my webserver, and a hundred other things. And I never exceed my cap. Ever. Once, with 5 days to go, and Shaw's customer service site reporting that my monthly usage was only 30GB that month, I thought to myself just for fun, I should see how much I can download in 5 days, after all that's 100GB going to waste, right :). Didn't put more than a moderate dent in it.

        You, if you are doing what you describe above will NEVER "blow the bandwidth cap". Especially if it's twice what I can't use up.

        The only way this will inconvenience anyone is if they are not a "moderate or heavy surfer" and are in fact running torrent downloads 24/7/365 pulling a constant load of 100kBps or more.

        Think about this. Comcast's cap is 250GB, yes? There is 2,592,000 seconds in 30 days. 250,000 MB / 2,592,000 = .096451. That means to exceed your cap, you must have a constant network load of .096 megabytes PER SECOND all month. I SERIOUSLY doubt that's the case if you are using it as described.

        • "audiovisual entertainments", nice neologism for pron!

        • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @11:02AM (#24830679)

          The only way this will inconvenience anyone is if they are not a "moderate or heavy surfer" and are in fact running torrent downloads 24/7/365 pulling a constant load of 100kBps or more.

          Think about this. Comcast's cap is 250GB, yes? There is 2,592,000 seconds in 30 days. 250,000 MB / 2,592,000 = .096451. That means to exceed your cap, you must have a constant network load of .096 megabytes PER SECOND all month. I SERIOUSLY doubt that's the case if you are using it as described.

          Actually between DirecTV's VOD service (which uses the Internet to stream video to the DVR) and just a little bit of torrenting I could conceivably hit 250GB. The same for people who use NetFlix streaming.

    • by VirtBlue ( 1233488 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:33AM (#24827635)
      Same here i have true unlimited, Be internet in the UK. i never watch my bandwidth usage i just checked it now and it was 536.2GB combined for last month.
      • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <> on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:36AM (#24828085) Homepage Journal
        I'm probably close to a TB some months. I can easily fill a 250GB drive in three to four days. My ISP doesn't cap and has never complained to me (I don't speak their language, anyway). I don't know the max speed on my line because it keeps going up, but I'm going to guess 8-10Mb/s right now. My friend has got 100Mb/s for the same price I pay, but I'm too lazy to change providers and the one I've got now is good enough.

        I doubt I'd find a use for that speed, anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MoFoQ ( 584566 )

      same here. I have elite from sonic.

      If I was in Santa Rosa, Sonic's home-turf, I could get fiber for 130 a month (with even faster speeds, up and down).

      plus, the tech support with Sonic is actually fairly pleasant. If I ask them what my signal-to-noise ratio is on my dsl line, they don't scratch their heads and fling poo....they actually know what is going on.

      • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@geekbiker.nFORTRANet minus language> on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:21AM (#24828335) Homepage Journal

        I wish they would expand their fiber offering down my way (Dublin). I'd kill for that.

        Sonic tech support is the best I've ever seen. When I first signed up and was on the phone for basic info (like ip address, dns, etc) they asked "what operating system are you running?" I gritted my teeth and answered honestly, "Linux." Instead of the usual "we don't support that," the response was, "Cool! What distro?" When they lost one of their major switches, I called to ask them if the problem was on my end or their end (at this point I didn't know it was a dead switch), the owner of the company took my call! They didn't act stupid or pretend nothing was wrong. They told me they had a hardware failure and expected everything back to normal in 30 minutes to an hour. The had things back up nearer to the low end of the estimate. I'm sure you know all this since you are a customer. I'm telling this for everyone else's benefit so they will consider signing up with sonic.

        Finally, they never pretend everything is perfect and they never have a problem. Information about problems and outages are always published on their website. I don't expect perfection. I love a company that is honest. I will stick with sonic for a long time.

    • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <> on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:58AM (#24828203) Journal

      There doesn't seem to be any restrictions around here. It's never been verboten to run servers, or download/upload as much as you can.
      That's because my ISP [] has heavily invested in its infrastructure, and the results are ... positive [] (pdf).
      If US ISPs spent half as much on lawyers and lobbyists, maybe they could afford bigger series of pipes.

