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Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years 475

Posted by timothy
from the hang-onto-your-bits dept.
finalcutmonstar (1862890) writes "With net neutrality dying a slow painful death, it is no surprise that in an investor call yesterday Comcast executive VP(and Darth Vader impersonator) David Cohen predicts bandwidth caps within the next 5 years. The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB. But, Cohen stated that 'I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.'" Update: 05/15 13:58 GMT by T : Correction: Cohen is actually talking about data transferred, rather than stored (as headline originally had it), as reader MAXOMENOS points out.
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Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

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  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:49AM (#47007945)

    Nice network you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it...

    • Re:Coded language? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jythie (914043) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:13AM (#47008145)
      More like 'You only want our ISP service and not cable TV? Well, not only are we going to charge the company that you do get your videos from, but we are going to charge you extra for delivering them. Oh hey, notice how much cheaper OUR video service is, are you sure you don't want it instead?'
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kualla (2872067)
        If my entire state has hundreds of ISP's, but the block I live on is restricted to just one ISP; that to me is still a monopoly! If any ISP has a significant portion of their business market limited to only their own networks(and no, dial-up DOES NOT count as an alternative ISP), that too would be a monopoly that needs badly to be broken up and/or regulated. It seems like a vast majority of people do not understand how much tax money these giant ISP's have gotten for upgrading their networks with little
    • Re:Coded language? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:37AM (#47008335)

      Typical rent seeking corporations more money in return for less. before you say free market go someplace else. Make the market free so there is someplace else to go

      • Re:Coded language? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by w3woody (44457) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:02AM (#47008545) Homepage

        A free market presumes competition, and it presumes regulation against perverse incentives. Neither are the case here, where cable companies are granted de-facto monopolies over geographic regions, and where the majority of traffic being carried on the internet is increasingly in direct competition with the cable company's video offerings.

        It's why, while I do have sympathy for a properly functioning free market (with competition and no perverse incentives), I have no sympathy for cable companies trying to argue that it's their hardware, they should be able to do what they want. Yes, it's their hardware--but they've been granted regional monopolies. That strongly implies that they have no leg to stand on when they argue 'free markets' to bypass regulations being imposed on their networks.

        • Re:Coded language? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:48AM (#47008929)

          A free market presumes competition, and it presumes regulation against perverse incentives. Neither are the case here... That strongly implies that they have no leg to stand on when they argue 'free markets' to bypass regulations being imposed on their networks.

          I think you're restating what parent wrote (only in more detail):

          Make the market free so there is someplace else to go

          I believe we're all in agreement that cable companies clamoring for "free market" are hypocrites, as there has never really been a free market for communication service providers, and it's amusing (yet sad, since it's often effective) to see the rent seekers that cry "free market" and "deregulation" only when it benefits them. Govt-subsidized and sanctioned monopolies and duopolies aren't capitalism, and neither is the collusion that results when the barrier to entry is so large due to these monopolies.

          If they really want a "free market" and "deregulation", then they shouldn't be opposed to more open (unlicensed) spectrum, rather than allowing the FCC to auction frequency blocks off to the highest bidder. They also shouldn't ask for public handouts to "build rural infrastructure" and then completely renege on their contractual obligations through legal loopholes and shell games.

          • Re:Coded language? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @01:25PM (#47010989) Journal

            My solution is, and will continue to be, last mile is owned by Municipality. Bring it into a centralize COLO facility, and provide access (by auction) to the top 5 bidders., each given exactly the same space. This way, a residential unit (household) can go to the five, request prices / services and pick the one they like the best. The COLO configures the switch and the residential unit is serviced with exactly what they want, at a price they can shop against.

            The problem isn't last mile, that problem has been solved. The problem is servicing the last mile in a way that allows for competition. COLO is the only way to provide open and free marketplace to the customers AND providers.

            But this requires a shift from leased right of ways to Municipal Managed last mile.

