Is a 5GB Bandwidth Cap Enough?

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Abnormal Studios

It was only a matter of time before Big Telecom and Cable got in on the capping game.  I have already seen this with wireless broadband.  I work tech support for a very large wireless provider who was the first to market with the 5GB broadband cap.  They go on and on about how much money they loose with unlimited access and how no one could ever go over 5GB per month because they did the research and the average was less than 5GB (im so sure).  All of a sudden they have a 5GB plan with overage charges of $0.25/MB.  If you are doing the math that's $256.00/GB in overage charges.  And like magic everyone and their grandmother suddenly have hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in overage charges all while under contract and there is nothing they can do about it except pay your bill by the date or go to collections.  Now the company turns around and offers a way to "save" these poor customers by offering a 10GB plan... For $199.99!  $199.99!? really? for 10GB...  this is not only an insult but robbery.  And the best part...  there is no way at all to track what is causing users to go over the limits.  So after months of outraged customers and countless disconnects a solution:  through money at the customer...  credit the overages until they are so far into contract that they can not get out without a penalty.   

 Basicly the Gov't was kind enough to legalize a monopoly for the big telecom and cable companies and allow them to split up the country and be the only game in town.  Its basicly 1 cable provider, 1 landline telecom for any given area of the country.  No choices and they know it. 

We are all high-speed broadband junkies and the telecom companies are the pushers and they know that we will line up for what they have regardless of the cost.  They did it in the dial-up days and they are going to do it again.  Just when technology starts moving forward the boardroom sets us all back 10years.

 

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Abnormal Studios

It was only a matter of time before Big Telecom and Cable got in on the capping game.  I have already seen this with wireless broadband.  I work tech support for a very large wireless provider who was the first to market with the 5GB broadband cap.  They go on and on about how much money they loose with unlimited access and how no one could ever go over 5GB per month because they did the research and the average was less than 5GB (im so sure).  All of a sudden they have a 5GB plan with overage charges of $0.25/MB.  If you are doing the math that's $256.00/GB in overage charges.  And like magic everyone and their grandmother suddenly have hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in overage charges all while under contract and there is nothing they can do about it except pay your bill by the date or go to collections.  Now the company turns around and offers a way to "save" these poor customers by offering a 10GB plan... For $199.99!  $199.99!? really? for 10GB...  this is not only an insult but robbery.  And the best part...  there is no way at all to track what is causing users to go over the limits.  So after months of outraged customers and countless disconnects a solution:  through money at the customer...  credit the overages until they are so far into contract that they can not get out without a penalty.   

 Basicly the Gov't was kind enough to legalize a monopoly for the big telecom and cable companies and allow them to split up the country and be the only game in town.  Its basicly 1 cable provider, 1 landline telecom for any given area of the country.  No choices and they know it. 

We are all high-speed broadband junkies and the telecom companies are the pushers and they know that we will line up for what they have regardless of the cost.  They did it in the dial-up days and they are going to do it again.  Just when technology starts moving forward the boardroom sets us all back 10years.

 

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mikeart03a

Let's face it, corporate giants have noticed that most people can't survive without a basic form of broadband internet these days and are more or less gonna squeeze people as much as they can until they complain/revolt. I'm getting sick of these forced 'upgrades' to my service as well. I was with bell's Unlimited Sympatico service for many years and when it came time to replace my modem due to it burning out (I rent my modem), I found my service plan changed all of a sudden to their new 'Total Internet Performance' one and hit with a 60gb cap. I'm lucky I don't usually burn more than 30-40gb in a month, but there have been oddball times I've spiked to 65-70gb because I tend to use a lot of voice communications software as well as remoting into other systems for work and personal tech support... Not to mention I'm a streaming radio, anime and manga junkie and those add up a bit. Also, my younger brother pushes quite a bit of bandwidth as well for his gaming (and mine as well) and streaming movies.

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada

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dc10ten

this kindof reminds me what AOL was trying to do in the dial up days. I think the big push for this comes from the ISP companies simply wanting to charge for the "premium" service w/ no cap, which is absolute $H!T

 

There is only one way this could even possibly be acceptable. The cap comes to people along with lower pricing.

 

even then, there will be inflation... of traffic. How will ISPs take care of that?

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Devo85x

All this is going to do is upset people... its stupid... the internet should be free anyways (or at least cheaper than what it is now) so why cap people that are paying customers... if my ISP does this im going to call them up and give them a personal F*** You...

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scott_c

So does anyone happen to know how quickly this can add up if in one month you had to transfer the following:

Vista Service Pack for PC 1

Windows XP service pack for PC 2

Apple Software update, updates for itunes and quicktime for 3 PC's in the house

Realplayer patch for 3 PC's in the house

Video pop up ads at cnn.com and other popular sites (what's the size of a page worth of ads?).. when viewed twice a day from 3 PC's.

Then there's that worm traffic trying to get through your router's firewall

Look at your logs for your router or a DMZ host... some of that is the cable company looking to see if you have SMTP listeners... that's more traffic.

Your kids did something and now get 100's of spam each day...all because they enrolled to get that free ipod.

So you don't do much but sit and be a target, having auto updates take place, then one day you decide to check a movie trailer and wam... overage charges. Sounds worse than a cell phone.

So do I get to send bills to Microsoft, Real.com, Apple, etc for sending me so much data to fix something that we would hope didn't need fixing?

 

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Wildebeast

The ISPs would clearly like to charge exponentially, for high use. 

The only reason I can think of, for not using a linear mathematical model, is that it might mean that the odd month of zero use costs a user $0. 

No up-tight business model could possibly allow that...  Corporate common-sense is a sin on Wall Street.

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Lestaticon

Just like we have in the past, we'll just have to create our own internet. :) Basically the technology is ours not the governments' nor the corporations'. If we're squeezed too far, I'm sure there will be yet another internet network created by, yet again, the real geek population out here. The current net will go the way of cable tv and we'll look back later and laugh.

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DRAGONWEEZEL

That's just it. when you combine the usage that's where it gets crazy.  1Mil txt based e-mails in a month no one uses that right?  Most e-mail these days though is Rich or HTML still not big, till you add an image or two, or god forbid send an attachment.  Of those How many of those have adds attached.  (not us MPC users, but the general publick) Work e-mails can be large, I routinely get them w/ multi Mb attachements.   Hope your not logging in to that e-mail via remote access!  Then what about 1 legit movie or a couple of training videos?  an episode of free lost from nbc.com, a 100 mp3's, a winxp / vista  service pack, drivers for an HP printer (why are they so big?), drivers for all your hardware (you update every week right?) a game + online game time,  clicking refresh on MPC 20 times a day and slashdot on infinite refresh every 30 seconds and finally top that off w/ remoting in to your mom's machine to fix whatever crapware she downloaded today.

My point is that this seems like typical usage for the young public right now (Replace /. w/ myspace).  Combine that w/ more than one person in a house hold doing this at the same time.   

It doesn't take a genius to see how that cap is a little on the low side.  I don't want the ISPs to know this but I think 15G is a pretty fair cap (for today, not tomorrow!), but they will have to start raising caps yearly as usage goes up or they'll just be funeling money until we go back to the BBS and local network route.  I'm sure I won't be the first to string a touch of fiber under I-5 to connect me to my friends house...

 

THERE ARE ONLY 11 TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. Those that think binary jokes are funny, those that don't, and those that don't know binary

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johnny3144

i don't think we shouldn't be limited to how much we can upload and download.... when we are paying 50 dollar every month! are we back to the age of paying for each phone call and each byte of data? shouldn't the service get better instead of worse? what is this? back to the future?

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CrimsonKnight13

Have ISPs thought about how large DVD images are? I'll never go for downloads caps since I'm paying for what I use.

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Orumus

 My Verizon wireless cap for traveling is 5GB and even on the go I use close to that every month just with surfing content rich sites and the MMOs I play. Luckly atm my local broadband company hasnt instituted any caps on land lines, but when and if the do I know I'll be searching for an alternative....

Computer Tech by day, computer geek by night.

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sirphunkee

The ones who need to be lobbying the strongest against this are the companies/markets that pushing us to download more...games, movies, software, even rich web content.  While reasonable high caps are understandable to filter out what is truly excessive use, a 5GB/month limit is going to cripple the future of digital media delivery. 

Even standard-def movies on a streaming service can be upwards of 1GB each, to say nothing about HD content once that nut is sufficiently cracked.  And what about people who use an online service to do regular backups of their OS or other critical data...they could easily bust through that 5GB limit in a single transfer.

But honestly, this doesn't smell like an effort to cap usage as much as an effort to lay the groundwork for industry-wide usage based pricing tiers.  Mark my words.

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guoruiwu1994

5GB is huge considering Rogers limits the basic internet to 2GB per month.

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PCIV

But they give you 25gb for lite, 60gb for express, and 100gb for extreme. i'm finding myself using near the limit for lite every time...

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Haipyng

5GB is about 1 million text-only emails, 1,000 three minute music files, or 41,500 web pages. Its also about 3 DVD quality movies or 1 or 2 modern video games via download service.

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Talcum X

 I have TWC, in NE Wis.  I have their "all the best" package with Cable, Net, and Phone.  So far, no real fuss.  only bugger is when one goes out, they may all go out.  And if the power goes out, there goes your phone (True for any VOIP or broadband phone service)  But it was all in the name of saving money.  But I may be saved as I have the "middle" package and being an existing customer.  But if they start capping, I may start looking elseware for service.

 One good news is, the Appt. complex now offers complimentary basic cable, soon to add broadband net access thru TWC.  Once done, that saves me $70 a month (I'm sure my rent will go up to compensate, still waiting for that shoe to drop)

***********

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

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kookykrazee

I have been an extensive broadband user since like 1997, with DSL, cable, ISDN and more as time has gone on, my bandwidth usage has gone up.  I tend to use on average about 5GB U/L and 1GB D/L per day. When I have to chagne provides, which happens, when you move around certain areas in Seattle with competition different in different markets.

 As a result I have become very astute at asking what the caps are.  I know that most Wireless phone providers cap at about 1-5GB per month.  And as I learned with Clearwire they do the same thing.  But, since I covered myself and got information, in writing/email, when I passed their bandwidth caps, they cancelled my service but did not charge me the cancellation fee that most people end up with.

 The biggest issue I have is that I am a high bandwidth user, I am willing to pay for that service, but there should not be a moving target that is not allowed to be told to anyone.  My aproviders say abuse of the network and that there is not a specific number.  But, having worked for multiple ISPs I know that there is a hard number for Comcast, Broadstripe, Clearwire, Verizon, T-Mobile and many other provides, also.

 

It's funny that Comcast and Qwest and even Verizon advertise how much faster you can download with their service, but what is the point of broadband if it cannot be used for what it was intended (video, music, streaming both and more).

To make matters worse, I am partaking in all legal downloads.  I do trade music, but all based on what bands allow.  The communities I am part of we respect what bands are okay with trading and they are not.  For example, Metallica does not like electronic trading, but U2 and many other bands think it's great.

Any ideas for decent providers in the Seattle area?

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