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Typical Home Bandwidth Usage?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the what's-in-your-tubes dept.

Networking 656

Broadband writes "With a growing number of internet service providers imposing hard bandwidth caps, I too will soon find myself with a limit. In typical Slashdot fashion I use the Internet for everything from movie streaming to online backup and just realized I have no idea how much data traverses my pipes on a monthly basis. While I have wised up and installed a bandwidth monitoring solution, it'll be some time until I have a normalized average. So my question is: What is the average monthly data usage in your household? How many people share the connection and is there anything you've found essential yet bandwidth intensive that you couldn't live without? (E.g. VOIP, movie downloads, streaming audio, etc.)"

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first post ! (-1, Offtopic)

harisund (881643) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827495)

first post !

first proust! (5, Funny)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827519)

For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say "I'm going to sleep." And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between FranÃois I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed.

Re:first proust! (3, Funny)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827557)

You just hit the bandwidth cap. Be glad that your sentence happened to end there or else

Re:first proust! (2, Insightful)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827559)

Have you been saving that up in some kind of .txt file, waiting for your chance at first post?

Re:first proust! (5, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827679)

Have you been saving that up in some kind of .txt file, waiting for your chance at first post?

It's a quote from Proust. []

Hence the subject "First Proust!"

If Monty Python had made this joke anyone repeating it here would have got modded up.

He should have summarized it (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827837)

Although that can be so difficult it's a nationwide sport.

Re:first proust! (1)

wavedeform (561378) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827885)

A madeline for this gentleman!

I have true unlimited (3, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827523)

I don't get my connectivity through a major provider. I get dsl through They are a AT&T reseller, but with huge advantages. They have not once ever mentioned bandwidth limits. I have static IPs, and I am allowed to run servers (mail, web, etc). Of course, I pay more than the average joe-user. About $70/month, but I feel it's worth it.

I've never measured my usage, but your question has me curious. I'll install a meter and get back to you in a month. LOL

Re:I have true unlimited (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827545)

Ahem, Speakeasy...

Ok well full disclosure i work for Speakeasy but there are no bandwidth caps. Of course you pay more for service but you get lower latency, no bandwidth cap and i can personally attest that all the backbone lines that speakeasy runs on are undersold compared to other ISPs.

Like anyhting in life you pay for what you get. If you pay $20 a month for internet expect to get $20 worth.

Re:I have true unlimited (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827571)

Another issue is all the traffic generated by break-in attempts, spam and a lot of other junk traffic.

Or if I happen to have a small web server for personal amusement and it happens to get slashdotted...

Those are really going to blow the bandwidth cap.

It works fine with a bandwidth cap for plain surfing, but the net is more than that. And if I have my phone completely over VoIP, then they will cut the emergency call possibility by having a cap.

Re:I have true unlimited (5, Interesting)

VirtBlue (1233488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827635)

Same here i have true unlimited, Be internet in the UK. i never watch my bandwidth usage i just checked it now and it was 536.2GB combined for last month.

Re:I have true unlimited (2, Informative)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827947)

same here. I have elite from sonic.

If I was in Santa Rosa, Sonic's home-turf, I could get fiber for 130 a month (with even faster speeds, up and down).

plus, the tech support with Sonic is actually fairly pleasant. If I ask them what my signal-to-noise ratio is on my dsl line, they don't scratch their heads and fling poo....they actually know what is going on.

I use a metric buttload of bandwidth... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827529)

Camfrog and Skype Video at full FPS is quite bandwidth-intensive, Camfrog 100x more than Skype since I can load 100 webcams as a registered Pro user.

Re:I use a metric buttload of bandwidth... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827539)

And in bad fashion, I must note that I'm NEVER loading up 100 webcams. Usually I only have 10 or so loaded, as that saturates my connection.

Re:I use a metric buttload of bandwidth... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827691)

Why would you want to have 10 webcams running?

Re:I use a metric buttload of bandwidth... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827889)

I think that's typically called a "cam whore"

I guess my ISP is responsiblee (5, Informative)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827533)

When my ISP added caps, they started by giving statements of the last three months of each person's usage, and did that for a few months before adding the cap. It made life quite nice.

Turns out, I rarely go over 20GB in a month. I was basically two persons: one 14 year old girl watching youtube, facebook, and uploading hundreds of photographs; while I run a programming business downloading software and uploading text files.

Don't know if that helps.

Re:I guess my ISP is responsiblee (2, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827643)

Pretty much every Aussie ISP will break it down into days used, and some will even be able to tell you what ports you thrashed.

I have this nice little program in my system tray that shows me how much I have used in my "month", how many days remaining, how much I have been using per day and how much I have remaining per day.

But back to the OP, about 65-75GB a month between 2 people.

Re:I guess my ISP is responsiblee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827871)

is that app iiUsage?