    • by YourExperiment ( 1081089 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:21AM (#24828333)

      I get dsl through They are a AT&T reseller, but with huge advantages.

      Like tech support from a hedgehog with blue spiky hair?

  • Camfrog and Skype Video at full FPS is quite bandwidth-intensive, Camfrog 100x more than Skype since I can load 100 webcams as a registered Pro user.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      And in bad fashion, I must note that I'm NEVER loading up 100 webcams. Usually I only have 10 or so loaded, as that saturates my connection.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:18AM (#24827533)

    When my ISP added caps, they started by giving statements of the last three months of each person's usage, and did that for a few months before adding the cap. It made life quite nice.

    Turns out, I rarely go over 20GB in a month. I was basically two persons: one 14 year old girl watching youtube, facebook, and uploading hundreds of photographs; while I run a programming business downloading software and uploading text files.

    Don't know if that helps.

  • 150GB (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kaos07 ( 1113443 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:20AM (#24827541)

    I already have a cap (Yes I'm Australian, don't start the whole "OMG WE'RE SICK OF AUSTRALIANS IN SLASHDOT" BS. We're the best friends you'll have now since we've been on caps for years and can tell you how best to stay within them). It's a relatively large one compared to others, domestically at 150GB. I use it all up mainly on torrents for things like movies, games and the odd program and Linux iso.

    It's not hard to monitor usage especially if most of it comes through downloads and not through browsing. Browsing can be a killer. Especially these days when a lot of sites have embedded video ads. Those, plus 5-10MB animated .gif's that you don't expect can really eat into your bandwidth. Best solution is Firefox with Adblocker and NoScript. Will save you a lot of headache when you check your usage and wonder "Where did all these GB's come from!".

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      another aussie here. I have to live with 10gig onpeak and 10 gig off peak, for a pc, laptop, and online gaming with a wii and xbox360 (inc dlc and game&sytem updates) 4 of the past 6 months I've gone over our cap and we get downgraded to a 64kbps connection until our monthly quota resets. I hardly ever download music or movies, however I do like to watch about 30min average of youtube/other streaming vids/day average.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by definate ( 876684 )

      I get 160gb on Adam Internet, 80gb external (outside of PIPE traffic and similar) and 80gb internal traffic (inside PIPE).

      Also I do heaps of uploading and downloading from CommunityNet, which is awesome.

      If you live in SA, I'd recommend it.

    • Paying to view ads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AwaxSlashdot ( 600672 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:25AM (#24827999) Homepage Journal

      Those, plus 5-10MB animated .gif's that you don't expect can really eat into your bandwidth. Best solution is Firefox with Adblocker and NoScript.

      When your usage is caped, you start to realize that you are _PAYING_ to view those annoying banners.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      In Belgium a standard is around 20GB-30GB per month and that only because they have seriously increased it. I can get web hosting where I get more data transfer for much less and those need to rent the traffic from elsewhere.

      The ONLY thing I am paying for is bandwidth and email. I pay separately for the phone line that carries the ADSL, so it isn't the last mile that makes them so expensive. It is because they can.

      Luckily I am with a smaller provider who has no limits for just a bit more then those who DO h

  • No limit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by simonvik ( 1307303 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:22AM (#24827561)
    I donÂt have any limit but i upload/download around 2 TB /month, I have a no limit 100/100 Mbit connection that is shared by 2 peoples. I have static IP and I am allowed to run servers. I pay 99 swedish kronor for the connection, that is like 15,10 USD
    • by ccguy ( 1116865 ) *

      I donÃt have any limit but i upload/download around 2 TB /month, I have a no limit 100/100 Mbit connection that is shared by 2 peoples. I have static IP and I am allowed to run servers. I pay 99 swedish kronor for the connection, that is like 15,10 USD

      -1 bragger

      • Re:No limit (Score:5, Funny)

        by rzei ( 622725 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:57AM (#24827795)

        I guess there should be a "-5 Swedish" option when talking about home network connections.

        In their eastern neighbour Finland I pay about ... 0-10€ per month 1Mbps (HomePNA) line. (I'm yet to receive a bill for that connection after 9 months, no idea if they have just forgot me or if it's included in the rent.)

