Comcast Bandwidth-Capping Notification and Solution

With news from dif­fer­ent tech/internet-focused sites writ­ing about bandwidth-capping, I finally have received an email from Com­cast. They seem to be updat­ing their AUP which mostly adds a clause to whats con­sid­ered “exces­sive use of [their] ser­vice”. Here’s the email:

Dear Com­cast High-Speed Inter­net Customer,

We appre­ci­ate your busi­ness and strive to pro­vide you with the best online expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble. One of the ways we do this is through our Accept­able Use Pol­icy (AUP). The AUP out­lines accept­able use of our ser­vice as well as steps we take to pro­tect our cus­tomers from things that can neg­a­tively impact their expe­ri­ence online. This pol­icy has been in place for many years and we update it peri­od­i­cally to keep it cur­rent with our cus­tomers’ use of our service.

On Octo­ber 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clar­ify that monthly data (or band­width) usage of more than 250 Giga­bytes (GB) is the spe­cific thresh­old that defines exces­sive use of our ser­vice. We have an exces­sive use pol­icy because a frac­tion of one per­cent of our cus­tomers use such a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of band­width every month that they may degrade the online expe­ri­ence of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of band­width and it’s very likely that your monthly data usage doesn’t even come close to that amount. In fact, the thresh­old is approx­i­mately 100 times greater than the typ­i­cal or median res­i­den­tial cus­tomer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in per­spec­tive, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a cus­tomer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 mil­lion plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Down­load 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Down­load 125 stan­dard def­i­n­i­tion movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heav­i­est multi– or single-player gam­ing activ­ity would not typ­i­cally come close to this thresh­old over the course of a month.

In addi­tion to mod­i­fy­ing the exces­sive use pol­icy, the updated AUP con­tains other clar­i­fi­ca­tions of terms con­cern­ing report­ing vio­la­tions, news­groups, and net­work man­age­ment. To read some help­ful FAQs, please visit http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Excessive-Use.

Thank you again for choos­ing Com­cast as your high-speed Inter­net provider.

On their FAQ, this will prob­a­bly be one of the most asked/searched one:

How does Com­cast help its cus­tomers track their usage so they can avoide exceed­ing the limit?

There are many online tools cus­tomers can down­load and use to mea­sure their con­sump­tion. Cus­tomers can find such tools by sim­ply doing a Web search — for exam­ple, a search for “band­width meter” will pro­vide some options. Cus­tomers using mul­ti­ple PCs should just be aware that they will need to mea­sure and com­bine their total monthly usage in order to iden­tify the data usage for their entire account.

But those who have done a search on “band­width meter” will only find “speed tests” rather than a log of current/past “true” band­width. Even if they find a good “band­width meter”, it’s hard to keep track if they are on a net­work of mul­ti­ple users. How­ever, don’t fret.

I remem­ber read­ing up on this a cou­ple of weeks back. This is mostly for those who can install DD-WRT. If you have a Linksys router, you’re in luck as most of their mod­els can be updated to run this mod/hack. Any­ways, click here to read up on the Life­hacker arti­cle on how to mon­i­tor your monthly band­width with your router.

I hope that helps, and good luck.

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