Re:I guess my ISP is responsiblee (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828035)

No, its MuM, the internode Monthly Usage Meter :)

Re:I guess my ISP is responsiblee (5, Funny)

solferino (100959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827655)

I was basically two persons: one 14 year old girl watching youtube, facebook, and uploading hundreds of photographs; while I run a programming business downloading software and uploading text files.

Well, at least now we have one data point for the typical bandwith usage of a small Russian mafia operation.

Re:I guess my ISP is responsiblee (2, Funny)

FornaxChemica (968594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827929)

I was basically two persons

No, I think what we've got here is a case of dissociative identity disorder [] .

150GB (5, Interesting)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827541)

I already have a cap (Yes I'm Australian, don't start the whole "OMG WE'RE SICK OF AUSTRALIANS IN SLASHDOT" BS. We're the best friends you'll have now since we've been on caps for years and can tell you how best to stay within them). It's a relatively large one compared to others, domestically at 150GB. I use it all up mainly on torrents for things like movies, games and the odd program and Linux iso.

It's not hard to monitor usage especially if most of it comes through downloads and not through browsing. Browsing can be a killer. Especially these days when a lot of sites have embedded video ads. Those, plus 5-10MB animated .gif's that you don't expect can really eat into your bandwidth. Best solution is Firefox with Adblocker and NoScript. Will save you a lot of headache when you check your usage and wonder "Where did all these GB's come from!".

Re:150GB (1)

Toam (1134401) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827583)

150GB capped Australian here also. TPG?

Re:150GB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827613)

Yep, 150GB capped Australian TPG'er here too.


Re:150GB (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827637)

Yep, TPG.

Re:150GB (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827681)

another aussie here. I have to live with 10gig onpeak and 10 gig off peak, for a pc, laptop, and online gaming with a wii and xbox360 (inc dlc and game&sytem updates) 4 of the past 6 months I've gone over our cap and we get downgraded to a 64kbps connection until our monthly quota resets. I hardly ever download music or movies, however I do like to watch about 30min average of youtube/other streaming vids/day average.

Re:150GB (2, Informative)

definate (876684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827967)

I get 160gb on Adam Internet, 80gb external (outside of PIPE traffic and similar) and 80gb internal traffic (inside PIPE).

Also I do heaps of uploading and downloading from CommunityNet, which is awesome.

If you live in SA, I'd recommend it.

Paying to view ads (5, Insightful)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827999)

Those, plus 5-10MB animated .gif's that you don't expect can really eat into your bandwidth. Best solution is Firefox with Adblocker and NoScript.

When your usage is caped, you start to realize that you are _PAYING_ to view those annoying banners.

Re:150GB (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828011)

In Belgium a standard is around 20GB-30GB per month and that only because they have seriously increased it. I can get web hosting where I get more data transfer for much less and those need to rent the traffic from elsewhere.

The ONLY thing I am paying for is bandwidth and email. I pay separately for the phone line that carries the ADSL, so it isn't the last mile that makes them so expensive. It is because they can.

Luckily I am with a smaller provider who has no limits for just a bit more then those who DO have limits.

I know people who stick with the limits, even if that means slow connections for most of the month (I am talking 3 weeks slow) and still do not want to switch to one that might be a bit slower, but give you a connection all of the month at the same good speed.

No limit (5, Interesting)

simonvik (1307303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827561)

I donÂt have any limit but i upload/download around 2 TB /month, I have a no limit 100/100 Mbit connection that is shared by 2 peoples. I have static IP and I am allowed to run servers. I pay 99 swedish kronor for the connection, that is like 15,10 USD

Re:No limit (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827727)

I donÃt have any limit but i upload/download around 2 TB /month, I have a no limit 100/100 Mbit connection that is shared by 2 peoples. I have static IP and I am allowed to run servers. I pay 99 swedish kronor for the connection, that is like 15,10 USD

-1 bragger

Re:No limit (5, Funny)

rzei (622725) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827795)

I guess there should be a "-5 Swedish" option when talking about home network connections.

In their eastern neighbour Finland I pay about ... 0-10€ per month 1Mbps (HomePNA) line. (I'm yet to receive a bill for that connection after 9 months, no idea if they have just forgot me or if it's included in the rent.)

Sweden is not the riches country in the world but somehow they have been able to pull great stunt making Internet truly "free" for everyone.. As in you don't have to have incomes that allow you to pay 1000€ per month for a such connection.

Where I live a 10/10 Mbps (fiber) connection with no restraints costs about 1000€/month plus 1500€ installation.

Re:No limit (1)

hsdpa (1049926) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827989)

Well, I've got 30/30 full duplex (although the contract says 30/10) and have at least 1.5 TB up/week. Rather expensive though, about 400 SEK / $60 a month. No limits. Of course I live in Sweden.

