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Charter Cable Capping Usage Nationwide This Month

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the coming-soon-to-you-from-them dept.

The Internet 369

An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from DSL Reports, with possible bad news for Charter customers who live outside the test areas for the bandwidth caps the company's been playing with: "Yesterday we cited an anonymous insider at Charter who informed us that the company would very soon be implementing new caps. Today, Charter's Eric Ketzer confirmed the plans, and informed us that Charter's new, $140 60Mbps tier will not have any limitations. Speeds of 15Mbps or slower will have a 100GB monthly cap, while 15-25Mbps speeds will have a 250GB monthly cap. 'In order to continue providing the best possible experience for our Internet customers, later this month we will be updating our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to establish monthly residential bandwidth consumption thresholds,' Ketzer confirms. 'More than 99% of our customers will not be affected by our updated policy, as they consume far less bandwidth than the threshold allows,' he says." But if they're lucky, customers will be able to hit that cap quickly.

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Last sentence is stupid (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742167)

The top paragraph points out that the 60mb service has no cap.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (3, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742189)

I believe his point was that Allen may sell the company, and then all bets are off.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (1)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742307)

Hit the cap and pay double/month for the 60mb service without caps instead of the capped 25mb service. I agree the OP is inferring that Allen may just stay if that happens.

I have charter's 16/2 and was considering moving to fios for the 20mb+ packages offered. I also wanted to dump Charter copper phone, and go voip over fios to help defray total package costs (tv, phone, internet) with a better down/up speed.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742515)

>>>hit the cap and pay double/month for the 60mb service without caps instead of the capped 25mb service

Precisely. If you want the "goods" then you should pay the piper. That's entirely fair. It's how everything from water usage to electric usage to gasoline usage works. The more you use, the more you pay. ----- As for myself, I'd be happy with a 100 Meg cap, since my traffic report says I only downloaded 55 Meg last month. Nowhere near the limit.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (5, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742699)

Absolutely - - - - as long as they stop advertising all plans below 60mbs as "unlimited".

That's been the problem the previous times bandwidth has been brought up. It's not that caps are bad per se, it's that advertising "unlimited" then implementing a (often hidden) cap is fraud.

And of course, another complication is the fact that last-mile competition is stifled by private ownership of the wire, which together with an undue burden on residents for unlimited fiber pulls, creates a very high barrier to entry for new companies willing to offer truly unlimited service and take market share from the entrenched (literally, in this case) competitors.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (4, Interesting)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743011)

But you're paying for water usage and electric usage for a finite resource, not the means of transmission. All Charter or any other ISP is providing me is a means to access a resource. I'm paying my water company for the water I use, not the pipes that it comes in on. If I wanted, I could contract with Koolaid to put a reservoir on my land where my water comes in, and I would pay them to provide Koolaid instead of water. Would I keep paying the water company?

Bandwidth caps are stupid stupid stupid, as are the retarded attempts to defend them. This is a situation where the ISPs *don't* want to build new infrastructure and lower their margins, so they are attempting to socially engineer lower bandwidth consumption. If you're running out of space on your pipes, build bigger and more pipes. Don't try and coerce people to use *less* of your service.

WTF would Charter do if all of a sudden every single subscriber signed up for the 60Meg tier and maxed out their bandwidth 24/7. They'd be back in the same fucking boat they're in now.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (4, Informative)

hemp (36945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742401)

The top paragraph points out that the 60mb service has no cap.

For now.

Re:Last sentence is stupid (2, Funny)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742465)

It started as "RTFA".
Then it became "RTFS".
Now it's "The Editor Should RTFS".
Sheesh.

Ok (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742171)

Alright, I'm willing to live with bandwidth caps as long as there are some tiers that are uncapped. It's the forced cap on all tiers - especially the high bandwidth ones - that really get my head scratching.

Of course this is coming from a guy who has am uncapped 15/1 ADSL2+ line.

Re:Ok (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742547)

I'm fine with caps at all ranges - as long as they are advertised as such - and i don't mean in the small print - if they advertise a connection as unlimited it should be just that.. unlimited.. not "unlimited until 200gb"

well (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742179)

Thank god I don't use 'em.

