Opposing Comcast's Internet Bandwidth Cap (Opinion)

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Nephi80

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Nephi80

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You my friend are a fool. Have fun with 1 TB as the world moves past you. I did not claim I am a cheapskate and want free stuff. I pay for great service. However, I was paying for unlimited internet from Comcast that started at $70, no promotion, just general price. I'm now at $103 a month without better service and you want me to pay a 50% increase???!!! Not to mention, technology eats up this pitiful data in days. I'm sorry I'm ahead of your 1950's curve and live on the edge of technology. Grow up.
 

truerock

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You are confusing 3 different issues.
1) Does Comcast charge too much
2) Should people be charged more if they use more
3) How should Comcast introduce price changes
They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

 

Tanyac

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I live in Australia, and currently have an "unlimited" allowance (that word seems to mean different things depending on the day of the week). I use easily 3TB per month. The are 5 people in the household. We have an NBA Premium subscription, heavy online gamers, all 5 streaming often at the same time. I also serve public domain documentaries (Uploads are counted as downloads with Optus). With downloading, web, remote database access, and everything else we do, 3TB is the lowest we ever use.

Most ISPs here only provide 1TB plans. And they do it for around $140 - $200 AUD per month, around (About $100 - $145 USD at current exchange rate).

I guess it's only a matter of time before this spreads like a global virus.

I was sold my service on the expectations of unlimited traffic, 100mbps down, 40mbps (Currently the fastest service available for consumer in Australia), with a home phone plan that allowed me to make and receive unlimited local, cell phone and national calls.

I now cannot receive phone calls from any source. And even though I'm paying for the service, Optus have stated "If you want the service, take your business elsewhere". The reason - I won't use their supplied modem which is extremely crippled and locks up requiring a factory reset every other day, and has so many limitations it's basically only good for email and web surfing and nothing else.
 

synphul

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Rates increasing and services decreasing is pretty common. It happens with pay tv as well (which is why so many people look to cut the cable). My satellite tv service costs have steadily climbed, from less than $100/mo to over $130/mo for 2 boxes and only 1 is a dvr. Over the past few years several channels have disappeared, a few have been introduced but they're never the same quality of programming. Recently resetting my preferred channels list, out of those '100's of channels' offered over 100 were 24/7 infomercials. Another 24 were channels for ppv, so not really useful unless paying additional same as hbo or anything else. 12 of them were in a language I don't speak. The usefulness of the service quickly depreciates as rates increase.

@Nephi, it's nothing to do with being a fool, being in the 1950's or anything else. There's also no such thing as a free lunch. If you insist on being a data glutton, pay for it. No one is stopping people from paying additional for their additional data use.

Basic telephone service (telecom) was pretty affordable in the day and came with a free phone from the phone company. By the time I quit using it and cancelled my landline 'basic' service was around $40/mo, I couldn't even call one town over because it was considered long distance so my call radius was about 10miles and instead of a free phone I got nagged because I still wanted a paper bill. Welcome to 'new and improved'. You don't 'need' 3tb of bandwidth, you 'want' it. Wants come with a pricetag. People would love if ferrari's came with a kia pricetag but that's not reality. Gotta pay to play.

It may not be a perfect move but the transition isn't aimed at one neighborhood. It's aimed as a national plan and those who were previously capped at 300gb/mo will have their caps raised 3x higher. Those who use more will have to pay additional but at least it's an option. There are isp's out there where you don't have an option to buy more. I paid as much for satellite with hard use limits (aka they will cancel your service if you violate their terms) as comcast wants for fully unlimited plans. Paying more for using more isn't really a surprise in just about any market.

The flip side is instead of offering lower cost capped plans at say $70 and higher cost unlimited plans at $120 (assuming $50 increase for unlimited), they could have removed all caps and given everyone unlimited data and just raised their rates to $160 flat leaving only a few options. Pay up, go without or move elsewhere. That would have been bad for everyone.

Maybe on the plus side having data caps will encourage more responsibility for the entire tech community, namely content providers. Focusing on more efficient compression algorithms to stream their content, game makers will try a little harder to actually release a complete game rather than necessitating an 11gb 'patch' on day 1. Sites may start becoming more proactive against advertisers who use annoying large animated banners and autoplay videos sucking up the bandwidth if conscientious web surfers are paying attention to their data usage and opt to avoid sites using that sort of advertising. People might post a few good pics when taking selfies rather than flood their social media with 100 of the same wallpaper sized image of the exact same pose lol. Ok the last one was more or less light hearted poking fun.
 

memadmax

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Sent a complaint using the FCC link.

Email reply was:
"Your Ticket No. ####### was served on Comcast Cable Communications on Oct 12 for its review and response.