Found it! (1)

linj (891019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827567)

Tomato firmware is so nice; it's just under Bandwidth: Monthly.

Over the last three months, my mean average is 84GB down, 16GB up; this makes for a total of 100GB damage to my ISP.

I'm probably in the lower range of /.'s, since I'm a) living overseas, b) haven't been torrenting very much lately, and c) wasn't home for the first half of that first month. :D We're sustaining a family of four on this, with a 1400kbps streaming video connection to Taipei that comes on, say, every night for two to three hours. The connection sets us back about 35 USD for 10 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up.

More than you'd think. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827573)

Use about 20-25 gigs a month on just surfing/gaming thats before any mentionable sized downloads like big patches for online goes, or torrents

This especially sucks as my tightwad ISP gives us a 30 gig cap on a 10mb line unless i'd care to shell out 100 bucks more a month (my current bill is only 50) to get a 60 gig cap.

I Wouldn't Worry ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827579)

If you have a 250GB limit. I typically hit 80GB/month when doing lots of downloading and watching TV streams. You really have to push hard to hit 250GB even if you're a binary newsgroup junky.

Optimize your usage habits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827581)

I manage to keep my bandwidth usage under 20GB a month despite downloading videos, streaming radio, using Skype, and downloading various Linux distros every week.

I run DD-WRT on my router to make sure I'm sticking with the limit, and generally try not to exceed 300MB a day, giving myself extra space for the occasional large download.

1.5GB up, 24GB down (3, Informative)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827585)

1 user, no warez/pr0n/P2P

bandwidth-intensive and essential stuff: none except occasional heavy youtube usage (example [] ), but I'm impatient, so I have a fast connection. Also planning on using Freenet at some point in the future (on principle, because I dislike the current trends in wiretapping legislation).

500gb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827597)

Acording to DU meter My average monthly use is 502.68GB that is for both up and down.

I'm in the UK and i love BE internet for being the only truly unlimited service. Caps in the UK have been around for a while and it is truly rare to find an actually unlimited service.

1.5GB :) (1)

richardwatson (218456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827605)

Seriously. I can suck up as many plain-text pages as my heart desires. South Africa FTW.

Re:1.5GB :) (1)

VirtBlue (1233488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827649)

i used to work in cap town, the internet made me sad :(. One girl int office would always mass email silly songs and eat the entire cap the first day of the month. so that we were dog slow for the remainder :(

Limits are nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827623)

I've had a limit with Cox Communications since as long as I can remember, at 10 GB up and 40 GB down per month. I've passed it multiple times, and nothing really happens.

Perhaps this new wave of limits will be enforced?

I don't like bandwidth caps... (5, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827625)

I always put a conscious effort to monitor my usage but

3 Gigabytes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827631)

According to our (South African) monopolistic overlords (telkom) 3 Gigabytes is more than enough... so basically you can max out on the first day of the month... from then on you can "top up" $10 per gig... heck an you guys bitch about 250 gig limits

Get your terminology straight (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827633)

Bandwidth is not usage, it is a rate.

Re:Get your terminology straight (2, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827973)

Right. But it's long-since been accepted as synonymous with 'quantity of data transferred', even if it's technically incorrect.

200GB plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827641)

Last month 180GB down, 60GB up. Mostly on torrents and streaming video, with a little bit of VOIP and VPN to work.

10 GB/Mo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827663)

lucky bastards. I live in the Northwest Territories, Canada, and my only viable options are cable (10 GB/month), and satellite (5 GB/month).

My usage (3, Funny)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827677)

It's like wages: required usage = (disposable amount) + 1

Between (1)

Konster (252488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827685)

Between 20-30 GB/month for $50.

Does your ISP already know? (5, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827687)

If your ISP has accounts with caps, then the chances are they'll have a page where people can go check the usage on their accounts. Log in to your ISP's 'Customer Portal' if they have one, and you can probably find out.

I've got an uncapped account and my provider has this - they've got historical data going back to May 2006.

10GB no-extra-money limit (2, Informative)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827697)

The "cap" for my New Zealand flat is 10GB ($55), of which I use about 4GB/month, most of which is Debian updates. If we go over that, it's $3/GB (note: prices in NZD). However, I do spend most of my day at the local university, and don't need to pay [an additional amount on top of my standard fees] for Internet access there.

Re:10GB no-extra-money limit (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827743)

10 GB for $55?, in canada we get like 60-100 gb for that much

Re:10GB no-extra-money limit (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827835)

The Southern Hemisphere sucks.......................

so is it (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827699)

Bandwidth or total data transfer ?
They are not the same.
Somebody with 24 Mbps ADSL has more bandwidth than somebody with 8 Mbps ADSL, but they both might have a transfer cap of 40 GB per month. Oh, that's right, language changes, get used to it. Fuck science, definite terms are so 20th century.