        Sweden is not the riches country in the world but somehow they have been able to pull great stunt making Internet truly "free" for everyone.. As in you don't have to have incomes that allow you to pay 1000€ per month for a such connection.

        Where I live a 10/10 Mbps (fiber) connection with no restraints costs about 1000€/month plus 1500€ installation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Use about 20-25 gigs a month on just surfing/gaming thats before any mentionable sized downloads like big patches for online goes, or torrents

    This especially sucks as my tightwad ISP gives us a 30 gig cap on a 10mb line unless i'd care to shell out 100 bucks more a month (my current bill is only 50) to get a 60 gig cap.

  • 1.5GB up, 24GB down (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:26AM (#24827585) Homepage Journal
    1 user, no warez/pr0n/P2P

    bandwidth-intensive and essential stuff: none except occasional heavy youtube usage (example []), but I'm impatient, so I have a fast connection. Also planning on using Freenet at some point in the future (on principle, because I dislike the current trends in wiretapping legislation).

  • by RuBLed ( 995686 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:32AM (#24827625)
    I always put a conscious effort to monitor my usage but
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:33AM (#24827633)

    Bandwidth is not usage, it is a rate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Firehed ( 942385 )

      Right. But it's long-since been accepted as synonymous with 'quantity of data transferred', even if it's technically incorrect.

  • My usage (Score:4, Funny)

    by Spacejock ( 727523 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:39AM (#24827677) Homepage
    It's like wages: required usage = (disposable amount) + 1
  • Between 20-30 GB/month for $50.

  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:41AM (#24827687) Journal

    If your ISP has accounts with caps, then the chances are they'll have a page where people can go check the usage on their accounts. Log in to your ISP's 'Customer Portal' if they have one, and you can probably find out.

    I've got an uncapped account and my provider has this - they've got historical data going back to May 2006.

  • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:42AM (#24827697)

    The "cap" for my New Zealand flat is 10GB ($55), of which I use about 4GB/month, most of which is Debian updates. If we go over that, it's $3/GB (note: prices in NZD). However, I do spend most of my day at the local university, and don't need to pay [an additional amount on top of my standard fees] for Internet access there.

  • Bandwidth or total data transfer ?
    They are not the same.
    Somebody with 24 Mbps ADSL has more bandwidth than somebody with 8 Mbps ADSL, but they both might have a transfer cap of 40 GB per month. Oh, that's right, language changes, get used to it. Fuck science, definite terms are so 20th century.
  • 50GB Down & 5GB Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raintree ( 1136645 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:43AM (#24827703)
    50GB Down & 5GB Up (average)
    100GB Down & 4GB Up (this month)

    Skype has replaced my phone
    Joost & legal sites have replaced my Cable TV
    Streaming music all day long
    Games - online shooters
    Web Browsing/RSS feeds
  • My ISP charges by the amount of traffic for my measly 2 Mbps ADSL. 50GB traffic is free for $100/- per month.
    But no port limitations, nothing. Just the raw stuff. I have run my home servers (for test runs), used my Mac as FTP server (when i was downloading stuff into my laptop before i discovered rapidshare).
    My ISP does allow me to boost up the speeds to 8Mbps for short periods (2 hours max free of cost). I just that when iam downloading latest Torchwood episodes.

  • >> With a growing number of internet service providers imposing hard bandwidth caps,

    Uhh, isn't it just comcast (at least in the USA)? why do you say "growing number"?
    Actually I've been waiting for a slashdot article that says how comcast is gonna stop bandwidth caps in order to stem the tide of customers leaving, but I guess either most people don't know or care, or maybe just don't have any alternative broadband providers.
    Perhaps what needs to happen is for a comcast customer to initiate a class acti

  • by skreeech ( 221390 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:45AM (#24827723)

    Here in BC we've always had caps. I think they've doubled more recently from 30 to 60gb.

    With lots of web usage and many large files I haven't had a problem. If you are on cable and are uploading at max speed 24/7 you'll pass your limit, but otherwise most homes should be fine with the smallest of caps.

    People complaining about comcast's 250gb limit must be doing it out of principle because that is an extreme amount to use for non business.