        • Re:Coded language? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by orgelspieler (865795) <.w0lfie. .at. .mac.com.> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:09PM (#47010201) Journal
          Joshua Steimle just wrote a mind-boggling anti-neutrality article at Forbes [forbes.com]. It's a perfect example of the hypocrisy you're talking about. He whines about government intervention = BAD, but then completely ignores the fact that bigass monopolies acting against the public interest is also bad. It is not "free market" when companies are given government subsidies (AKA tax breaks), rights of way, and spectrum licenses. You didn't hear radio stations talking about "free market" back during the pirate radio days, now did you?

          Honestly, I wouldn't have any problem with non-neutral networks if there was competition. Those of us who cared would flock to net neutral competitors, or competitors whose QOS favored our packets of choice. Let's face it, this is an area that just cries out for a natural monopoly. And just about every economist agrees that natural monopolies must be heavily regulated to function in the public's best interest.

  • Editorial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:51AM (#47007959) Homepage

    Headline: "Comcast predicts storage cap"

    Story in a nutshell: Comcast exec predicts bandwidth cap.

    WTF?

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:59AM (#47008033)
      It's a cap on how much you can store in your tubes during a given month.
    • Re:Editorial (Score:5, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:15AM (#47008175)
      Bandwidth, in networking, is a measure of the amount of data transfered per time unit. The Comcast exec is predicting a transfer cap, i.e. a maximum quantity of data.

      You're right, though; Neither are "storage". Whoever titled the post is a moron.
      • Re:Editorial (Score:5, Informative)

        by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:19AM (#47008213)

        Bandwidth, in networking, is a measure of the amount of data transfered per time unit. The Comcast exec is predicting a transfer cap, i.e. a maximum quantity of data.

        No, the Comcast exec is predicting a bandwidth cap.

        Or do you seriously believe that his 300 GB cap is a LIFETIME cap? Much more likely it's a monthly cap.

        And 300GB/month is a measure of a quantity of data (300GB) per time unit (month).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by davester666 (731373)

          I don't know why it is worded this way. He's "predicting" that Comcast is going to implement caps for all their subscribers in a few years.

          Most other people would phrase it as "a plan".

          Predictions are for when you have no/little control over the outcome. I could predict Comcast will have usage caps [as I live in another country and have no real influence over the outcome]. But an executive at Comcast is planning to implement usage caps, because he works there and is actively trying to make it happen.

    • Re:Editorial (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:18AM (#47008203)

      1. Void all local agreements giving exclusive access to a community to one internet provider.
      2. Mandate that they are able to accommodate ALL the bandwidth they sell at any time.
      3. Separate the businesses into a content side and a Access Provider side. Content side pays the same as all other content providers. Access Provider charges the same to all Content Providers.
      4. NO limits on what you can do with your bandwidth.

      • This is way too reasonable.. you must be new here :)

        But I completely agree with you. I suspect 2 through 4 will eventually happen (in the next 10 years of so, not immediate), 1, not so much.

      • Re:Editorial (Score:5, Interesting)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:43AM (#47008389)

        2. Mandate that they are able to accommodate ALL the bandwidth they sell at any time.

        We already have this. Go look up leasing a T3 connection for your home; Guaranteed 44Mb line. Expect to pay several thousand dollars per month.

        Your home broadband connection is oversold, and that's fine. That's why it's cheap, and it is very cheap. The problem is that they didn't tell you that that was how it was, and instead sold you on "up to $Mb download speed". Now that there are services that will actually saturate your 20Mb line 24/7 (bittorrent, netflix, whatever) the connections are congested. It's like putting all of the cars on the motorway at once; Nobody will get anywhere.

        If the model was shifted to paying for the data you use regardless of your line speed, at least it would be fair; You get what you pay for, no more, no less. I watch netflix, I download ISOs and games on Steam, and I rarely hit north of 150GB in a month. This scheme seems fine to me. Then again, I'm looking at this through the rose-tinted glasses of a consumer, not a greedy corporate sociopath. I'm sure they'll have us bent over again soon enough.

        • If the model was shifted to paying for the data you use regardless of your line speed, at least it would be fair; You get what you pay for, no more, no less.

          Charging by amount of data transmitted doesn't necessarily make it "fair". Sometimes it isn't the amount of data that matters but the speed at which you get it. I don't use a huge amount of data but when I dial into a VPN, latency and other speed issues matter. Data that doesn't arrive in a timely manner can be useless. Furthermore the cost of transmitting a unit of data is not a linear cost. The price for Comcast to transmit 10MB of data is not double what it costs to transmit 5MB of data to the same

          • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @10:11AM (#47009173)
            It's not arbitrary; Everyone north of Tier 1 providers pay per gigabyte of data they transfer over Tier 1 backbones. T1 don't pay each other because they agree to transfer each other's data without charging ("Peering agreements"). Paying per gigabyte is how the internet actually works; The speed is limited only by the hardware.
            • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @12:18PM (#47010263)

              Disclosure: I'm a certified cost accountant.

              Everyone north of Tier 1 providers pay per gigabyte of data they transfer over Tier 1 backbones.

              The cost per gigabyte of data is a relatively small percent of the cost incurred by companies like Comcast. Comcast's gross margins are somewhere around 70% and the cost per gigabyte would properly be accounted for under Cost of Goods Sold (also called Cost of Revenue - second line on the income statement under Revenue). Comcast's net margins are around 10% which means that the cost of moving data cannot account for more than around 30% of their expenses even if every penny of COGS was used to pay for data - which it definitely is not. In reality the real number as a percent of their total expense is probably somewhere around 10-15% at most. It's not trivial but it is a small percentage of what they actually pay out each period.

              Paying per gigabyte is how the internet actually works;

              I assure you that the cost per gigabyte is only a relatively minor portion of the costs involved and realistically it's not the biggest one. Don't confuse revenue models with cost models. Most of the actual cost of the internet (far in excess of 50%) is in hardware, maintenance, electricity, sales and overhead. All of these are fixed costs, unaffected by your data usage. Don't take my word for it, look on their financial statements yourself.

        • by log0n (18224)

          Charging by usage is an invented pricing scheme pure and simple. It costs no more or less for Comcast to have data running over a line (not even the cost of electricity.. once it's on it's on). I can leave my TV on 24/7/365 (100% usage) and pay the exact same amount if I had left it off for an entire year. Hell, I could add 5 more TVs (each with their own box) and leave those on year round and it would still do nothing to my bill [outside of the boxes].

          Also, the T3 comparison is nowhere near valid. Bandwidt

      • by Catbeller (118204)

        As I used to proclaim on Slashdot: don't let the people who own the pipes also sell you the water.

    • The internet, that you when you click on the blue "e", that's your cloud. You can only store so much on your cloud. Every time you browse, you store more and more in the your cloud. If you store to much water in the cloud, the tubes of the internet will leak.

      That's why we need to cap the amount of water you store in there. Especially Netflix. They steal water from your cloud, and pump too much storage in. So we had to build a dam, to store water and generate Net Neutrality. That's how the Market moves.

      • If you store to much water in the cloud, the tubes of the internet will leak.

        The result of storing too much water in the cloud is called "rain."

        • The result of storing too much water in the cloud is called "rain."

          Yes! And that's why we're all drowning in a deluge of data. This data distribution downpour must be diverted!

          Damn it, Netflix! Why can't you just let Comcast own everything? Then we'll have only have 300 GB of data deluge to deal with each month. Dry as a data desert - baked brown in the wires before coming to a TV near you!

  • by noblebeast (3440077) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:51AM (#47007963)
    I suspect this has less to do with prediction, and more to do with prescription. As in, they want to set up the expectations that will guide the perceptions of the public and of policymakers in regards to what is a "reasonable" amount of bandwidth to be consuming, in order to justify their ridiculous overage charges.
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:51AM (#47007965)

    The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB.

    And I bet that the cap would proceed to move down to 250 GB and so on. USA is the only country where internet access quality is actually moving in reverse.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Don't worry USA, Canada is right there along with you. 250 GB would be welcome. The two major ISPs offer bandwidth caps between 25 GB and 125 GB on "reasonably priced" packages (under $70). Rogers recently introduced the option to upgrade your bandwidth cap, but you still can't get unlimited for less than $85. To go from 70 GB on a 30 Mbit connection to 270 GB on the same speed will cost you an extra $15 a month. Personally, I'm glad they opened up the lines to independent ISPs, or I think it would be e
      • by Catbeller (118204)

        Canada has freemarketitis, courtesy of a parliamentary system that invests a man with 15% of the popular vote to maintain an iron grip on the federal government for the foreseeable future. The damage that bastard and his neocon friends are doing. Damn.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    that is how long it takes with LTE on max speed to reach the cap.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:57AM (#47008013) Homepage Journal

    Those who regulate their telephone sector strongly, and those who don't. The US is in the latter category, and the majority are going to suffer for it. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not in the US. I feel for you guys.

  • by Simulant (528590) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:57AM (#47008019) Journal

    How long until we hear that?
    • by jythie (914043) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:16AM (#47008183)
      When I canceled my Comcast subscription due to the cap, the person handling the call explicitly told me there was no legitimate reason for that kind of usage so I must be a pirate. When I tried to politely explain that my Netflix usage exceeded that, I was again told there was not legitimate reason for the kind of usage.
      • You have not talked to a person, you talked to a robot. Okay, okay, a meat robot. Here whe have this too.
    • by static0verdrive (776495) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:17AM (#47008185) Homepage Journal
      So true... and they'll ignore the obvious stuff like Netflix, Steam, and the other modern e-business models that have greatly increased our average monthly bandwidth. I'm in Canada and I got tired of paying Rogers (AT&T) $68 a month for a 120GB cap, only to habitually over-step that line (I'm a habitual line-stepper, as Charlie Murphy would say) and get charged up to $100 more - thankfully laws prevent them from charging any more than $100 extra per month, but that's still $168 in a month just for internet. I've recently switched to Acanac where I'm paying less than $50 for the same speeds with no cap. Hopefully US customers will be able to find smaller/independant ISPs that offer something similar... switching away from the big guys when they make stupid moves like this is the only way to ge the message across - vote with your dollar! Don't be shy to sign online petitions and send out emails to politians on the upcoming bill they have to vote on, too.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:00AM (#47008041)

    Caps will definitely come. Not because they are "needed to help manage network congestion" or some other reason that the ISPs will trot out. They'll come for four simple reasons.

    1) Video over the Internet threatens their own video services. Caps help make Internet video more expensive (via overage fees) and will help drive people away from Internet video.

    2) Even if people use Internet video, the ISPs will get more money and they can never resist the smell of money.

    3) The ISPs have monopolies (or near monopolies) in their service areas so they can do whatever they want and the public needs to take it.

    4) They are big and powerful enough that they will make sure they have enough politicians "donated to" to prevent any government action against them.

    Of course, they will keep on trotting out the "small group of users is slowing everyone's speeds down and caps will make them pay their fair share" line to justify the caps. The real cause of any slowdown will be because they take their profits and don't reinvest them into upgrading their networks. After all, why upgrade? It's not like there are any competitors to beat in the market or any government officials with backbone to pressure them into speeding up connections.

    • by rikkards (98006)

      Interesting thought though would be that if you have a content provider who is also your ISP, could that be considered monopolistic similar to what Microsoft went through with IE being included with the OS?

      • by jythie (914043)
        Yes, but media companies and telcos have lobbying power well beyond what Microsoft could muster, and the current political climate is hostile to taking on monopolies because 'the market knows best'. There is also a school of thought (I am curious what blogger or author started it, but it seems to have really taken off) that monopolies only exist because of government and thus if you want to prevent monopolies all you have to do is remove regulations.

        So yes, these ISPs are acting with monopolistic behavior
        • by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:00AM (#47008533)

          There is the issue of certain services being 'natural monopolies'. How many power companies do you want running power lines to your home in order to offer you power service? Network companies running fiber, cable, or coax to offer you the Internet? Water? Sewer?

          See, when something requires the customer to receive not just the service but also build infrastructure through other people's property to deliver it to them, most people realize that allowing many companies to build that infrastructure is a disruptive pain. Since we don't have the core infrastructure built so that such cables can be laid without disrupting someone else's property, the trade-off has been a limited number of contenders in an area. You can argue whether that's right or not, or if there are better ways, but that is what the compromise was in order to allow for the service and yet not be a disruption.

          Personally, I see local infrastructure like power lines, fiber, coax, cable, etc as just like roads. Who maintains your roads? Anyone that provides a service using those roads can do so without disruption, and the entity that owns them maintains them and permits access. They generally have no vested interest in extorting excess money out of the users of those roads, but do charge them for use. Other aspects of our infrastructure could be similarly maintained and we would solve the 'local monopoly' issue while minimizing disruption.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)

      lol, as entertaining as these conspiracy theories are, I can't help but blow my karma correcting uniformed nonsense.

      The vast majority of ISPs in this country do not offer any (or very little) TV service at all.

      The majority of the money you pay for your cable television goes to the the content providers and re-transmit fees. Local stations re-transmit fees are huge. The ISPs make the most money off services. Like voip, cloud storage, antivirus, DVRs, equipment rentals, etc...

      Despite this, every ISP that I've

      • by Eristone (146133) * <slashdot@casaichiban.com> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:20AM (#47008673) Homepage

        The vast majority of ISPs in this country do not have the vast majority of customers. The vast majority of end users (you know - ma and pa Facebook user) are on Comcast, Verizon, AT&T or Time Warner (soon to be Comcast). Comcast and Time Warner are content providers as well as bandwidth providers. Verizon and AT&T are the old phone company monopolies (AT&T and GTE). With that oligarchy of companies, policies and pricing set will drive the market. As far as the majority of money going to fees - the last year each of the companies mentioned didn't exactly have losses or even just make a couple bucks. Record profits - not quite.. but definitely in the range so the race to the bottom is still putting the gold plate on the swimming pools. As far as streaming - how many of those Facebook posts have videos attached to them? 25 cute cat doing something adorable videos a day will start to knock on those bandwidth caps fairly quickly. And lately those videos don't require you to click on them to start - they run quietly in the background and you don't notice them until you turn up the sound.

        Don't mix up business users with consumers - different animals with different use patterns. And for a history - look at cell phone - and land line usage. (wondering if you're old enough to remember when calling cross-country was a once a month thing to talk to grandma instead of doing so on a whim)

      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:47AM (#47008909)

        The vast majority of ISPs in this country do not offer any (or very little) TV service at all.

        And the vast majority of "ISPs" in this country are not relevant to the vast majority of Americans, as they service tiny and highly localized markets. Most markets are served by some form of the telephone/cable company duopoly, both of which offer TV, DVRs and soon streaming services.

        The majority of the money you pay for your cable television goes to the the content providers and re-transmit fees. Local stations re-transmit fees are huge. The ISPs make the most money off services. Like voip, cloud storage, antivirus, DVRs, equipment rentals, etc...

        If it would be a money-losing proposition, ISPs would get out of the business of offering TV. Somehow, neither Comcast nor ATT are doing that.

        Despite this, every ISP that I've worked with over the past 5 years or so has bandwidth cap projects going now. It's coming to everyone, everywhere. regardless of if your ISP provides TV or not.

        Of course. It's an awesome way of making sure that you maximize your revenue while minimizing your investment. Bandwidth caps are awesome for ISPs. They suck for customers. The reason they are coming everywhere should tell you something about the competitiveness of the market.

        They're locked in a race to the bottom with prices. Customers always go with the cheapest provider, so they can't afford infrastructure improvements without cutting themselves out of the market.

        You mean, there's actual competition in the market? I haven't seen actual competition in one of the heaviest populated areas in the US since.... well, ever. The only options were Comcast (sometimes), ATT (always), and maybe an ATT DSL reseller, whose main line during issues was "Sorry, we know this, but ATT won't fix their lines."

        Most customers are like your parents.

        If that would be true, Netflix wouldn't see the growth it does. Plus, there's a huge opportunity for remote doctor's visits that isn't taking off because most plans offer a measly 1Mb up.

        The sizzlers trying to narrow the front door so we can't get in.

        You missed the part where there's only two food places in town, both are colluding in making smaller doors, and both are offering slightly larger doors at rapidly increasing prices.

      • by j-turkey (187775)

        You make a good point. However, this isn't universal. First of all, as the proverbial fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I've already chosen pay a higher price for significantly more bandwidth than my neighbors. I have an expectation that I have full access to that. I am also lucky enough to have a choice in ISP's where I live. I cancelled my capped service for a more expensive (and even faster) uncapped service. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, but I'm willing to pay more for a bigger plate - I just

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:04AM (#47008079)

    The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB. But, Cohen stated that 'I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.'"

    Comcast sent me an email late last year saying they would change my data usage agreement to the above.

  • You've got lots of people just getting Internet to download/watch TV rather than buying it via the cable company. They have to recoup that revenue somehow. It's either going to be data caps or they'll flip the model they currently have and charge $75 for Internet access and $25 for a full cable lineup. Then another $50 in regulatory 'fees' and other BS and you're back to where you started.

    • by jythie (914043)
      Thing is, Comcast is so insanely profitable they have no need to 'recoup their revenue'. They do not have some magic entitlement to such profits, esp when they get them in part by promising service levels they can not actually provide.
      • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:39AM (#47008365)

        Thing is, Comcast is so insanely profitable they have no need to 'recoup their revenue'. They do not have some magic entitlement to such profits, esp when they get them in part by promising service levels they can not actually provide.

        You know what's better than insane profits? More insane profits. And unlike data, there's no profit cap.

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:10AM (#47008121)

    With the rise of Google Fiber and increasing usage via legitimate services such as Netflix online (not to mention what happens when 4K kicks in, arguably within 5 years?), HULU, and HD video conferencing, this prediction looks to be terribly off-base.

    No, no. This is just some idiot CEO for an awful company completely misunderstanding the nature of his own business and making and horribly inaccurate and hamfisted prediction.

    Then again, he probably makes 500 times what I make, so I guess he must be doing something right!

    • by jythie (914043)
      Google Fiber is unlikely to cover all that much actual territory, and it is not going to cut into Comcast's space enough to really change their situation. As for the rest of those, those uses are exactly why the prediction is probably not off, those are things that Comcast wants to stop and this would be a way to hurt those other companies.
    • He knows his business very well. This is how they can get around net neutrality and maintaing package deals. It's already happening with mobile providers here in Austria. They set up agreements with external services or provide their own (usually video on demand). Those are then exempt from the data cap.

      Right now there are still some alternatives, but since the two cheapest providers merged prices have gone up and data caps have become the norm.

      Those cable packages are just going to become data packages.

  • This is just an attempt to create artificial scarcity to drive up value.

    Either give us an all you can eat model or give us a per MB model. Don't try to mix and match the two. I want 100% un-metered or 100% metered internet not some BS that rides the middle.

  • another prediction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:13AM (#47008143) Homepage
    I predict in 5 years ill have a laundry list of null routes for various advertising providers and comcast hardware. I'll torrent every show and every song because to listen to them again on pandora will put me over my 'cap.' I'll have constructed a cantenna out of an array of garbage cans strapped to the roof of my house and have an army of ASIC hardware working round the clock to crack every WPA and WEP AP i see.

    Oh, and I'll switch to dryline DSL and robocall every politician in my state asking for municipal high speed fiber. I and everyone youve ever infuriated with deep packet traffic shaping 'its comcastic' advertising blitzkreig will petition our government to bury you as we boycott your shit-tier service.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <<gterich> <at> <aol.com>> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:15AM (#47008169) Journal

    They just refuse to tell anyone what it is, or give you any warning that you have violated it before they disconnect you.

    The thing that is most amusing about these people is that, out of one side of their mouths they whine about how they don't have the capacity to give everyone truly unlimited Internet like they advertise, but out of the other side they have as much as anyone is willing to pay for, with no limit.

    It really is time to label Internet service as a public utility and place it under proper regulation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:18AM (#47008209)

    I already have a 300GB cap with Comcast. I am in one of their 'test' markets. His numbers stated are the correct numbers. $10 for every additional 50GB..

    I often upload and download a lot for work purposes and I have 5 people on many internet connected devices at home so we almost always go over.

    The problem is we do not have any viable alternative in my area :(

    • by Joshuah (82679)

      Go with a business account. Costs a bit more but you don't have to worry about usage until they put a CAP on business accounts too.