Comcast Cable Communications will likely contact you in an effort to resolve your issue.

A response is due to the FCC no later than 30 days from today. Comcast Cable Communications will respond to you directly by postal mail.

You can view a list of frequently asked questions at: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/205082880.

We appreciate your submission and help in furthering the FCC’s mission on behalf of consumers."

So, in other words, nothing will happen unless hundreds of thousands, even millions of us submit a complaint. Otherwise, the FCC will just take the complaint, send it off to comcast, comcast is gonna send a "I'm sorry, we are gonna do it anyways" letter, resulting in the case being closed.

At that point, we will have to start looking real hard at having to do something about this duopoly or monopoly in some cases, then voting with our dollars....
 

falchard

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I would stop using Europe or other high population density countries as an example. When they have to provide service to the 20% of people living tens of miles apart, then they will be making a feat. The US like China, Russia, Australia, Brazil, and India are large countries with a lot of space. It simply costs more. Also depending on the country you are paying taxes for a subsidized ISP system. For instance in France, you are paying a portion of income and paying for the service itself. So the monthly cost is actually quite similar.
In the US our subsidized ISPs are regional in nature laying lines between cities hundreds of miles apart. It's quite different.
 

synphul

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I agree with falchard, simply getting service options to other areas would be a good start. The problem is the cost of extending their physical service which is why there's even a market for companies like hughesnet/wildblue etc. There's a good portion of the US without any actual broadband. My area is a bit rural but not 100's of miles from nowhere and there are quite a few smaller towns spread around with little to no access to dsl or cable. I've been asking about dsl in my area for over a decade with no real response. Considering I'm closer to main street than many people are in more rural areas I can only guess there's a large portion of the population in the same boat.

According to the FCC's report at the beginning of the year 34M people in the US lack access to 25mbps or better service. That accounts for 23M people in rural areas and 20% of people in rural areas can't even get 4mbps/1mbps up/down. Only 1% access improvement has been made since 2011 so basically squat. Schools are even worse, their goal was 100mbps for every 1000 students/staff and yet 41% of schools still don't meet that. Only in America could they think up and develop the internet and then fail to figure out how to deploy it lmao.

Cable in and of itself hasn't really improved in reliability from what I've seen. They're plagued by the same problems they had 30yrs ago. As a kid living within a stone's throw of what's now google's hq the cable was constantly going out and being repaired. A friend of mine with Time Warner Cable, fighting the same thing. Every couple of weeks their tv and internet is down for anywhere from an hour to a day or two. The connection speeds were great, when they worked. In the span of 30yrs you'd hope some sort of improvements would be made instead of continuing to be the punchline of a joke.

Europe does have the advantage of high population density and I wish the US would expand things like fios. Many people seem to have easy access to fiber connections in Europe and have had for quite some time. Some interesting info regarding US access/prices vs other regions of the world from an article at pbs done just last year.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/internet-u-s-compare-globally-hint-slower-expensive/
 

grimfox

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Synphul, What you seem to not understand is that this is all a manufactured problem. In my area I've yet to see a time of day where I don't get the maximum speed or better than what I pay for on my bill (I know that is not the case for every community). So why then is there a need to introduce data caps? The network is not stressed. Comcast isn't struggling to serve the data out because there is too much that they are trying to shove through those "pipes." Further more Comcast has been throttling services at the other end in order to get money for passing the data on to their customers. So that data is then being charged for twice once at each end of the pipe. The fact of the matter is that Comcast is just trying to make a few bucks today and a lot more later as data services become a more prominent and more needed part of peoples' lives. The company is leveraging their monopoly and/or a lack of effective consumer choice to extort money from it's customers. Comcast should be reinvesting in themselves improving service, expanding service, and offering new services. We can all agree that is how a competitive company normally operates to get and keep customers. Comcast is not being competitive, they are being abusive.
 

synphul

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What I see them doing (and never thought I'd be saying this) is being fair to ALL their customers. It's like a flat tax. As it is, some customers have had a cap at 300gb/mo, others were unlimited. This way for the same $70 (or whatever their price is), they're offering 1tb/mo across the board. If you had a cap, it's raised, if you didn't, you do now and now every one of their customers will be getting 1tb/mo/$70.

@grimfox

You say you have yet to see a time of day where your own network wasn't overloaded. How much of the nation does your neighborhood represent? It's very possible that many things have happened, that cable has improved (at least in your area), your neighborhood wasn't one that was overloaded to begin with, a lot of variables come into play.