$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (4, Insightful)

slifox (605302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742187)

Just like Comcast... I'm getting sick of this crap

If you get 250GB/month, then you're actually allowed a constant usage of 0.78mbps, regardless of whether you can burst up to 15mbps (or whatever).

Comcast internet service runs $50 to $70 on average, depending on the burst speed you get.
However, the limit is always 250GB/month. So doing the math, you're paying $65 to $90 per megabit/sec!

At any given datacenter, you can buy (100mbit-burstable) bandwidth at $5 per megabit/sec (price includes renting a server, rack space, power, and cooling).

Someone will of course respond "then don't use their service." Well, thats great, I'd love to. Unfortunately my government subsidy to Comcast gave Comcast a monopoly on the lines... and for some reason there are areas of the city that are "designated RCN" areas, while others are "designated Comcast" areas. What is this bullshit??

I'm angry at telecommunications companies.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742253)

Tell me anyone who has 5$/Mbit for 100meg.

Cogent is 8$ for 200meg commit on a gig handoff. And then you still have to pay for crossconnects and renting space.

50$ a meg is actually not bad with a 1meg commit.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742277)

Someone will of course respond "then don't use their service." Well, thats great, I'd love to. Unfortunately my government subsidy to Comcast gave Comcast a monopoly on the lines... and for some reason there are areas of the city that are "designated RCN" areas, while others are "designated Comcast" areas. What is this bullshit??

You didn't look hard enough for alternatives. T1 service is available almost everywhere, with no caps.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742417)

T1 service is available almost everywhere, with no caps.

Too bad it's A) unaffordable, B) not really fast enough for a lot of applications (streaming high quality video comes to mind)

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742435)

You didn't look hard enough for alternatives. T1 service is available almost everywhere, with no caps.

Who the fsck wants a shitty T1? Go and look at the pathetic bandwidth you get on a T1. Ohh, maybe we should all spend a fscking fortune on T3s? Hmm, even they're getting outdone by cable and fiber connections to the home these days.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (1)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742463)

1.5mbps is not terribly attractive.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742659)

I am going to consider this post a rant unless the author is willing to take initiative and find these subsidies and locate the section where these providers are liable if they fail to deliver.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742757)

actually, $65 per Mbs is not that much at all. try getting a T1 dropped to your living room, and then come back with those numbers. These caps are the only way that the cable companies can deliver at those prices. Of course, the whole capping problem opens the door to whether I would call this false advertising. "$64.95mo for 12Mbs down and 2Mbs up, as long as you don't actually USE IT."

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (1)

earthcreed (1292180) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742843)

I may be doing the math wrong, but I got about 100kbs. which means you are paying $600 per megabit/sec.

Re:$65 per mbps is a bit expensive, assholes (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743003)

If you get 250GB/month, then you're actually allowed a constant usage of 0.78mbps, regardless of whether you can burst up to 15mbps (or whatever).

For Internet "use" (meaning actual interactive use, streaming HD video, VoIP calls, web surfing, game playing, etc.) you are sitting there. Presuming you work, you spend 9 hours a day at an 8 hour a day job (lunch) plus an hour each way for the average person, and you have lost 11 hours a day. Add in 8 hours of sleeping. That's 19 hours a day. You blow 1 hour a day on bathroom time getting ready for work, fixing food, etc. We'll assume you are on the Internet while eating. So, for a weekday, you have about 4 hours a day of Internet use. Toss in 16 hours every weekend day (8 hours of sleep, and nothing but Internet all day long) and you are looking at being at a computer around 50 hours a week. That's more like 3 Mbps. So, what are you doing that is 3 Mbps for every second you are sitting at the computer? You can stream regular TV 100% of your usage, while downloading ISOs, checking mail, chatting, calling people over VoIP and such without ever hitting the cap, depending on compression, you could even be watching HD TV 100% of the time. Even if you are a porn downloader, with common compression, you could download 24/7 and still download faster than you can watch it without ever hitting your cap. I'm sure people out there will hit it. But I have no idea what they are doing that would qualify as "residential Internet use" that would have them smack a 250 GB/month limit.

New 60Mbps service (2, Insightful)

Panseh (1072370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742193)

But if they're lucky, customers will be able to hit that cap quickly.

This refers to the 60Mbps service being offered. However, the summary itself says it will have no cap.

Does Charter offer their customers anyway to check on their bandwidth usage? If not, do they intend to release those tools?

Wow, they are lucky. (4, Informative)

elij (1430533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742203)

Where I live in Canada, my only high speed option is the dreadlord Rogers Cable. MY monthly limit? 95GB, and that's with their most expensive (re: 54.95 monthly) service. Granted, I can go over but I'm charged a rather whopping 2.00 for every 1GB I'm over. I'd love to see other options but I'm SoL where I live.

Re:Wow, they are lucky. (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742281)

Eh, whatever. I've got the Extreme ROgers package, and don't remember the last time I even went above 50% of my mothly usage.

Re:Wow, they are lucky. (1)

omkhar (167195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742677)

So because you don't use anything near your usage cap, no one else will?

Re:Wow, they are lucky. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742751)

've got the Extreme ROgers package

Does that mean you get unlimited gay porn?

Seriously, "good enough for me" is a crappy argument. 100GB per month is not a massive amount. For fuck's sake, this is Slashdot. I can think of plenty of (legal) ways to chew up a lot of bandwidth.

Doing the math... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742209)

For the 15-25Mbps folks, that's ~28hrs of solid downloading at 20Mbps. Hopefully I did the math right.

Re:Doing the math... (3, Insightful)

Mastadex (576985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742321)

'More than 99% of our customers will not be affected by our updated policy, as they consume far less bandwidth than the threshold allows'

If the VAST majority of the users use less then the cap, whats the point of having a cap anyway? 1% of users going over won't effect anything.

Re:Doing the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742385)

.99 x 1Gb = .99 .01 x 100GB = 1 --half overall bandwidth!

It does matter. If you can cut that 1% to 50Gb you just saved 25% of your overall bandwidth.

I know this math stuff is difficult.

Re:Doing the math... (1)

Mastadex (576985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742387)

Moreover, the people that want to download a ton of stuff, will opt for the connection with the higher Cap. If the point of the cap is to curb overzealous downloading, why would you want to give the highest bandwidth allotment to the people that want to download the most. This is counter to the purpose of caps, IMO.

Re:Doing the math... (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742771)

1: They don't want to lose customers.
2: They want to charge customers as much as possible.
3: 60Mbps looks attractive, and so does uncapped downloading, making high downloaders want to pay more for what they already have, since Charter will still be highly unlikely to deliver 60Mbps.

Re:Doing the math... (2, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742785)

I think the point of the cap is to extract more money from the people who use more of the bandwidth.

If you're an optimist, Charter will use the extra money and the list of people willing to pay for more bandwidth as a guide for where to roll out additional fiber.

If you're a pessimist, Charter just wants to extract more money from the people least likely to switch to their only alternative - dial-up.

Re:Doing the math... (2)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742607)

The 1% of people use way more than 1% of the bandwidth.

Re:Doing the math... (OT: Google calculator) (5, Informative)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742631)

Google [google.com] can help a lot on this kind of calculation.

(250 gigabytes) / (25 Mbps) = 22.7555556 hours

Sometimes, because of how advanced google can be at providing answers for everything and anything, I wonder if with Google we are moving towards singularity. I for one welcome our all-seeing eye overlord.

P.S. It amazes me even more to know that the link to this very Slashdot article was returned by the above linked google query even before I submitted this comment. Scary (and circular) stuff!

Re:Doing the math... (OT: Google calculator) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742747)

Sometimes, because of how advanced google can be at providing answers for everything and anything, I wonder if with Google we are moving towards singularity. I for one welcome our all-seeing eye overlord.

Pfft. Talk to me when it can tackle partial differential equations.

Same old song and dance... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742223)

It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts. The same type of thing happened back when Netscrape came out (RIP Gopher you'll be missed, *sniff*); pictures could be embedded in web browsers. Remember the jpg vs gif debates? We used to have a partial t1, now we play with partial gig 10 years later.

I'm guessing history will repeat itself, and while some companies will have limits, others wont, and they will advertise that way. From the article, this shouldn't bother anything serious about their downloads.

(BTW, this is mfh [slashdot.org] posting as AC to avoid the unnecessary karmic repercussions of that most nasty, tasty kind of wicked, strange brew and such.)

Re:Same old song and dance... (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742437)

and while some companies will have limits, others wont, and they will advertise that way

Or they'll just all collude in the manner that the wireless companies (SMS pricing) have and not bother to actually compete with one another.

Wait a minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742239)

Ketzer confirms. 'More than 99% of our customers will not be affected by our updated policy, as they consume far less bandwidth than the threshold allows,' he says.

So less than 1% will be affected by the cap. Then why have the cap in the first place? Those "less than 1%" uses so much today that it affects 100% of their customers? And if those "less than 1%" already using more than 250GB a month as it is, means that it will still "affect" those "more than 99%" users. This is a load of BS.

Re:Wait a minute? (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742683)

Less than 1% of their users will be affected by the cap, but they realized they can probably upsell a good portion of those users to the non-capped service.

What happens after the cap? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742241)

I don't ever come close to that on my charter account, but I would hope that if I did hit the cap, instead of cutting me off, Charter would simply drop me down to 256kb/s. Painful, but still usable.

Re:What happens after the cap? (1)

bittmann (118697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742461)

I don't ever come close to that on my charter account, but I would hope that if I did hit the cap, instead of cutting me off, Charter would simply drop me down to 256kb/s. Painful, but still usable.

Ahhh...but they can't make money CHARGING you for that, can they?

The only way to sell speeds people don't need. (1, Redundant)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742243)

I use Road Runner and it is at 10mbs oddly enough that is fast enough for me and I am not at all interested in the 15mbs upgrade. 60mbs is way more then I ever need. So you put caps on the slow speeds to make people want to upgrade.

Re:The only way to sell speeds people don't need. (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742759)

I use Road Runner and it is at 10mbs oddly enough that is fast enough for me and I am not at all interested in the 15mbs upgrade. 60mbs is way more then I ever need. So you put caps on the slow speeds to make people want to upgrade.

I prefer not to have my ISP be synonymous with both the RIAA and MPAA, therefore I choose to go offline/pirate internet rather than subscribe to Time-Warner internet for my area for the time being.

What happens at the end of the month? (4, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742301)

I realize these are pretty high caps, but what happens at the end of the month when your heaviest users hit their caps? Isn't it going to be a stretch to say that you cap usage due to bandwidth constraints, yet because the heaviest users are not using it the available bandwidth skyrockets?

Another thought is, you buy/lease/subscribe to a line with 20mbps and that's what you expect out of your service. Is it reasonable to expect that they multiply each user by their speed and have enough bandwidth to supply all of their customers? We all seem to understand when phones get overloaded during emergencies, but if that internet doesn't come to us immediately it's suddenly bait and switch, that we can't use what we were sold?

My point is, I suppose, we are sold the connection to the ISP at a certain speed, but we are not guaranteed that it will function at that speed. If bandwidth is available, why the arbitrary cap? Shouldn't it be more like you lose priority after hitting a certain level?

Re:What happens at the end of the month? (4, Insightful)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742485)

If bandwidth is available, why the arbitrary cap? Shouldn't it be more like you lose priority after hitting a certain level?

Exactly. I have no problem with caps or even quality of service. If the ISPs actually worked with their customers then a lot of these problems they are having could go away. I wouldn't have any problems with my bit torrent packets having lower priority than someone's VOIP packets. One is far more sensitive to latency than the other. I also wouldn't mind them decreasing my uploading bandwidth during peak hours and giving me increased uploading bandwidth during non peak hours.

Think of it as the ultimate (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742961)

expression of redistribution of resources. Instead of being able to have what you can afford you can only have what everyone else can have.

Administered by corporate entity or government entity there is no difference in the outcome. Regardless of service availability everyone gets limited all to stop those who are "excessive" and help those under privileged.

Re:What happens at the end of the month? (4, Insightful)

jjhall (555562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743069)

I have no problem at all with QOS implemented by an ISP as long as it is fair, such as all VoIP packets getting the same priority, regardless of whether they have their own offering or not. As long as they don't prioritize their own services, I think they should still be allowed to maintain their common carrier status.

I do however have a problem with changing the upload speed. If they want to cap my download, go for it, but leave upload along. QOS in Smoothwall, Tomato, DD-WRT, and other routers is based on a constant upload bandwidth. This means in order to ensure you have proper-functioning QOS during a rate cap, you have to configure it for the capped speed at all times. You can no longer take advantage of your uncapped speed.

The best way to handle high-usage customers is to downgrade their priority once they hit a threshold. That way if my neighbors aren't using the bandwidth, I can. Why let the pipe sit there empty? When the neighbors need it, my priority goes down to make sure they see the speeds until they hit their own cap.

Since most peering arrangements are based on the percentage of traffic moving in one direction based on the other, they should be encouraging customers to be on the uploading side as it will help tip the scales in their direction and actually reduce their bandwidth expense.

Mr Ketzer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742349)

Ketzer means heretic, BTW.

Am I missing something obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742407)

Am I missing something, or is not the obvious solution here, "Get a business account."?

Re:Am I missing something obvious? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742653)

Am I missing something, or is not the obvious solution here, "Get a business account."?

Does Charter even offer business accounts in residential zones?

Just like slashdot (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742415)

If I can recall, every time I've seen a story about slashdot before today, there were 100 comments saying "They need to just have a firm cap." Now everyone is complaining about the firm cap.

The fact of the matter is, you asked for it, you got it, and arguing that 250gb a month isn't reasonable would be tough. Comcast is right - that should cover 99% of their customers, and of the 1% who "need" more bandwidth, 99% of them probably aren't using it for legitimate downloads. Anyone who needs more than that shouldn't expect to be paying what their neighbors are.

For what it's worth, I'm paying over $100 for 1mb SDSL. If I were to top it out 24 hours a day and never reboot I could possibly get to 250gb.

Re:Just like slashdot (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742563)

Why shouldn't they pay the same? They are paying for speed, not the amount of bandwidth they are using. Will the price drop for those with capped connections? Because after all, now that all the "higher need" users are paying more, those that doesn't use a lot should pay less, right?

Re:Just like slashdot (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742595)

You're wrong. Comcast is capping bandwidth beginning this month. They are paying for speed and bandwidth.

Re:Just like slashdot (5, Insightful)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743027)

Listen, bud. The agreement we signed didn't say anything about how much we could use per month. We're paying for a dumb pipe of X megabits per second, to use as much as we like. They want to change the terms AFTER the fact. My monitor indicates that in 2008, 9 months out of 12 we exceeded 100GB, and 3 of those months we exceeded 250GB.

They are just greedy money grabbers who took billions from the federal government for upgrades, and kept it instead of upgrading. Should it surprise you that they want to make another money grab now?

Re:Just like slashdot (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742793)

I'm not happy with my previous comment, so I'll try again. It still applies, though. If you are in the 1% of people using 100x as many resources as the next guy (and work with me here, think in generalities) why should you be paying the same price? You are either making their service worse or making it cost more for them.

See, Comcast doesn't work in a vacuum. They aren't arbitrarily setting costs and reaping in hordes of money. They price their offerings to be competetive. Even when they are the only provider in an area, since their prices are more or less identical between locations. If they need more bandwidth because one guy is using a ton more than anyone else, they have to upgrade, and to pay for that they have to raise their prices. You see it as being strong armed and dictating the market, but they are playing in the same market as you. Sure, they aren't going to find a way to save $1 a month per customer and pass the savings along to you, but if they have to upgrade something and it ends up costing $1 more per person, you can bet they will.

The fact that customers were paying for speed and not bandwidth last month is irrelevent. The few customers that mattered complained about how they wanted firm caps, and now they've got them. If you want a higher cap you pay more for it. What the hell did everyone expect? The new cap is probably as big as 90% of their customers' hard drives! At what cap would people stop complaining?

And.. If users say a cap is the way to resolve an issue where the highest users consume 50x as much bandwidth as the average user, how can you expect the cap to be anywhere near what the highest users were consuming?

Re:Just like slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742581)

dang, that's pricey

Re:Just like slashdot (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742869)

If I can recall, every time I've seen a story about slashdot before today, there were 100 comments saying "They need to just have a firm cap." Now everyone is complaining about the firm cap.

Every time I've commented in one of these stories I know my attitude has been that there's no need for caps, I have never had an ISP with any kind of bandwidth cap (except for my current 3G ISP that reserves the right to limit the speed of my connection if I somehow manage to transfer more than x GB in a month (I think it's 5 or 15 GB, I can't remember), this has yet to happen as I don't download large amounts of data with my cellphone).

In fact, I think most /. users oppose bandwidth caps but when choosing between "we'll cap you whenever we see fit" and "The cap is x GB per month" the latter is obviously the lesser evil.

/Mikael

Oh, goodie (1)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742467)

Looks like the perfect time to switch to DSL...

Better service (2, Interesting)

Fragasaurus (1432365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742471)

ISPs don't have enough competition. Will someone tell me why none of these ISP companies setup infrastructure throughout the entire U.S. and overthrow the competition. Why is there always only 1 or 2 major ISPs in certain areas? I'm sure one of them could offer way better service than what is given right now throughout the U.S. and still make a large profit.

Re:Better service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742673)

Government created monopolies is why there are only 1 or 2 major ISPs in an area.

Re:Better service (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742693)

Will someone tell me why none of these ISP companies setup infrastructure throughout the entire U.S. and overthrow the competition.

Because Verizon controls the FiOS last mile and the designated incumbent cable company controls the DOCSIS last mile. How do you expect one of these national ISPs to negotiate with non-subscribers to pull cable over their land to reach subscribers?

Re:Better service (2, Insightful)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743073)

could wimax be the solution?

Reminds me of the banking industry... (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742509)

Overselling representations of value, in the hope that they can make maximum use of the underutilized parts of the resources available. That transforms any regular customer use of those resources a "threat" to their viability as a business. So, at some point, like with a ponzi/pyramid scheme, demand drives the overselling on that resource to reach a point where the whole system starts to unravel. As this starts to happen, those running the system will turn to threats, excuses, and sudden changes in policy to try to make the process run that one last cycle, or try to sell the whole mess to someone else before the illusion is broken.

Here though, because the output is in terms of a constant stream of use, rather than monetary return, the provider can just kick out those who would complain about unfullfilled promises, freeing up resources to make more carefully worded promises they can't actually fulfill. All the blame goes away with the dropped customer, and benefit to those running the system.

That's the nature of selling everything as a 'service' when you have a relative monopoly - you can oversell as much as you want, then pick and choose who are the easiest customers to serve with limited resources.

Ryan Fenton

Looks like good news to me (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742521)

For those that want it, there is a price you get unlimited bandwidth use. What's wrong with that? As long as you are aware of what you are getting for the price you pay (as opposed to claims of unlimited that are not) I have no beef with the structure they are setting up.

Re:Looks like good news to me (2, Insightful)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742903)

might this qualify as price gauging? They have been offering the services for a long time now without caps. So they cant claim they can't maintain it. I wouldn't have a problem with it if they instead offered an alternative package wit caps, with a lowered price, to entice people to switch instead of just flipping the switch on current subscribers. If they took their cue from wireless carriers, then I think they will charge users on usage beyond the cap.

I find it funny (3, Insightful)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742529)

I find it funny that ISPs are switching to tiered plans while cell phone companies are switching to all you can eat plans. While I'm not a fan of tiered plans, I do prefer that they have clearly defined limits and consequences and the ability to check current usage. Currently, Charter does not, but then again this is a leak.

Just don't make it Comcastic.

Voice vs. data (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742735)

I find it funny that ISPs are switching to tiered plans while cell phone companies are switching to all you can eat plans.

Are the all-you-can-eat cell phone plans for voice or for data? Voice doesn't need more than 13 kbps using the 5:1 compression that GSM providers use, while consumer expectations of data throughput climb every year.

Re:I find it funny (3, Interesting)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742863)

Something tells me that if I tether my cell phone to my laptop and let it run continuously for a month, that a rep from my cell phone company will call to tell me that the "Unlimited Data Plan" is not really Unlimited when put to the test. I'm sure the same goes if I were to place a call and leave it up like some kind of intercom.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a feeling that cell phone technology is somewhat self limiting in the "unlimited" space. People just aren't in too many situations where it will happen.

Of course, that data scenario probably does happen on occasion with road warriors.

Price (2, Interesting)

hendridm (302246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742565)

I'm fine with it as long as they reduce the capped service fee to something close to the price of dialup.

measuring usage? (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742573)

I have Charter (no choice, its the only broadband, including DSL, available to me). Does anyone know of a way I can monitor my usage, to make sure I don't go over the cap? You KNOW Charter isn't going to give me the tools to do that myself...

Can Tomato or any other linksys alternatives do this?

100GB, jesus that sucks.

Re:measuring usage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742621)

well, just keep your torrenting of recorded movies and tv shows -- SORRY, LINUX DISTROS, right -- to a minimum and you should be fine.

Re:measuring usage? (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742701)

every Netflix on-demand video is about 4-6GB.

Re:measuring usage? (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743087)

Not true. We watch several Netflix On Demand per day between my wife, kids and I. My daily average is 1.34GB as measured by Net-traffic. My highest ever was yesterday because both kids and wife were home sick and watched Netflix the entire day non-stop. Total for the 24hr period was 7713.176. Net-traffic is running on my IPCop box through which 100% of Internet bound traffic passes.

Re:measuring usage? (1)

eredin (1255034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742817)

Tomato can do it. It will give you several nice charts and graphs [wikipedia.org] , including a list of GB/day and realtime bandwidth usage. I've been using it for about a month. I'm hooked.

Re:measuring usage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742891)

It looks like Tomato does what you want [polarcloud.com] .

Re:measuring usage? (1)

Drizzt Do'Urden (226671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742909)

vnstat [humdi.net] will do that for you ;)

plan (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742629)

Here's my ideal business plan:

1. You pay for every byte that passes THROUGH your pipe, no matter which way it goes.

Metering, at a simple rate, to discourage customers from using bandwidth wastefully

2. Your monthly charge depends on how relatively fat your tube is.

This for guarantees in the face of congestion. If people are starving for a limited bandwidth pie, you get a bigger share of it if you pay more. Possibly implemented as a CFS style algorithm.

Important points:

You pay for your usage
You don't get throttled unless bandwidth becomes scarce
In event of contention, you can pay to get a bigger share of it.

I think this is a good time to start a new isp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742645)

and put a cap only on bandwidth? and only when the uplink is congested?

One reason. (3, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742665)

Netflix (and every other source that provides competition to Charter or Comcast or whomever). If not for Netflix and Hulu, my usage would be minimal. I do not have cable or satellite TV (or OTA for that matter). I pay charter for Internet only service, and I pay a premium because I only want Internet. Now I am going to pay another premium to actually make full use of that Internet. Perhaps Charter will start capping ports as well. "Ports 1 - 80 are free. With our Super Ports Family Pack, you get 81 - 443 for an additional $50 per month."

Re:One reason. (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742911)

They already block 80 and probably a few others.

At least in my area.

Re:One reason. (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743031)

Did they actually stop blocking port 80? I know they did after they converted from @Home, it's one of the things that's been keeping me from switching (other than poor service in my area, and now this, of course)

Botnet Zombies (4, Interesting)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742685)

I wonder what effect those millions of bot-infected Windows XP clients are going to have on this situation. The Charter customers who have these infected PCs already don't know what's going on with their computer let alone how much bandwidth they use. They are going to be very angry when the service gets disconnected for bandwidth they haven't personally consumed or when their $50 broadband bill jumps to $150.

Re:Botnet Zombies (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742937)

No, they'll just pay more and continue to be ignorant.

Free Market 101.1a (0, Flamebait)

ChayesFSS (896146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742711)

If you don't like the service you get from one business what do you do?

Re:Free Market 101.1a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742779)

go take a dump? might get a stroke of genius?

Re:Free Market 101.1a (1)

wolf12886 (1206182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742933)

Switch to one of the telecoms many competi... oh wait

Re:Free Market 101.1a (1)

KeepAustinUgly (1453617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743049)

Use your neighbor's unsecured wireless connection for usenet!

Re:Free Market 101.1a (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743065)

Cry about it because they have a monopoly over cable internet service in your area and you can't get DSL?

Re:Free Market 101.1a (1)

koutbo6 (1134545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743131)

I think 101.1a protocol is proprietary. You need to pay a license fee to use it.

BREAKING NEWS! (3, Funny)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742749)

This just in, Charter Cable customers are capping monthly cash payments made to Charter Cable.

Re:BREAKING NEWS! (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743081)

By cap I'm sure you mean a bottom cap, especially knowing Charter. $50/mo for internet is ridiculous as is.

Secondary Markets (0)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742815)

Anytime there is an artificial scarcity, a market is created. This idea of bandwidth caps just creates a premium, secondary market.

Someone just needs a way to allocate downloads for the top 1% of users amongst the lesser users and have them transfer a CD/Flash/HDD. Now, normally we'd have a hassle of a physical device needing to be shipped, but these users could be houses next door or down the street. In fact the downloaders could be chosen by shortest geographical distance. Users would pay $5/month to the downloaders effectively upping the caps for a smaller-than-upgraded service fee. If the downloaders had several subscribers he might get his internet access paid for.

Just an idea.

WHY?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26742875)

This is so frustrating. My family left Roadrunner when they threatened to do this years ago. We were downloading 80-100GBs per month and they actually had the audacity to tell us that 40GB per month was reasonable. 1$ for every extra gig adds up and I certainly couldn't afford it.

Why don't we do something to stop this, rather than debating how it could work? Obama needs to step up on his word and shut this down before it spreads.

If anyone remembers, Dial-up worked kinda like this where you paid for the time you're online. It took years to get to unlimited services. Why ruin it now?!

Is the usage available for viewing (3, Insightful)

bossy (257050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742887)

With all these ISPs capping b/w doesn't it make sense for them to have a usage meter for their users when the log-in to their account or something like that?
Just like the cell phone providers do?

If you want me to cap a a quantitative limit, you should let me know how do I find out where I stand ..

Robber barons (2, Interesting)

Zolodoco (1170019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742899)

Implementing caps makes me assume that their infrastructure doesn't support growth in service to new customers. Therefore the rates on all their capped plans should go down in direct proportion to the reduction in service, or they should change the bandwidth on all plans to account for the growth in service without added infrastructure. If they're not doing either of those measure, then they're simply trying to milk more revenue out of their customers with no increase to their actual costs.

Re:Robber barons (1)

Zolodoco (1170019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743041)

...they should change the bandwidth on all plans and decrease rates...

Fuck Charter (0, Troll)

kmhebert (586931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26742979)

Forget this! On top of the $50 a month they jacked my bill? See ya later jerks.

Netflix usage? (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743033)

Is there a reliable way to track your own bandwidth usage? Similar to tracking minute usage on cell phones? My concern is that I just got Netflix and have been going gang busters watching all sorts of stuff on Watch It Now. I'd want to know if my 3+hours of streaming a night will catch up with me.

What happens when you hit the cap? (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743037)

Are you cut off for the rest of the month or is there an option to pay for more usage? I remember an earlier slashdot article talking about a tiered service being tested for AT&T but it had the provision to pay for additional capacity above and beyond the cap.

I figure this is just the start, the other big players will follow suit soon.

Interesting posibilities... (4, Interesting)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26743057)

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. (as it happens to me now)

If you think about it, its kind of messed up. For example, the caps are based on a fictional date, that of your billing. Which in these instances, is monthly. While this may make sense for, "billing" it may not make sense, and have ramifications beyond for caps.

So for example I closely self monitor my cap. Which means at the beginning of the month I download like a whore. However nearing the end of the month, I might download a lot less, being aware that I am running out of cap. At the end of the month I might not download at all, because I have no cap space left at all.

What does this mean? Huge bandwidth demand all front loaded on any given month. Multiply that by many many users, and well you get the idea. Also odds are if you are not using your cap you are likely not using it much the whole month, pretty much constant with perhaps a random spike.

Now how about this as a business model. If ISP's wish to place caps, to me that says you are entitled to ALL of that bandwidth, as this is specifically what they are selling you. A given rate of speed for a given quantity. So what if you put in place a behind scenes an unobtrusive way to sell your unused bandwidth? Much like the stock market the price would go up and down with demand. Also you would make your cut of money by simply taking a small percentage off each sale, which when multiplied many many times over would equal Profit! I don't know how you would do it, or if it is technically feasible, or even legal, else I would do it right now and make my first million that way. Anyway an interesting idea eh?

It would also be the demise of "caps" as we know it. People might have a "soft" cap imposed by their ISP, however if they run out would be able to "buy" cap space from someone else if they so desire. Thus power users get what they pay for, and internet gets cheaper for those moderate or light users!

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