  • by jratcliffe (208809) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:19AM (#47008219)

    Usage caps (not storage caps) have absolutely ZERO to do with net neutrality. First off, they're explicitly allowed under the rules that the FCC tried to put in place, that were recently shot down by the courts. Secondly, even if the FCC were to reclassify broadband under Title II (i.e. as a telecom service), as a lot of tech companies want them to, they'd STILL be allowed. Voice phone service, which has long been regulated on the same terms that many want the FCC to use for broadband, certainly allows for usage caps, always has.

    • The difference is that phone services are much more severely constrained by the physics associated with radio bandwidth.

      There is no doubt that many readers here would be harmed by a 300 GB bandwidth limit. There have been times when I've moved multiple terabytes per month between my home office and workplace. Cloud services such as CrashPlan can potentially push traffic above such limits as well.

      The time has come to regulate these services, or remove all restraints preventing competition. The current state

  • enough for 4 episodes of Game of Thrones per month.
  • by thevirtualcat (1071504) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @08:42AM (#47008383)

    In two months, I'm moving to a new home that has both Comcast and FiOS available. At that point, my cable modem will go live in a cardboard box until I move again.

    While I don't believe for a second that Verizon won't jump on the data cap bandwagon once everyone else is doing it, they haven't spent the last few years pushing data caps onto their customers.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:40PM (#47013033) Journal

    From the call:

    David Cohen - Comcast Corporation - EVP:
    "we are not sure we know what paid prioritization or what a fast lane is...I think a fast lane sounds bad. But since we don't know what it is, or what the definitions of it are, it's a little bit hard to be able to react to it...I believe that whatever it is, a fast lane, paid prioritization, whatever you want to call it, has been completely legal for 15 or 20 years....Our offer is to comply with the 2010 FCC Open Internet Order, which did not prohibit paid prioritization."

    "there is nothing in Title II that provides authority for saying that all services have to be treated the same. In fact the whole history of Title II has been that telecom carriers regulated under Title II are absolutely allowed to provide different levels of service for different amounts of money. Think about Bell's providing different level of service to businesses versus residences."

    "There is the last mile market where we as an ISP deliver content to our customers and charge customers for that content and they access the Internet by going through Comcast as an ISP. And there is what I'd call a first mile market, which is the way in which the Internet at large, the Internet Edge providers, content providers, get their content onto our network to be able to be consumed by our consumers."

    "The open Internet debate is about that first market. It's about the last mile market and it's about treating, making sure that consumers have an open and unfettered access to all of the content on the Internet, that there is no blocking, there is no discrimination in the way in which they get access to that content. The old extreme example, when a consumer types into her browser www.barnesandnoble.com, she should not be directed to Amazon because we have a deal with Amazon that says we will direct any book-related search to your site. That was the original extreme example of how we as ISPs could disrupt the Internet and could violate a principle of net neutrality.
    And in this day and age it would relate to a consumer being able to get advertised speeds and excess whatever content the consumer wanted through those advertised speeds. The interconnection market is a completely different market and it functions in a different way. It is a market that it would argue is intensely competitive."

    "I think the ISP market is competitive but the interconnection market is intensely competitive. There are dozens of very large players in that space who are selling transit services. The competition is so intense in that market that the pricing in the interconnection market has dropped 99% in the last 15 years."

    "And so among the dozens of large players here, Comcast alone has 40 companies with which we have settlement-free peering. That is we don't pay them anything, they don't pay us anything because our traffic is roughly in balance. And there was a time when Netflix was using Akamai, Level 3 then Cogent and their traffic was in balance with our traffic."

    "So there was no way in that model for us to collect anything without completely disrupting the business model and structure of the interconnection market, which I think would be a mistake to do. So I think that the right way to do this is to use usage-based billing and do it on the last mile and to do it in a fair and non-discriminatory fashion. And I think that is the way you can deliver the equity proposition that heavier users pay more and lighter users pay less."

    "Reed's argument that he should have free transit, and it is a Cogent argument as well, that there should be free transit is just a cost shifting argument. That's an argument there is cost for transit providers, content delivery, networks, other transit providers to connect to our network. There is a cost to that.
    And if Netflix doesn't bear its share of those costs to connect to the network then we have no choice but to raise prices for everyone else. Even though Netflix is responsible for one-third of the traffic on the Internet at peak times, tha

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