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Comcast to Cap Broadband Use Starting in October

Comcast to Cap Broadband Use Starting in October

by , 9:15 AM EDT, August 29th, 2008

Cable and broadband Internet provider Comcast is prepping to start limiting the amount of data its subscribers can send and receive beginning on October 1. The company will cap its Internet subscribers at 250GB per month -- uploads and downloads combined -- in what it is presenting as a move to improve overall performance for all of its broadband users.

According to Comcast's data limiting FAQ Web page, "If a customer exceeds more than 250GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use."

While the prospect of monthly Internet data caps may seem limiting to some users, Comcast claims that more than 99 percent of its customers use far less than the 250GB cap. According to the company's data, "the median data usage by Comcast High-Speed Internet customers is approximately 2 to 3GB each month. This reflects typical residential use of the service for purposes such as sending and receiving e-mail, surfing the Internet, and watching streaming video."

Subscribers that are tagged as excessive users by going over the monthly 250GB limit more than twice in a six month period could see their service suspended for a year.

The Internet service provider sees the 250GB cap as more than adequate for almost all of its users. As an example, Comcast said that users would have to send 50 million emails, download 62,500 4MB songs, download 125 2GB standard definition movies, or upload 25,000 10MB digital images to hit their monthly limit.

Comcast has previously come under fire for throttling user bandwidth and disrupting P2P connections without warning. At one point, the company denied the action, but later agreed to stop the practice and joined with other companies to begin working on a list of rights for P2P users.

Even though it appears that the majority of Comcast's broadband users won't ever hit the 250GB ceiling, the forced limit won't likely sit well with many users, especially those that rely on their Comcast Internet connection for exchanging large business-related files. With clearly defined limits and rules, however, it will be easier for users to stay within Comcast's limits and avoid surprise phone calls from the company.

[Thanks to Ars Technica for the heads up.]

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