    I would actually say that mine(adsl with telus) doesn't offer enough bandwidth to realistically reach the cap. One big download seems to clog the pipes these days.

  • Surprisingly little (Score:5, Informative)

    by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:50AM (#24827747)

    The average household really won't use much bandwidth. I was surprised by this, when my parents got broadband a couple of years ago - even with 4 persons at home (not including me), they used only some 250 MB (download) per month. In fact, they often used more upload than download, because of sending photo's to an online photo printing service.

    They do use e-mail and the web really quite a lot (hours a day), also my younger brothers play (online) games all the time, both browser-based and otherwise.

    This was a couple of years ago when youtube didn't exist yet; I'd assume the bandwidth usage would be a bit higher now. But unless you start downloading movies (they rent DVD's instead) and lots of music, you don't use a whole lot apparently.

    I used to share an apartment with 2 other students; we averaged about 1 GB/day, including lots of messing about with Linux distro's and the like, but obviously not just that.

    So I don't know, I'd rather have the 250 GB/month cap than some undefined FUP. It's hardly like 250 GB is a completely unreasonable limit. You will never unconsciously download that much, except perhaps if you're trying to keep up with alt.binaries.* on a daily basis or something.

    (The problem is of course that once there is a strictly defined limit, given the usual lack of competition they will keep lowering it unless you are willing to pay more)

  • The data rate of voip is quite low. It should not be the largest percentage of your usage. You're talking about less than 30MB per hour usage. Usually the killers are big downloads and video streaming. Internet radio running 24/7 at 128kbps will amount to about 10G so turning it off when not using it could provide some solace.
  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:54AM (#24827765)

    Hi all. My first post on Slashdot even though I've been reading it since the late 90s. Finally got around to signing up. I'm Australian and as most Slashdotters know, Australian ISPs all impose caps.

    Personally, I'm on a 25 GB per month cap (after which my speed is slowed, but I am not charged more). My monthly usage generally ends up at around 18-22 GB, without me needing to monitor my usage or worry about it. My connection supports 2 people who are both heavy browsers. Plenty of youtube, streaming radio etc. Perhaps a TV show from a torrent every second day. Skype on the weekends to call my family overseas.

    Basically, unless you are a MAJOR torrent leecher, you will find that you won't have any problems whatsoever staying under 250 GB (Comcast). I have one tenth of that cap, download movies/TV shows every other day, surf heavily, run a home FTP server, but I have no issues staying under 25 GB. Keep in mind that my uploads are not capped (not sure if Comcast's 250 GB includes uploads or not).

    A poster above mentioned the issue of people launching attacks on your connection that flood you with unrequested packets. Yes this would be counted against your usage. But I've never heard of it being an issue...certainly hasn't happened to me in my 8+ years of using capped broadband. In the very unlikely circumstance that it did happen, call the ISP and they will be able to see the attack in their logs, and here, they would be reasonable and not charge you for it.

    Now onto the subject of why I think caps, provided they are clearly stated, are generally a good thing!

    Contrary to some people's knee-jerk reaction however, the reason Australia has caps is not because it's a technology backwater. Far from it actually - DSL speeds here are generally faster than in most parts of the US (although I admit, FiOS rocks, where it's available).

    Australian bandwidth caps basically exist because:

    a) most English speaking content comes from the US (i.e. most traffic is international, vs mostly domestic in the US); and

    b) we are an island a long way from anywhere. Those undersea cables don't pay for themselves. Peering and transit costs here a an order of magnitude higher than in the US. ISPs thus have to impose monthly download caps to stop a few high volume users sending them bankrupt.

    But on the plus side, because we pay for what we use, there are a number of advantages. My ISP, like most in Australia:

    - Is far less contended than most US ISPs. Download speeds are always meet my connected speed. I have an 8/1 Mbps connection, and I get that speed, all the time (~850 kb/s downstream and slightly over 100 kb/s up). Whereas some US ISPs, when I've used them, seem sluggish in peak hours.

    - Never fiddles with my traffic. No bittorrent deprioritising, no deep packet inspection, no random throttling or any of that nonsense. In the US though, well you know all about the shenanigans some of your ISPs have been up to.