How to monitor? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827701)

What's the best way to monitor traffic, for a joe average type like me? I could install some sort of Windows app, but they tend to be buggy, lose data, not deal with hibernation, etc. Ideally, it should go somewhere on the router, but the router is a Netgear RP614 with few features, and anyway I used to hate SNMP data when I was doing HP Openview monitoring years ago. Is it "yet another taskbar icon" for me?

50GB Down & 5GB Up (5, Informative)

Raintree (1136645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827703)

50GB Down & 5GB Up (average)
100GB Down & 4GB Up (this month)

Skype has replaced my phone
Joost & legal sites have replaced my Cable TV
Streaming music all day long
Games - online shooters
Web Browsing/RSS feeds

48 GB Down, 2 GB Upstream (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827711)

My ISP charges by the amount of traffic for my measly 2 Mbps ADSL. 50GB traffic is free for $100/- per month.
But no port limitations, nothing. Just the raw stuff. I have run my home servers (for test runs), used my Mac as FTP server (when i was downloading stuff into my laptop before i discovered rapidshare).
My ISP does allow me to boost up the speeds to 8Mbps for short periods (2 hours max free of cost). I just that when iam downloading latest Torchwood episodes.

Re:48 GB Down, 2 GB Upstream (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827849)

> 50GB traffic is free for $100/- per month.

I think you meant to say

=> 50GB traffic is no additional charge for $100/- per month.


Isn't it just comcast?(at least in the US?) (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827721)

>> With a growing number of internet service providers imposing hard bandwidth caps,

Uhh, isn't it just comcast (at least in the USA)? why do you say "growing number"?
Actually I've been waiting for a slashdot article that says how comcast is gonna stop bandwidth caps in order to stem the tide of customers leaving, but I guess either most people don't know or care, or maybe just don't have any alternative broadband providers.
Perhaps what needs to happen is for a comcast customer to initiate a class action suit because they reached their limit and got cut off, even though there's no such clause explicitly in their contract.

TWC in a few markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827909)

There was a story here on it a while back

Not an issue for a typical home. (3, Insightful)

skreeech (221390) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827723)

Here in BC we've always had caps. I think they've doubled more recently from 30 to 60gb.

With lots of web usage and many large files I haven't had a problem. If you are on cable and are uploading at max speed 24/7 you'll pass your limit, but otherwise most homes should be fine with the smallest of caps.

People complaining about comcast's 250gb limit must be doing it out of principle because that is an extreme amount to use for non business.

I would actually say that mine(adsl with telus) doesn't offer enough bandwidth to realistically reach the cap. One big download seems to clog the pipes these days.

Re:Not an issue for a typical home. (0)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827865)

I filled an 80 gb drive on torrents in one day.

I recently started using usenet and went through half a terabyte in one week, then used very little for the next month, and back and forth.

cramming people into 1 size fits all caps is not the way to do business. I will deny anyone who tries my money, even if it means crawling into a cave and lighting candles.

Probably more than I should... (1)

Teron (817947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827729)

I tend to be around 1TB/month, mostly thanks to my router not being able to do more than 40Mb/s. Most of that is made up of torrent uploads though, so I could probably lower it quite a bit if I wanted to. This is in a 1 person household.

Surprisingly little (5, Informative)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827747)

The average household really won't use much bandwidth. I was surprised by this, when my parents got broadband a couple of years ago - even with 4 persons at home (not including me), they used only some 250 MB (download) per month. In fact, they often used more upload than download, because of sending photo's to an online photo printing service.

They do use e-mail and the web really quite a lot (hours a day), also my younger brothers play (online) games all the time, both browser-based and otherwise.

This was a couple of years ago when youtube didn't exist yet; I'd assume the bandwidth usage would be a bit higher now. But unless you start downloading movies (they rent DVD's instead) and lots of music, you don't use a whole lot apparently.

I used to share an apartment with 2 other students; we averaged about 1 GB/day, including lots of messing about with Linux distro's and the like, but obviously not just that.

So I don't know, I'd rather have the 250 GB/month cap than some undefined FUP. It's hardly like 250 GB is a completely unreasonable limit. You will never unconsciously download that much, except perhaps if you're trying to keep up with alt.binaries.* on a daily basis or something.

(The problem is of course that once there is a strictly defined limit, given the usual lack of competition they will keep lowering it unless you are willing to pay more)

Voip should not be the problem. (2, Insightful)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827755)

The data rate of voip is quite low. It should not be the largest percentage of your usage. You're talking about less than 30MB per hour usage. Usually the killers are big downloads and video streaming. Internet radio running 24/7 at 128kbps will amount to about 10G so turning it off when not using it could provide some solace.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827761)

Cox cable, Use about 45 gigs a month on 3 pc's for 55$. cap at 90 month I think, never been warned about it so I don't worry.