In more of a worst case scenario there were times in the past when people were lucky to get dialup speed from their cable connection purely because the local network was overloaded. It worked great when kids were at school, college kids were off at campus, people were working. Then comes something like spring break, kids are home from grade school, college kids back home, mom and dad are all home from work and EVERYone wants to be on at the same time. Major bottleneck.

To my knowledge cable never has guaranteed their speeds with traditional cable internet service, unlike business class dsl. Commercial internet tends to be more expensive, the speed's not quite as fast however the extra cost is because if you're purchasing a specific speed package like 768/512mbs up/down they guarantee you'll get it all day every day.

What comcast has done is introduced a flat fee for a specific level of service they want to offer all their customers. You don't think that's fair? You think you should be able to get unlimited data for $70 while someone else gets only 300gb/mo for the same price or maybe only 500mb of bandwidth/mo for the same price? Actually a more fair option would be to lift the data cap entirely and charge per gb.

At the rate some customers have been paying, $70 for 300gb that's a bit less than 5gb/$1 but let's call it that. So they pay $70 and get 300gb/mo. At those same rates if you used your 1tb/mo as the new plan suggests, it's only $200/mo. That's what you don't seem to understand. Also the fact that while internet is a utility, it's not 'free' or just some magic that comes from the wall. Bandwidth does cost money, always has. Just like electricity costs money and you pay per unit consumed. Why is there a need for data caps? Because there isn't enough for everyone, for free. Why can't I just go fill up my car with gas and give the attendant $5? I mean look at all that gas they have, they must have tons. It's not a valid argument.
 
If internet service is a utility, I have to agree with paying by meter. I strongly dislike bandwidth tiers and bandwidth caps and both would be unnecessary with paying by meter. What other utility lets you pay a flat rate for unlimited service?
 

shrapnel_indie

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Satellite - Cable: Makes no difference. Both ordered to carry local channels, and both get into battles with various media conglomerates of varying sizes. Both they and the conglomerates blame the other (and cable and satellite will point out the other's problems with it) of channels held for ransom during contract/price negotiations with the other. That's just on the TV side of it. All these companies want to make money. I can't begrudge them that. What I can begrudge is when they get greedy because we customers suffer for it. It doesn't matter if you're just a small privately held station or media producer or a huge multi-billion dollar outfit like Comcast, Time-Warner, Viacom, or Disney.

ISPs are out to make money too. No Problem. Just don't get greedy. Data-Rate tiers should be good enough to ensure bandwidth for everyone. As long as rates are reasonable and part of it goes to maintain or improve/upgrade/enhance the network.

As stated, in the U.S. of A. There are parts, specifically in the Southwest, where it is very rural to nearly uninhabited. Phone companies have to be forced to give any kind of service for land-lines. Reasoning is they little, if any profits in that area, especially since phone service is a regulated utility.

Part of the problem with having a fully open market for cable and ISP providers is the infrastructure. Too many and utility poles (where all cables are above ground) become overloaded (as in too many cables on them) and/or too many utility poles: becoming an eyesore and a hit on people's precious property values. At least that is what municipalities will tell you. Some places, like rentals, and I'm sure a few HOAs (Home Owner Associations, which seem to have more control over your property than the county, township, city or even you, the property owner, have.) even have bans on dishes (full size especially, and I'm sure the mini dishes used by AT&T & Dish in some areas.) to avoid "eyesores."

I'm not trying to defend it. That's because it does cause less competition, and rates don't stay at their negotiated levels any longer than absolutely necessary. The stunts they pull (Comcast especially) don't help matters any either. Caps on data usage won't help.

I could have a connection to my ISP with their fastest advertised speed and burn through my data limit allocation as fast as it will allow me, to the point I use it up. It won't make it easier for someone who is using it considerably less, but has a time-sensitive matter if my burning up my data limit takes all the bandwidth when they need it. Use the money I'm willing to spend on a faster connection for a faster and/or wider pipe instead. Don't promise me 1GBps connection rates as unlimited for the first 1GB of data and knock me down to 56k after. That is deceptive. (it isn't deceptive ONLY in the sense you didn't cut me off completely or start charging me a penalty fee. It is deceptive in the sense when you drop my speed drastically to the point it is unusable.)
 

synphul

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That's been a problem with many utilities, the infrastructure. I don't run a utility so I can't say how much is justified and how much is purely profiteering. You would think when you pay x amount per month that money is used to maintain existing equipment and to expand further etc yet it seems as though little of the money ends up doing so.

The waste water operations in the metro area closest to me at some point in time when the area was settled began building a sewer network. There are still portions of the system that are brick and date back to pre-1900. Even going back to 1950 that's been 66yrs worth of collecting fees from the people who use it, I would imagine the initial cost to install and pioneer the system has long since been paid for and yet with millions of people paying usage fees for the better part of a century they still have areas of the original system in place that haven't been rebuilt or updated. They just keep getting patched and I'm left to guess pocketing the rest as profits.