    - Allows me to run anything whatsoever on my connection. Whereas most US DSL providers I have read the AUP for have 20 clauses about how you cant run servers etc.

    The other thing to note is that because we get charged for what we use, ISPs can allow us faster speeds here, without worrying that we will completely trash their network by leeching 24/7. In the US, your DSL connections mostly seem to be 3 or 6 Mbps, with maybe 768kbps up. In Australia, DSL is generally from 8, up to 24 Mbps down (ADSL2+), and if you have Annex M support on your modem/ISP, you can get up to 2.5 Mbps upload. Personally, I'd rather faster speeds with a cap, than slow speeds but unlimited downloads and annoying packet tampering.

    The final thing to note is that virtually all ISPs here have massive download mirrors which aren't counted against your quota. For instance, my ISP has full Sourceforge, MajorGeeks etc. mirrors that contain most large things I would ever want to download anyway.

    So yeah - don't fear your (very generous!) download caps over there. It's good news for you. Get the 0.1% of people off the network that abuse the hell out of it, and speeds will be faster for the rest of you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      "Those undersea cables don't pay for themselves."

      They only get laid once. Then they get used repeatedly. I'm sure they pay for themselves & then some.

      • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:28AM (#24828023) Homepage

        They only get laid once. Then they get used repeatedly. I'm sure they pay for themselves & then some.

        That phrase is the perfect description of Slashdot as a whole.

      • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:31AM (#24828053)

        It takes a good 10-15 years to recover the cost actually. But the ISPs aren't shafting us, I don't think. A decent sized download allowance is very affordable (which wasn't the case 5 years ago, but things are a lot better now).

        Also we literally can't build international links quick enough to keep up with the rapid increase in traffic over the last few years (youtube etc.). In the long term, they will pay for themselves but it DOES take a long time.

        Remember, you are building a 10,000 km long cable to service an Australian population less than a single large US city.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mjwx ( 966435 )
          This is mainly for the GP.

          It takes a good 10-15 years to recover the cost actually.

          Biggest problem with the internet in AU, peering between any two points in Australia cost pennies in the dollar, connecting to anywhere else in the world costs a lot. Infrastructure between cites is not an issue (between remote towns is still an issue but not as bad as 6 years ago), even the bandwidth available on the last mile is still greater than that of the international links.

          But the ISPs aren't shafting us, I don't thi

    • please refer to various anti-australian rants on this subject.

      stop congratulating us for a complete and utter failure of our markets to develop competition, and the rise of such abusive behavior.

      i'm sorry if you live in ISP hell, but you should not be welcoming us.

    • I like that idea. Connection "slowed" after the cap is hit. It's better than charging or cutting someone off completely.

  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:54AM (#24827773)

    Most half-decent routers and firewalls keep rudimentary port statistics. According to my router I'm using about 30GB per month on my ADSL2+ line, and my family does little or no movie/music downloads. But I do run remote desktop sessions and remote backup (rsync) on the link and I get ISO's occasionally.

  • Average of 7 Gig (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dinther ( 738910 )

    The whole family uses the internet connection spread over 4 computers. We watch Youtube video's and for work I use the net a lot. Yet an average month uses up about 7 GB.

    I just cannot imagine how a 250GB cap is a limitation in anyway unless you are a major torrent host.

  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:56AM (#24827791)

    Every area covered by cable is also covered by DSL and satellite.

    Don't tolerate bandwidth caps.. when your ISP imposes them, jump ship!

    Even if the other ISP has caps it impacts the bottom line on your original.

    Enough people do this and they won't dare try that crap.

    Also, FYI, my bandwidth usage annually is rather spiky .. i'll use minimal browsing 2 months, then fill up a 300 gig drive the next.

    I wont tolerate comcast pulling this cap crap, and neither should you.

  • by penfold69 ( 471774 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:57AM (#24827801) Journal

    I get a fully unshaped 8Mbit connection with 15GB transfer per month for £20.