Download caps are not as bad as they are made out (5, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827765)

Hi all. My first post on Slashdot even though I've been reading it since the late 90s. Finally got around to signing up. I'm Australian and as most Slashdotters know, Australian ISPs all impose caps.

Personally, I'm on a 25 GB per month cap (after which my speed is slowed, but I am not charged more). My monthly usage generally ends up at around 18-22 GB, without me needing to monitor my usage or worry about it. My connection supports 2 people who are both heavy browsers. Plenty of youtube, streaming radio etc. Perhaps a TV show from a torrent every second day. Skype on the weekends to call my family overseas.

Basically, unless you are a MAJOR torrent leecher, you will find that you won't have any problems whatsoever staying under 250 GB (Comcast). I have one tenth of that cap, download movies/TV shows every other day, surf heavily, run a home FTP server, but I have no issues staying under 25 GB. Keep in mind that my uploads are not capped (not sure if Comcast's 250 GB includes uploads or not).

A poster above mentioned the issue of people launching attacks on your connection that flood you with unrequested packets. Yes this would be counted against your usage. But I've never heard of it being an issue...certainly hasn't happened to me in my 8+ years of using capped broadband. In the very unlikely circumstance that it did happen, call the ISP and they will be able to see the attack in their logs, and here, they would be reasonable and not charge you for it.

Now onto the subject of why I think caps, provided they are clearly stated, are generally a good thing!

Contrary to some people's knee-jerk reaction however, the reason Australia has caps is not because it's a technology backwater. Far from it actually - DSL speeds here are generally faster than in most parts of the US (although I admit, FiOS rocks, where it's available).

Australian bandwidth caps basically exist because:

a) most English speaking content comes from the US (i.e. most traffic is international, vs mostly domestic in the US); and

b) we are an island a long way from anywhere. Those undersea cables don't pay for themselves. Peering and transit costs here a an order of magnitude higher than in the US. ISPs thus have to impose monthly download caps to stop a few high volume users sending them bankrupt.

But on the plus side, because we pay for what we use, there are a number of advantages. My ISP, like most in Australia:

- Is far less contended than most US ISPs. Download speeds are always meet my connected speed. I have an 8/1 Mbps connection, and I get that speed, all the time (~850 kb/s downstream and slightly over 100 kb/s up). Whereas some US ISPs, when I've used them, seem sluggish in peak hours.

- Never fiddles with my traffic. No bittorrent deprioritising, no deep packet inspection, no random throttling or any of that nonsense. In the US though, well you know all about the shenanigans some of your ISPs have been up to.

- Allows me to run anything whatsoever on my connection. Whereas most US DSL providers I have read the AUP for have 20 clauses about how you cant run servers etc.

The other thing to note is that because we get charged for what we use, ISPs can allow us faster speeds here, without worrying that we will completely trash their network by leeching 24/7. In the US, your DSL connections mostly seem to be 3 or 6 Mbps, with maybe 768kbps up. In Australia, DSL is generally from 8, up to 24 Mbps down (ADSL2+), and if you have Annex M support on your modem/ISP, you can get up to 2.5 Mbps upload. Personally, I'd rather faster speeds with a cap, than slow speeds but unlimited downloads and annoying packet tampering.

The final thing to note is that virtually all ISPs here have massive download mirrors which aren't counted against your quota. For instance, my ISP has full Sourceforge, MajorGeeks etc. mirrors that contain most large things I would ever want to download anyway.

So yeah - don't fear your (very generous!) download caps over there. It's good news for you. Get the 0.1% of people off the network that abuse the hell out of it, and speeds will be faster for the rest of you.

Re:Download caps are not as bad as they are made o (2, Insightful)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827857)

"Those undersea cables don't pay for themselves."

They only get laid once. Then they get used repeatedly. I'm sure they pay for themselves & then some.

Re:Download caps are not as bad as they are made o (5, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828023)

They only get laid once. Then they get used repeatedly. I'm sure they pay for themselves & then some.

That phrase is the perfect description of Slashdot as a whole.

Re:Download caps are not as bad as they are made o (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827895)

please refer to various anti-australian rants on this subject.

stop congratulating us for a complete and utter failure of our markets to develop competition, and the rise of such abusive behavior.

i'm sorry if you live in ISP hell, but you should not be welcoming us.

Re:Download caps are not as bad as they are made o (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827997)

With respect, I was just stating my opinion. But if a cap is unsuitable for your needs, then hell yes, vote with your feet and leave that company for one that suits your needs more. I'm all for that.

I'm not saying 'live with it' and I'm certainly not congratulating you. I'm just saying its not as bad as you think.

Also, I was saying I kind of prefer the situation here, not that I live in ISP hell. No evil traffic tampering and a choice of 20+ highly competitive ISPs in most places (e.g. I can pay for large caps like 200GB+ if I wanted, I simply don't need that much though).

I agree that the situation in the US seems amazingly anti-competitive though. As stated, I can choose from 20+ ISPs where I am. But it seems in the US there's usually only 3-4 per area. In some areas, only 1 DSL and 1 cable option.

Disclaimer: I spend half my year in Australia and half my year in the US (Chicago area). My comments on the state of US broadband reflect what I have experienced in that area.

Re:Download caps are not as bad as they are made o (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828019)

I like that idea. Connection "slowed" after the cap is hit. It's better than charging or cutting someone off completely.

How to measure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827767)

So what are some easy ways to measure total transfers, under OS X?

Check your router/firewall (5, Interesting)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827773)

Most half-decent routers and firewalls keep rudimentary port statistics. According to my router I'm using about 30GB per month on my ADSL2+ line, and my family does little or no movie/music downloads. But I do run remote desktop sessions and remote backup (rsync) on the link and I get ISO's occasionally.

Tomato helps you monitor bandwidth usage (1)

nlann (1125759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827781)

Either implicite or explicit, there's always a cap on any ressource. Now it depends on the cap :)

Like everybody, I also don't like caps. When I started using cable back in Paris in late 90's, my stupid provider imposed very low limits, like max 500mb upload / month. And at the same time, they had no problem advertising their service as "Unlimited Internet access" on every wall in the street.

300gb seems to be high enough. In July I downloaded a lot of via Bittorrent (HD stuff), and total trafic for that month was 74.70gb, as reported by my Linksys router running Tomato firmware ( Normally, I would use from 12 to 25gb/month (2 persons, with lot of streaming radio).

Average of 7 Gig (2, Interesting)

dinther (738910) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827785)

The whole family uses the internet connection spread over 4 computers. We watch Youtube video's and for work I use the net a lot. Yet an average month uses up about 7 GB.

I just cannot imagine how a 250GB cap is a limitation in anyway unless you are a major torrent host.

Simple answer: don't tolerate caps, jump ship! (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827791)

Every area covered by cable is also covered by DSL and satellite.

Don't tolerate bandwidth caps.. when your ISP imposes them, jump ship!

Even if the other ISP has caps it impacts the bottom line on your original.

Enough people do this and they won't dare try that crap.

Also, FYI, my bandwidth usage annually is rather spiky .. i'll use minimal browsing 2 months, then fill up a 300 gig drive the next.

I wont tolerate comcast pulling this cap crap, and neither should you.

Re:Simple answer: don't tolerate caps, jump ship! (1)

Shard013 (530636) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827935)

I don't quite understand why some people are so opposed to monthly traffic caps in principal.

You can say "Yes, I want to be able to download as much as I want!", but there are also positives to caps. (at least in theory)

With lower caps, the ISP can provide faster traffic to all users as the power users will not be already using the bandwidth and can sell cheaper plans if they know a set of users will only be using 20 or 50 gig instead of potentially using 500 gig.

Personally I would rather pay less for a 24mbps connection and 20 gig/month than pay more for a 8mbps connection with unlimited data.

UK ISP transfer limits (3, Interesting)

penfold69 (471774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827801)

I get a fully unshaped 8Mbit connection with 15GB transfer per month for £20.

Anything downloaded between midnight and 8am is not counted towards the cap

One of the tech gurus at my ISP wrote a fine blog article [] about how UK ISPs are charged for their transfer. It's a completely different market economic to the US, which is why we've had transfer limits for some time.

avg 25~GB /mo last 6mos (5, Informative)

atarione (601740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827807)

lots of VoIP ..fair amount of gaming .. fair amount of downloading distros / patches / updates..etc lots of Streaming audio.. ummm some streaming video

2x people (who frequently work from home via VPN connection back to respective offices.)

I have been shocked a how little our usage actually is

still I'm not thrilled about a cap ... but OTOH wasn't TW talking about testing a lot low cap than this?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827859)

You're asking the wrong question. ComCast et al are doing this DARING the market to complain about it. No complaining, then they have justified their position on the matter.

Thats the problem with this generation of users. They belive its OK to borrow and steal your private data, share it with others, they believe this is normal. They belive the ISP can do what they want with your communications, sniff, block, etc.

The fact is this was ALL illegal not too many years ago. But they began to do it, and simply challenge anyone to fight them. Pay off a few politicians and you get a "DEBATE", "A DISCUSSION" to argue if the practice is "OK".

In the end, the network "owners" will charge you by the byte, just like AT&T use to do by charging you by the "TIME" on the phone. ComCast isn't stupid. They know that all the major TV networks and others will begin pushing video to you, including ComCast. They see that the internet video business model needs the match the current CABLE TV pricing structure. So they need to begin NOW to structure and limit the bandwidth before its too late. They need to change the mindset of moron users that its OK to charge you by the byte.

NTT in Japan 900 gigabyte upload per month (2, Interesting)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827861)

900 gigabyte per month upload [] should be enough for everybody. But in reality. Some weeks I go over 5-10Gigabyte per week (Netherlands) just doing VPN kind of stuff. Other weeks I don't even hit 100megabyte. I would want to be able to send my parents the footage from my harddisk camcorder without any encoding etc, but the upload still sucks.

My bandwidth with Comcast (1)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827873)

I share my bandwidth with 2 other guys, comcast gave us an "unoffical bandwidth cap" of 100 gb's up/down a month, and we've broken that every month so the last week or soof every month our internet is horribly slow.

I track my (not roommates) bandwidth, and I'm around 20gb a month with light video usage, but I can get close to 30+ if I watch a lot of hulu and youtube. I also download full games, and that can pretty quickly destroy my monthly cap, especially with games like Age of Conan which was over 20 gbs.

My bandwidth usage... (1)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827879)

...It's over 9000!!!! (gb)

Workaround to Comcast Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827881)

So Nov. 1st when I get my over-bandwidth warning from Comcast, we are switching to 'Business Service', here in CO we pay $66 per month (plus tax) for 8mbit for residential.

For business class we have 2 options, 6mbit for $65, or 16mbit for about $90 - will probably go with 16mbit .

Point being, there is a workaround to their bandwidth caps - I called Comcast Business Services the same day this story broke, and confirmed no caps, and they do same-day service on reported problems, unlike the 3-7 days it takes them to show up on residential accounts..

So either we save a buck a month and lose 2mbit, or up it by 15 and gain 8mbit..

I hope this suggestion helps anyone else feeling screwed by Comcast.

Bloody hell! (2, Interesting)

definate (876684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827913)

I am so sick of these whiney posts.... wah wah wah, I might be capped soon.

I've been capped since around 2002.

I live in Australia, I'm capped to 80gb, I download around that each month (which is a lot), and I have 4.5mbit down and 1mbit up.

I also pay $109 for this privilege (although that's on top of $15 per month line fees).

Don't worry about your usage, 250gb is heaps, you will normalize once you're capped, I guarantee it!

Also if you find that your cap is too small, upgrade, change your ISP, or come up with strategies to maximize your cap.

For instance my ISP ( has separate caps for traffic inside of Australian than it does for outside of Australia. Additionally it also has CommunityNet on its exchanges which basically turns that exchange into a private LAN. Another method is to find people near you and setup your own LAN or sharing network.

There are many ways to maximize your potential.

This is not the end of the world.

You've still got it way better than us and a lot of the rest of the world.

Emegency VoIP? (5, Interesting)

Yownas (998166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827919)

One thought... What if you have VoIP and need to go an emegency call after you've been blocked? Doesn't phone companies have some responsibility to keep up the service so that you can make such calls?

a couple of terabytes/month I guess. (1)

_GNU_ (81313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827931)

Now and then around 250G/day, it adds up ;)

100/100 full duplex connection with no restrictions, of course I do live in Sweden.

Another Australian (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827939)

Major ISP, 20Gb cap extra 40Gb off peak. I setup a nice scheduler and I usually hit the 60Gb on the last day of my billing cycle. I run the Tomato firmware so I could check up on what's going through my router, maybe this month... Stuck with plain old ADSL, no upgrades to the local exchanges anytime soon either.

Caps in Canada (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827949)

My ISP, Videotron, used to have a high-speed (10Mbps) no-limit package for about 75$. With that bandwidth it was possible to download around 80GB per day (especially with an external usenet service like or Giganews), but even as a rabid downloader I was cruising around 300GB/month max, not including Tv or VoIP.

Last year with no warning the ISP put a 100GB (total) limit for this same package. Apparently some people were abusing... I called to cancel my account, but they offered me a great deal: a lower-speed connection (8Mbps) with a small cap (20GB) for 45$, but with a ceiling of 30$ for extra monthly transfer, and they threw in a great deal on HPS and Tv (with bandwidth not metered). So basically I pay the same amount and I can top my bandwidth 24x7 for the same price I used to pay, just with 20% less speed.

Videotron is great, service is excellent, there is little or no outages, and when you combine services (internet + tv + HPS + mobile) you get huge rebates. I was a little pissed by the new caps, but overall there is no better deal. There are some fly-by-night ISP selling unlimited DSL for 30$ a month, but Bell Canada is messing with their bandwidth (and does not plan to stop doing it) in order to promote its own DSL. So Bell is the only major alternative, but it is expensive and the service is bad.

When you get the service with Videotron, the technician asks you exactly where in your home you want to put the outlets for tv, phones and computers, and he puts in new cables to fit your requirements. Then he checks if the signal is strong enough, and if it is not, he goes outdoors and drives a new cable from the house to the nearest hub. It is just great. All included in the installation fees of 50$ that are often waived as an incentive to subscribe.

On the other hand, when you get the service with Bell, nobody is coming, they ship you a shitty starter kit, and only if you request it after a while a technician will come, and if the "problem" is inside your house you get billed 100$+. Plus the installation fees. And the minibar price whenever you exceed your allowed bandwidth.

So in the end I don't mind a limit on my monthly transfer, as long as I get a good service and the fees are not ridiculous.

Cable sucks in the US, other choices are no better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24827957)

Comcast are wankers. As the rest of the world goes to faster (FTTH/ADSL2) solutions we are stock with crappy DOCSIS 2.0 or original DSL.

I had a 50/100MB link (FTTH) in Japan when I worked their for about $45 USD a month, No caps on the connection.

I pay MUCH more than that for a stupid 6MB cable connection.

Where is any source of consumer protection in the US? The FCC is incompetent and is basically an industry partner, not a regulator.

Aussie vs US download culture (1)

nghtchld (97329) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827965)

We have a US exchange student staying with us and the cultural difference in usage is very obvious. The first two weeks he was here he chewed through 80% of our cap before we had a chat and I educated him on our pathetic limits here in Oz.

Yes we Australian's are jealous of true unlimited caps and like our UK brethren enjoy a little whinge now and then. For $60/mo I get all of 30GB down (and 20 more between 1 and 7 am, woohoo). It is fast, averaging 20Mbps but that just means more time spent rationing between fast large downloads :(

What do we use? Well most of the peak download, ie 20-30GB/mo.

For the a little more you can get 150GB/mo but 110GB of that is between 3 and 9am, not very sociable hours.

15GB 512K ADSL (2, Interesting)

Niksko (1355055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24827969)

We have four people sharing our network, although only two of us really use the net for much more than surfing. Even with 15GB this is the first month since we got this plan where it looks like we wont be going over the limit (our month ends on the 18th). Would move to ADSL2+ which I can get with my ISP for the exact same price as I pay now and with 20GB of data, but because the company that provides the ADSL have really shitty prices compared to the company who my ISP gets its ADSL2+ off in order to switch to ADSL2+ I would have to downgrade to 56K and then upgrade to ADSL2+ which is apparently a nightmare and could leave me without internet for up to 3 weeks, which is something I cant live with. Understandably I'm annoyed, but there isn't much I can do until my ISP implements a simple changeover (which has been 'just around the corner' for years apparently). I'm in Australia BTW.

Go 80's Retro! (1)

Rouverius (1183105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828007)

Bring back the 1200 Baud!

typical usage (1)

swmike (139450) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828009)

In Sweden, typical monthly peak average is between 20 and 400 kilobit/s depending on type of access and type of users.

This is equivalent to around a few GB per month (remember, it was peak bw usage during the day in 5 minute interval) to 40-60 GB per month.

This means that in most markets, 250GB is hit by a few percent of the users, but on the other hand 250GB per month is 0.7 megabit/s average usage, and with 10/10 megabit connections, a user can theoretically hit 10 times that cap, thus I understand why Comcast wants to do this.

maybe you need a fatter pipe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24828027)

Can't you just install some larger-diametered pipe-thingies from your house's plumbing to your hard drive? Or maybe you just need to have a second main run from the easement?

Besides, I heard somewhere 640k ought to be enough for ANYBODY! Where's my Senate intern? She knows more about these things than I do...

Usage, prices and services in Europe (2, Informative)

Alarash (746254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828029)

I can't believe the ISPs in the US still give you bandwidth limits. This is what I have in France, for 35/month : - ADSL 1 (10 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream. Had my DSLAM been ADSL2+ compatible, I'd have 28 Mbps downstream for the same price) - VoIP with calls free of charge to 30 major countries (including US, Canada, North Africa and the European Union) - About 15 Multicast (IPTV) channels - Built in Unicast (VoD) service (3/24 hours for newer movies) - No bandwidth limitation - No traffic shaping I have about 50 Gb of monthly traffic (two persons in the household). Of course I am "allowed" to host webservers and such if I want to. I use one of the most expensive ISP (Orange), other ISPs are at 29.99/month. One of them even has a MIMO set top box. If I was one of the lucky guys with Fiber To The Home, I'd have a 50 Mbps *symetric* bandwidth, for about 50/month, and the same services. If I had cable, I'd get 100 Mbps downstream, 20 Mbps upstream, for 30/month (same services, as well).

Average usage? (1)

Inglix the Mad (576601) | more than 6 years ago | (#24828039)

About 90GB per month. I'm on a business line for a reason. Part of it is the SLA, since my work is often time-sensitive.
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