say i pay for 10Mbps download speed. does it work by adding up 10 Mb every second i'm using the internet until it gets to 250 GB and then I have reached my cap? if this is how it works, how do they tell when i'm using the internet?
Bandwith cap is determined by how much content you download or use in a month.
Movies can be anywhere from 699mb - 4GB.
Really depends on the size of files you're downloading.
If you're downloading HD files obviously you'll use up more cap.
It's really not hard to go over 60GB these days with streaming content,music & movie downloads,gaming,and regular daily browsing.
If you have a 250GB cap i find it hard to believe you would go over it.
First time with a cap?
I've always had caps = you have to be a little more selective of what you're downloading.
Which really isn't hard these days as most movies suck.
Other then large multimedia downloads,online gaming eats up the most bandwith.
I consider myself a heavy user and i rarely use over 70GB.My cap is 90GB btw.
Any provider i've been with also has a site that allows you to login and check your usage anytime you want.
First important thing to note, 10 Mbps(note the lower case b) is only 1.25 MB/s(note the capital B), its the difference between bits and bytes.
They dont assume that you are using your full bandwidth whenever you are on the computer, because you rarely are, right now the only bandwidth i am using is a small chunk for facebook and gmail to call back to their servers, and about 192 kbps for pandora to give me music, and if an ISP were keeping track of my usage thats what they would add up, they wouldnt assume that i am using the entire ~300 Mbps bandwidth every second, they only track how much you use because thats the only thing that loads down their network.
At that speed it will be pretty hard for you to hit your cap unless you have a torrent box going most of the time as it would take you 55.5 hours of running at max bandwidth to hit that limit, since you normally top out at about 70% of your max speed that brings you up to about 80 hours of downloading high def movies as fast as you can. People often over estimate how big a web page is but they are usually no bigger than a couple of KB, maybe a few MB if its a photo site, its actually really hard to hit bandwidth caps for the average user.