Is a 5GB Bandwidth Cap Enough?

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It seems that in the rapidly approaching future I may have to pay extra to my ISP to download my collection of Steam based games when I upgrade my PC or wipe a hard drive. Forget about streaming movies over the net. In fact, best keep your quality internet time to surfing text pages, email without pictures, and IMing. Okay, not quite that bad, but close, if some ISPs have their say about it.

The Associated Press covered a story in which a man in New York changed from his cable company to his phone company based on the offer of a year of free service on a two-year contract, an attractive deal. Soon afterr Frontier Communications quietly updated its policies saying it would limit internet activity each month to 5GB. That’s the same figure that several other companies are trying out.

This story is particularly interesting because it’s a phone company trying the cap, not a cable company. Since in this man’s particular area the cable company is Time Warner, which is trying a pilot program in Beaumont Texas with a 5GB cap on its cable service for new users, it might not help to switch even if he can get out of his phone company contract. That is a scenario that we could see repeated in many areas if this catches on.

These scenarios are tough sells to customer that aren’t interested in having additional fees tacked on to their bills, especially after the fact. If consumers are left without a choice because all of their area ISPs are capping their downloads, it’s customers that lose out and it becomes pretty easy for ISPs to charge more money for less service. 5GB of data isn’t much at all.

Do you think this will backfire on ISPs? Sound off below.

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