    Anything downloaded between midnight and 8am is not counted towards the cap

    One of the tech gurus at my ISP wrote a fine blog article [] about how UK ISPs are charged for their transfer. It's a completely different market economic to the US, which is why we've had transfer limits for some time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ledow ( 319597 )

      Well, I caught on to PlusNet's tech-heavy staff very early on (back when they were just dial-up). They have the most tech-savvy staff I've spoken to at an ISP and all their policies are backed up with real data, technical explanations and no holding back on "we can't make a profit if we do X" explanations.

      Because I got on their broadband early, for £20 a month (with some £0.50p more refunded because I referred a few people to them), I get to keep my old "Premier" account which let you do nearly

  • by atarione ( 601740 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:58AM (#24827807)

    lots of VoIP ..fair amount of gaming .. fair amount of downloading distros / patches / updates..etc lots of Streaming audio.. ummm some streaming video

    2x people (who frequently work from home via VPN connection back to respective offices.)

    I have been shocked a how little our usage actually is

    still I'm not thrilled about a cap ... but OTOH wasn't TW talking about testing a lot low cap than this?

  • by Raindeer ( 104129 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:05AM (#24827861) Homepage Journal
    900 gigabyte per month upload [] should be enough for everybody. But in reality. Some weeks I go over 5-10Gigabyte per week (Netherlands) just doing VPN kind of stuff. Other weeks I don't even hit 100megabyte. I would want to be able to send my parents the footage from my harddisk camcorder without any encoding etc, but the upload still sucks.
  • Bloody hell! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by definate ( 876684 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:12AM (#24827913)

    I am so sick of these whiney posts.... wah wah wah, I might be capped soon.

    I've been capped since around 2002.

    I live in Australia, I'm capped to 80gb, I download around that each month (which is a lot), and I have 4.5mbit down and 1mbit up.

    I also pay $109 for this privilege (although that's on top of $15 per month line fees).

    Don't worry about your usage, 250gb is heaps, you will normalize once you're capped, I guarantee it!

    Also if you find that your cap is too small, upgrade, change your ISP, or come up with strategies to maximize your cap.

    For instance my ISP ( has separate caps for traffic inside of Australian than it does for outside of Australia. Additionally it also has CommunityNet on its exchanges which basically turns that exchange into a private LAN. Another method is to find people near you and setup your own LAN or sharing network.

    There are many ways to maximize your potential.

    This is not the end of the world.

    You've still got it way better than us and a lot of the rest of the world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ccguy ( 1116865 ) *

      I am so sick of these whiney posts.... wah wah wah, I might be capped soon.

      How is being pissed off about getting worse service (for the same money) than you used to whining?

      Listen, you live in a (large, ok) island, many many km away from everything else and your country population is less than Texas's - so it's reasonable to expect higher costs in internet access, shipping, etc.

      Maybe it is _you_ that needs to get over that fact, instead of calling whiners to people who has their service capped for no

  • Emegency VoIP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yownas ( 998166 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:13AM (#24827919)
    One thought... What if you have VoIP and need to go an emegency call after you've been blocked? Doesn't phone companies have some responsibility to keep up the service so that you can make such calls?
  • My ISP, Videotron, used to have a high-speed (10Mbps) no-limit package for about 75$. With that bandwidth it was possible to download around 80GB per day (especially with an external usenet service like or Giganews), but even as a rabid downloader I was cruising around 300GB/month max, not including Tv or VoIP.

    Last year with no warning the ISP put a 100GB (total) limit for this same package. Apparently some people were abusing... I called to cancel my account, but they offered me a great de