It's a bit like a parcel service like ups or fedex delivering packages for a given rate but then charging extra when their trucks break down. That's not part of the deal, the whole point of paying for the service is the cost of operating the business. Maintaining the infrastructure, buying new trucks when needed. They turn over millions (or more) of profit every year, if they find the company needs its tools revamped but doesn't have the money to do so it just means they misappropriated their earnings. More should have gone to keeping up the company and a bit less in the profits.

Back in the day when telephone and cable was installed someone was willing to do so. They were willing to put out the cost up front of laying the system in place. These days not so much, no one seems to want to do it. The cable companies don't want to have to install large magnitudes of new line and whatever else is needed to manage and operate it.

When competition comes into an area even in Europe they don't want to lay new lines. They want to piggyback off what already exists leaving whoever installed/owns the physical lines to pick up the tab. Even if they pay a portion of maintenance on the specific lines they use they're not rushing forward to lay out the capital to put more lines out there. I'm not sure what it would take or how we could demand any particular company to significantly expand their service networks. It's like a bunch of people sitting around at the table bickering over who's going to pay the bill - after they've all eaten of course.

Speed crippling is common practice for lots of services, whether satellite, wireless etc. The fine print usually states (by law) what the stipulations are per the usage contract. Such as 3gbps for the first gb of use then speeds will be throttled after that and they don't say by how much. Usually it's a lot, though technically unlimited. Access is unlimited, speeds are not. If you notice most of the 'high speed' internet advertisements show grandma and grandpa all excited to send an email or make a post to social media out on the farm. They don't show someone streaming an hd movie at 1080p and battling their buddies for 4-5hrs at a time on online multiplayer games while yelling at their teammates over skype and twitch streaming their awesomesauce fragging skills at 720p.

Wait until iot takes off and you have to divorce your toaster because it ran you over your usage limit having a chat with your fridge. lmao.
 

RIKHOLLIS

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Does this cap also apply to Comcast Business customers? With government mandated Electronic Medical Records, and most of those services being in the Cloud, Health Service Providers in Comcast-only areas are going to be in for a rude surprise.
 

Antias

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He he - we've had this setup from ALL providers in Australia for ever, we're used to it. I personally have connection (sync) at 12 Mb/s and 500Gb / mth for $70.
 

sykozis

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Having data caps won't prevent their piss-poor network from being overloaded. If enough people try to stream 4K video at the same time, the network will still get overloaded, regardless of the data cap. It will also happen if they oversold their bandwidth. Simultaneous bandwidth consumption is what cases network overloaded.....not data consumption. It doesn't matter if 4 million people are consuming 1TB of data per month, so long as they're not all trying to do it at the exact same time.
 

falchard

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For an access provider using a cable network that is true, but it may be different when they start interconnecting. Connecting to an IXP is usually favorable in terms of cost where they can generally use as much bandwidth as possible. However when connecting to a Regional or Global ISP, they may charge by the volume of data. This cost may not be seen by the customer, but is felt by the ISP. For the largest access provider in the US, it's inevitable they have to deal with a Global ISP.
 

sykozis

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None of that has anything to do with my post....
 
Man I thought poor people in the third world had it rough. Drinking brackish water and scrounging for food. A 1 TB data cap limiting me to a few hundred hours of HD Netflix streaming per month is really roughing it.

On a serious note. I've been stuck on a 300GB per month test market. Which was fairly difficult to prevent overages. For me the 1 TB is a big relief.
 

kcwilsonii

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as I understand it, they actually increased it in several markets. My friend was at 300gb and will not be getting 1 TB. Compare that to my crappy ATT 4g at home service with a 50gb datacap (only thing available where I live)
 

Fan___

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One terabyte, less than one percent- I use netflix and amazon and watch tv from the stations web site because the comcast tv setup is blurry. I am currently using 1.2 to 1.6 tb per month. There was no mention of a cap on my high speed when they took my money. I will be filling a personal law suit in small claims for breach of contract. (why small claims, because they cannot bring in their lawyers and the cap in small claims is 7k) If 20,000 ppl sued them in small claims court at 7k.....
 

grimfox

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Submitted a complaint via FCC. Only response so far is rate increase of $11 on this months bill. Which puts them in direct competition with a fiber company selling unlimited bandwidth and 4 times the speed.
 

grimfox

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It has officially been one month since this article went live. How many people got formal responses from Comcast after submitting their complaint? Comcast is required to do so according to the reply I got from the FCC.
 
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