  • 15GB 512K ADSL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Niksko ( 1355055 )
    We have four people sharing our network, although only two of us really use the net for much more than surfing. Even with 15GB this is the first month since we got this plan where it looks like we wont be going over the limit (our month ends on the 18th). Would move to ADSL2+ which I can get with my ISP for the exact same price as I pay now and with 20GB of data, but because the company that provides the ADSL have really shitty prices compared to the company who my ISP gets its ADSL2+ off in order to switch
  • by Alarash ( 746254 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:29AM (#24828029)
    I can't believe the ISPs in the US still give you bandwidth limits. This is what I have in France, for 35/month : - ADSL 1 (10 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream. Had my DSLAM been ADSL2+ compatible, I'd have 28 Mbps downstream for the same price) - VoIP with calls free of charge to 30 major countries (including US, Canada, North Africa and the European Union) - About 15 Multicast (IPTV) channels - Built in Unicast (VoD) service (3/24 hours for newer movies) - No bandwidth limitation - No traffic shaping I have about 50 Gb of monthly traffic (two persons in the household). Of course I am "allowed" to host webservers and such if I want to. I use one of the most expensive ISP (Orange), other ISPs are at 29.99/month. One of them even has a MIMO set top box. If I was one of the lucky guys with Fiber To The Home, I'd have a 50 Mbps *symetric* bandwidth, for about 50/month, and the same services. If I had cable, I'd get 100 Mbps downstream, 20 Mbps upstream, for 30/month (same services, as well).
  • Modem stats. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @05:45AM (#24828463) Homepage
    My ISP officially offers unlimited bandwith on this 20/1Mb connection.
    ATM data rate     Kbit/s     down 16910     up 1011
    Below the stats of my Fritz!box modem, please note I'm often away for weeks.
    Last month included some Linux iso's and usenet binaries.
    Use might get as high as 500MB.

    Online Time         Data Volume     Connections
    Period         [hh:mm]       total       sent/received     Number
    Today           11:20       5054 MB      107 MB/4947 MB     1
    Yesterday       24:00       8748 MB      178 MB/8570 MB     1
    Current week    11:20       5054 MB      107 MB/4947 MB     1
    Current month   11:20       5054 MB      107 MB/4947 MB     1
    Last month     742:08     118319 MB     2832 MB/115487 MB     36
  • by The Evil Twin ( 217345 ) on Monday September 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#24830123) Homepage

    I have two choices with my ISP:
    Low Latency 100GB Cap
    High Latency Unlimited
    I chose the low latency with cap. And I come close.

    Most of the major ISPs are imposing a 60GB cap.

    The point is that this is damn short sighted. The ISPs are doing this because they know whats coming. High Def streaming. If you don't get near 250GB now, you may soon enough.

  • I got an xbox360 for my birthday earlier this year. When I heard the new dashboard update would allow netflix streaming, I had to get a netflix account.

    I watch a lot of Internet TV. I play a lot of games. I download a lot of porn. I surf a lot of web.

    My ISP, comcast has said, I can only download 8GB a day. If I'm watching a marathon of TV from netflix instant, I will blow through that in about 12 hours.

    Tack on the fact that I download demos from xbox live that are usually 1-1.5GB apiece. I play PC games regularly. I am also a steam user who buys a new game at least once a month. I download Linux isos also, though not regularly. I can see how I easily use up that much bandwidth a day.

    Comcast is gonna get sued. There's gonna be a class-action. Since they are the only provider in my area that provides the speeds they do for residential services, there is no alternative. Comcast oversold their network capacity. I'm doing nothing wrong. I'm using the Internet access that I signed up for and paid for. Comcast knows they need to expand network capacity but are unwilling to do so. They take a hit in cost and can't charge any more for more network capacity. They'd just oversell it again. Considering that comcast charges a universal service fund fee since they provide Internet access and local telephone service, the USF should provide them with ample monies to enlarge their member's capacity.

    When netflix institutes HD streaming, I won't be able to take advantage of it because comcast wont provide me the bandwidth or througput to do so. My ISP will effectively prevent me from enjoying the services I pay for throughout the web.

    Comcast thinks that I'm a heavy Internet user. They gambled on grandmas signing up for cable modems and then using them 2 or 3 times a week. They lost and now they're welching.

    That being said, they're even charging illegal modem rental fees to me and countless others. Check your original documents from your comcast installation. There's a document titled, "Terms and Conditions for Sale of Cable Modem". I have that document, meaning they sold me a cable modem, not rented me one. Now they're charging fees illegally. They're really gonna get sued. I'm not the fat guy at the buffet. I'm the skinny guy who eats a normal amount. They are the ones trying to save their money by limiting the amount of trips to the buffet you can make. They say I'm eating too much. Well, now even in India, they're eating as much as me. In Japan, they're eating three times as much as me and they pay half of what I do.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker