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Sony Put Video Service on Hold Due to Comcast Data Caps

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the last-mile-conflict-of-interest dept.

The Internet 348

suraj.sun writes with more fallout from Comcast's bandwidth caps that give preference to their own video services. From the article: "An executive from Sony said Monday that concerns about Comcast's discriminatory data cap are giving the firm second thoughts about launching an Internet video service, that would compete with cable and satellite TV services. In March,Comcast announced that video streamed to the Xbox from Comcast's own video service would be exempted from the cable giant's 250 GB monthly bandwidth cap. 'These guys have the pipe and the bandwidth,' he said. 'If they start capping things, it gets difficult.' Sony isn't the first Comcast rival to complain about the bandwidth cap. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has also blasted Comcast's discriminatory bandwidth cap as a violation of network neutrality. Comcast controls more than 20 percent of the residential broadband market, which means that Comcast effectively controls access to one-fifth of any American Internet video service's potential customers."

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This is exactly why... (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868819)

Mergers like Comcast/NBC should be illegal. Once content providers are also content distributers, they can pull shenanigans like these.

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868971)

It was illegal until...if I recall correctly, the FCC commissioner approved it. Then, only a few months later, the commissioner resigned to take a high-paying top level exec job at Comcast. Its obvious what happened but unfortunately, this form of bribery is also legal so long as it can't be proven. Back on topic...these discriminatory data caps obviously do not promote competition in business...One could hardly call this capitalism.

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Informative)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869101)

Meredith Attwell Baker. Four months after approving the deal, she was hired to serve as senior vice president for government affairs for the Comcast-controlled NBC Universal. In other words, after approving the deal, she left the FCC to become one of Comcast's top lobbyists. I say get rid of all corporate lobbyists in Washington. They don't belong there.

Re:This is exactly why... (3, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869513)

Why in cases like this would vigilante justice be so wrong.
When the government is compliant in the raping of the peoples rights and refuses to put these people away.

I do not want free shit from my government. I just want them to protect the playing field and make sure that the rules apply evenly.
The government does not need to make us all the same. Just give us all the same chance.

Re:This is exactly why... (1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869697)

I'd have no problem with that (including the Congressman heading the MPAA). But I don't think we've reached that point yet. This order:
Soap box
Jury box
Ballot box
Ammo box (last resort)

Re:This is exactly why... (1, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869763)

Speech is only protected if you use it against Christians, Whites, Males or Conservatives. All other speech is Racist.
Real issues never see a jury.
Voting is done by the masses and the dead. Winner is the person with the most TV ads.
Ammo will soon be illegal. (Guess why)

Re:This is exactly why... (0)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869699)

I say get rid of all corporate lobbyists in Washington. They don't belong there.

You do that and then "lobbyists" will just become "concerned citizens". You wouldn't want to make laws that would make it hard for a concerned citizen to discuss issues with representatives would you?

It is a very tricky issue to fix.

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869139)

this form of bribery is also legal so long as it can't be proven

That is a feature, not a bug.

Re:This is exactly why... (3, Informative)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869175)

If it wasn't for lobbyists, the 99% would be about the 80%.

Re:This is exactly why... (1, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869291)

Yea down with lobbyists lets start with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Re:This is exactly why... (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869449)

Yes get rid of the EFF and all other corporate lobbyists. The people can call or email or visit their Congressman/woman/critter directly. (Or in the case of the local Legislature, just walk down the street and knock on the delegate/senator's door.)

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869301)

>>>It was illegal until...if I recall correctly, the FCC commissioner approved it. Then, only a few months later, the commissioner resigned to take a high-paying top level exec job at Comcast.

Wow.
Sony just needs to sue Comcast.
The Sherman Antitrust law is still in effect, forbids companies from using their monopoly or near-monopoly for unfair competitive advantage, and the FCC can't overrule that law.

Re:This is exactly why... (4, Funny)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869777)

But if they did that i wouldn't know who to root for.
On one hand, Sony is a terrible company that needs to be made obsolete.
On the other hand, Comcast is one of the worst cable companies.

Best scenario is they both go under.

Re:This is exactly why... (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869331)

Its obvious what happened but unfortunately, this form of bribery is also legal so long as it can't be proven.

How much more proven do you need it to get?

Re:This is exactly why... (4, Insightful)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869799)

Sadly, in this case, a document (electronic or dead tree) or recording from Comcast offering the job on the condition that the merger is approved. Of course, everybody knows this so they make sure no such document or recording ever comes into existence.

Personally, I'm for getting rid of all lobbyists period but, there should, at least, be a conflict of interest gap, say 10 years, between being a government official or elected representative and being able to work for the organizations you had dealings with while you held that position.

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Insightful)

Peristaltic (650487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869015)

Mergers like Comcast/NBC should be illegal.

When you start paying Congress as much cash as Comcast, NBC and General Electric pay, then you can make the rules.

Re:This is exactly why... (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869141)

This is a difficult issue, not as straight forward as you might think.

There was no problem when the distributors who owned licenses to broadcast over the airwaves were the ones who also provided the content.

There was no problem when the distributors who owned cable networks were the ones who also provided the content.

But all of a sudden because the internet is involved, its now an issue - but only in that very select portion of the distributor/provider area, its still not an issue in the above scenarios.

What you mean to complain about is when content providers and distributors now have a general access product - an ISP element. Thats the problem here.

What I want to know is whether Comcast have actually denied Sony or anyone else the right to put a service end point within the Comcast network, and run a private line back to their main servers - in the same manner as the Comcast Xbox service - or have refused to exempt such a setup in the same manner. Anyone?

Re:This is exactly why... (4, Informative)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869311)

The real problem is that consumers have little to no choice of internet providers due to government regulations. In my area, I basically have the choice between Comcast and no internet. That isn't really a choice so they have a monopoly. The government is supposed to break up and prevent monopolies, not enforce and encourage them. If there were more providers they would be heavily incentivized to have no cap so that they could snatch up mine, and countless others, business from Comcast. I would gladly switch to such a provider and be willing to pay more for the service. We have no such alternative, that is the problem.

Re:This is exactly why... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869645)

I just moved about 15 miles down the road from where I used to live. Where I lived before it was either Suddenlink or 1mbps down DSL. Suddenlink had a 250 GB data cap on my connection. When I moved, all of a sudden I have the choice between them and a local cable company (outside the city limits, right where the customers cross over). I now have no cap on my service.

Re:This is exactly why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869675)

How do you know you don't have more choices due to government regulations and not simply because it's not very profitable to company XYZ? Last mile internet is ridicoulously expensive to provide.

Re:This is exactly why... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869507)

It's not really the same thing. When broadcast radio and TV "distributors" push their own content and suppress that of others, you have the choice to tune to a different channel. When an Internet operator pushes their own content at the cost of others, you're almost certainly screwed because it's very unlikely that you have a choice to not use Comcast. There is a valid analogy with Cable TV - but that's regulated, they have no choice but to carry all of the local TV stations.

It's also more subtle. They aren't banning SONY from transmitting data over their network - they're just imposing bandwidth caps.

This is clearly a bad thing - we *seriously* need net neutrality legislation to avoid this kind of problem.

Re:This is exactly why... (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869635)

No, you don't need network neutrality, you need competition - the whole network neutrality issue is only an issue because there doesn't seem to be healthy competition within the US market.

In the UK market, we have BT as the main incumbent, Virgin Media as a secondary incumbent and a heavily regulated resale market.

Anyone here can buy capacity from BT, anything from a single provisioned ADSL line to a full unbundled service (you get the last mile, and then you can do whatever you wish with it) - and the costs of all of that are heavily regulated, to the point where BT Wholesale cannot charge BT Retail less than they charge Joe Blogs Internet Company.

However, Virgin Media as the lesser incumbent is under no such limitations - you cannot rent capacity on the Virgin Media network at all, other than as an end customer. They have a nice fiber and cable network, but you as an independent ISP cannot get access to that - so its very much like the US market.

So we end up with the situation where we have a huge competitive ADSL based market, but a minute cable market. Network neutrality is protected by the fact that literally anyone can go and get capacity from BT, and have it available pretty much anywhere in the UK - BT cannot impose limitations on your usage as a network provider, so they cannot force you to not be network neutral.

it could be considered neutral (4, Interesting)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869717)

As long as they apply the same rules to everyone, it could be considered neutral to not count "internal" traffic towards the cap. My own ISP has said that their upstream internet costs are significant and growing so this isn't so far-fetched.

The logical solution is for Sony to install a local caching server inside the Comcast network--if Comcast were to prevent that, then it would violate net neutrality.

Re:This is exactly why... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869781)

>>>There was no problem when the distributors who owned licenses to broadcast over the airwaves were the ones who also provided the content.

They didn't.
Local stations hold the licenses, not the content creators. And O&O stations are limited to only 10 max for NBC, ABC, etc. It was strictly regulated to separate the ~6000 station owners from the central content creators.

>>>There was no problem when the distributors who owned cable networks were the ones who also provided the content.

Again not the case. Comcast, Time-warner, Cox, and so on didn't own the cable channels (except C-SPAN). Until Comcast took over NBC's ~10 cable channels and other properties.

I remember when that happened, my local station ran a half-hour-long text blurb at 7pm explaining the new ownership deal, how it change existing relationships..... basically a 30 minute long contract broadcast.

A little History (2)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869233)

I was just before the start date of MSNBC. About 10 to 15 years ago. When Bill Gates wanted to produce a set top box. It was deemed a conflict of interest. Bill Got mad, I assume, and bought 40% of both Comcast and NBC. Thus the birth of MSNBC and a big cable player to carry it. Today MS has a set top box its called the X-box.

So you can see its not hard to get the votes for things like Merger when one party holds big piles of shares. You can almost expect random votes to push you over 50%.

It only follows a take over of all of the Internet By the interests of a few, and another way of extracting cash from the rest of us.

Re:This is exactly why... (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869257)

The obvious American solution: Comcast buys Sony in a leveraged buyout. Execs get big bonuses. Provides metered services to Sony content and products at a rate slightly less ruinous than what they charge for competitors. Obligatory layoffs at Comcast and Sony. Comcast products are distributed with integral Sony rootkits and DRM.

Wait a couple of years. Comcast decides Sony is dead weight. Lays off more people, execs get big performance bonuses. Sells off Sony. Execs get big retention bonuses. Sony lays off more people. Execs collect big golden parachute bonuses. Execs Move on to new victimsxxxxx/pastures and collect big signing bonuses. Economy tanks due to unemployment. Sony can't sell to unemployed people. Sony declares bankruptcy, seeks government assistance... etc. etc. etc.

Re:This is exactly why... (0)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869469)

i dont think GE would be willing to sell comcast to sony it would not be in their best interest to sell to a competitor

Mergers should be illegal? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869499)

Mergers should be illegal?

Your post implies that shenanigans should be illegal. Where do you think you going with this?

The whole idea of a business competition is to abuse/exploit/break/violate existing rules in a more industrious (and that's the etymology of the word "industry" for you right there in this adjective) way than your competitor.

Corporations may be became people now, but that does not mean that Supreme Court decree also enriched them with morals.

Verizon is so much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868835)

I just wish there was a third viable option in the US (or at least where I live). But I guess two will do.

Re:Verizon is so much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868939)

The third option is no cable at all.

OTA channels, Netflix, Hulu, WMC's built in streaming, Amazon Prime....Demonoid....

I don't miss cable television a bit. Of those I know who've dropped cable the biggest complaint is missing live sports. I tell them to become a cycling fan and stream top notch coverage of all the races (not just TdF) for $0. Ok, I do miss Phil Ligget a bit.

Re:Verizon is so much better (2)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868979)

So, if you have no cable at all how do you propose getting Netflix, Hulu (which is going to require you have cable!), etc?

Re:Verizon is so much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869289)

Wifi? I get it free because I allow the local provider to maintain transmission equipment on my barn's antenna, but I think 5Mbps down is $50/month and 3 is $40. Plenty enough for HDTV.

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869379)

So, if you have no cable at all how do you propose getting Netflix, Hulu (which is going to require you have cable!), etc?

Cable isn't the only source of internet connections. I don't have cable, yet I can still access the internet. Cable internet actively competes with DSL and FiOS.

Re:Verizon is so much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869613)

So, if you have no cable at all how do you propose getting Netflix, Hulu (which is going to require you have cable!), etc?

Cable isn't the only source of internet connections. I don't have cable, yet I can still access the internet. Cable internet actively competes with DSL and FiOS.

FIOS not available in my area. DSL is not offered by Verizon in my neighborhood. It's Time Warner's RoadRunner or dialup.

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869393)

Ditch it all.

Honestly -- there's tons of stuff to fill up a day with. Watching stories on the teevee just isn't that entertaining ... or fulfilling, for that matter.

--Jeremy

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869131)

I was previously living that experiment. I had no cable TV, freeloaded off of open wifi (the neighborhood was replete), and got all my TV shows via downloads. The wife supplemented the things I downloaded with some Hulu, and we had TONS of shows and movies via Netflix to round things out. For certain big things, like the Lost finale (what a disappointment), I would get the antenna set up just so, and watch via OTA HD. It was nice.

Now we've moved out to a more rural setting. There are ZERO OTA channels available. I wanted to set up a nice tall antenna mast to try and catch a few, but the landlord was unenthused. Netflix dumped the great majority of their movie library by losing Starz, and jacked their rates up to unacceptable levels. Hulu is locking out folks who can't fax a current cable bill, and most of the other options are trying to dry up as well. I'm content to grab my shows via usenet, but the wife wants to be able to 'graze' on her precious TV channels. We might have cable TV again soon. :( Alternately, I might be single.

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869369)

Netflix hasn't jacked up their rates. Their rate for streaming only has been the same as I have always paid. If you are talking about splitting the DVD off of streaming, well, I used to do the DVDs, but Netflix screwed up and now I am streaming only. I find I can get whatever DVD I want from other sources online. Hulu locking out people without cable is no big surprise since they are owned by NBC/Comcast. I knew that was coming someday as soon as the merger was approved - by the person who is now a lobbyist for Comcast! I would also love to cut the cable completely - unfortunately there are some sports I like to watch and good luck with any alternative to watching sports live other than going to a buddy's house/sports bar. I have tried a few supposed internet alternatives to watching live sporting events, but so far every one has fallen miserably short.

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869497)

I think we're arguing semantics now. I was signed up for three DVDs, one with Bluray (for my movies), plus streaming. I was paying around 25$ per month. After the 'split off', they were going to force me to have all three discs upgraded to Bluray default, or none at all. To offset that 'win', my monthly rate was going to almost DOUBLE. Even if I dropped Blurays entirely, I'd still be looking at more than 1.5X the cost. Only if I dropped physical discs entirely would my price drop. Netflix's catalog is cut to around 1/4 if you go streaming only. They've got an even worse ratio now after losing Starz (which was streaming-only, FWIW). I just don't see any appeal to it anymore. If I just want TV shows, piracy gives me better quality and minimal maintenance. I don't manually download anything, my shows just magically show up the day after they air (mere hours after, in most cases). If I want movies, Netflix still loses. Piracy gives me vastly better quality, near-infinite selection, and still a better monthly cost, to boot. I'm just not seeing the appeal in Netflix, sorry.

Re:Verizon is so much better (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869671)

I was only doing 1 DVD and streaming and I think i was paying $10 a month. After Netflix decided to be stupid, I went to streaming only - I wasn't about to be strong armed into paying double - and now I pay $9 a month. So the net result is Netflix is getting $1 less from me now. I don't watch very much new TV - maybe 2 or 3 shows, so I find the the older tv series on netflix is great. I can watch a ton of last seasons TV shows and it doesn't bother me I don't get to see them live. I do the opposite that you do - use Netflix for old movies and TV shows, and download the new stuff that I would have been getting on DVD. I find that $8 to legally be able to watch a bunch of content is justifiable. But i also still have cable at the moment but thinking about ditching it in the near future. Sports are the only thing really holding me back from taking the plunge. Everything else is available in some form elsewhere.

/facedesk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868841)

Comcastic!

Its a pejorative.

Re:/facedesk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868853)

This should seriously be a new section to this website for all the spectacular fails.

no problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868843)

I'm nowhere near my monthly data c

dirty dealers (4, Interesting)

Phusion (58405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868859)

Comcast has been up to no good for years. We all remember the torrent throttling and god knows what else. They need to have the thumb screws put to them so they stop trying to squeeze every penny out of every MB by throttling traffic, applying data caps and the like. I hate Comcast's business practices but they're usually pretty damn fast.... there needs to be another choice. 20% is too large for a dickweed company that pulls this bull-shlaka.

This is confusing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868873)

"These guys have the pipe and the bandwidth"

Yeah, but you own a bulk of the content they provide. Don't allow Comcast the rights to broadcast Sony properties, including working with PS Network. I'm sure Comcast would concede.

Re:This is confusing (4, Insightful)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869049)

Don't allow Comcast the rights to broadcast Sony properties, including working with PS Network. I'm sure Comcast would concede.

Ahh and there's the beauty of it. Who would you believe to be violating some form of neutrality, if you were watching a hulu/youtube/redtube;) clip and it was blocked to you by the content owner because they didn't like your choice of ISP?

The thing is Comcast simply said "Oh normal data is so expensive, woe is us! But we're able to provide XFINITY content through a magical data pipe that doesn't need to worry about this!" With that, it becomes Sony's (and Netflix's!) fault for obviously creating (or having, in Netflix's case) a product that uses up so much magical interpipe juice.

Although what you say is very true, aside from signing distribution deals with Xfinity, the only way for the content providers to not get reamed (in the ATT pays Apple per iPhone sold sense), is to play some form of hardball with the ISPs. But my example of what the public perception would look like is exactly why these companies are taking the more passive and whiny route for now.

Re:This is confusing (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869171)

in the ATT pays Apple per iPhone sold sense

How evil! Apple actually makes AT&T pay for their product? The DoJ better step in to right this heinous wrong! This isn't fair to alll those other phone manufacturers lose out on tons of revenue since they obviously give their phones away to AT&T for free.

Re:This is confusing (1)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869361)

._. Not sure if trolling or fanboy...

Re:This is confusing (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869519)

I'm neither. Your statement was ridiculously stupid. Of course AT&T pays Apple for the iPhones it sells. Why wouldn't they?

strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868895)

How odd it is to see Sony on the side of good in this one particular battle.

Caps in Belgium (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868907)

250 GB is a lot compared to the caps enforced here in Belgium.
50 GB or even less is not an exception here and this is from companies asking more than €30/month.

Re:Caps in Belgium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868965)

250GB caps still suck, even if they're better than Belgium's.

Re:Caps in Belgium (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868999)

Who cares? We're not talking about Belgium

How about we just drop the cap entirely? (4, Insightful)

MukiMuki (692124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868935)

"Aragon reportedly said Sony was 'waiting on clarity' ...about whether regulators would allow Comcast to exempt its own video services from the broadband cap."

This is probably how discussion on Net Neutrality starts. Hopefully this leads to some sort of law forcing ISPs to provide real evidence to justify implementing any sort of bandwidth cap.

As it stands, it's all bullshit. The difference between a light and a heavy user, as far as the ISP is concerned, is that the heavy user continues downloading/browsing/streaming heavily on off-peak hours (read: overnight). About the only major cost for the ISP, assuming they even HAVE the capability to lower their system capacity at night, would be the extra power usage for their network hardware, and even THAT becomes substantially cheaper at night.

As this is Slashdot:

It's like charging cars by the number of hours spent on the road because of traffic congestion, and as a result, taxing cars at a heavier rate for driving at 3 in the morning, when there's no congestion to contribute to.

Re:How about we just drop the cap entirely? (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869033)

Why would Comcast want to agree to net neutrality now? They've just shown the value of being able to dictate the terms of use to people intending to serve data over the internet. They'll probably strike a deal with Sony where Sony pays them several million a year and in exchange doesn't get hit by Comcast's data caps. It's a huge new untapped revenue stream for an ISP. The fact that they can decide not to play ball with companies that might compete with its own cable service is just icing on the cake. You can bet that Comcast's senators are getting well greased right now and are ready to go to bat to prevent anything like Net Neutrality from ever really being implemented.

I can see the ads already. The government is trying to tell the internet how to operate! Call your senator today and tell him you don't want big government interfering in the Internet!

Re:How about we just drop the cap entirely? (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869559)

You can bet that Comcast's senators are getting well greased right now

Holy shit can we see that on Comcasts PPV?

But... but... but.... what about piracy? (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868943)

I remember when Comcast put on the extremely low 250GB caps per month, a lot of people around here said that anybody using more than 250GB a month was probably a pirate.

Does anybody still believe that?

What 250GB caps really means is that your ISP won't invest in infrastructure, because its expensive.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869075)

I remember when Comcast put on the extremely low 250GB caps per month, a lot of people around here said that anybody using more than 250GB a month was probably a pirate.

Does anybody still believe that?

What 250GB caps really means is that your ISP won't invest in infrastructure, because its expensive.

It may have been slightly more true in some cases back then, but let's see:
1) GOG.com
2) Steam
3) Origin
4) XBLA/PSN demos, games and videos
5) Netflix instant watch
6) An occasional Linux ISO
7) Everything else

I've probably forgotten a few things, but I see it as pretty easy to hit 250GB on some months, even if not every month (seriously, if you bought Dragon Age complete pack from Amazon.com when it was on sale, that is 40 GB or more worth of downloading for those two games alone!).

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (2)

japhering (564929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869201)

I remember when Comcast put on the extremely low 250GB caps per month, a lot of people around here said that anybody using more than 250GB a month was probably a pirate.

Does anybody still believe that?

What 250GB caps really means is that your ISP won't invest in infrastructure, because its expensive.

It may have been slightly more true in some cases back then, but let's see:
1) GOG.com
2) Steam
3) Origin
4) XBLA/PSN demos, games and videos
5) Netflix instant watch
6) An occasional Linux ISO
7) Everything else

I've probably forgotten a few things, but I see it as pretty easy to hit 250GB on some months, even if not every month (seriously, if you bought Dragon Age complete pack from Amazon.com when it was on sale, that is 40 GB or more worth of downloading for those two games alone!).

For me it isn't a true cap .. at 250GB in month for the third month, I get hit with $2 per GB over fee. Been that way for the last 2 years.

Funny thing is .. in 2 years time the most I've ever pulled in a month was 160 GB.. that includes me working from home using the connection 8-18 hours a day running multiple vpns and ssh sessions, along with another 6-8 devices on constantly (3 of which are doing email/facebook/myspace/bebo/itunes for wife and daughter) and we collectively timeshift about 15 hours worth of shows a week via the internet ( it has become our DVR - replacing the 3 VCRs in the house).

Most months my usages ends up in the 80-100GB range..

me too...cap is no big deal (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869751)

I work from home but my team is on the other side of the country. VPN sessions open constantly, I timeshift TV shows via the net, etc. Normally I'm below 60GB.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869157)

It may have been at the time though.

The major issue with traffic* caps is that they need expanding periodically to keep up with the fact that people's expectations grow. Ironically, I see more evidence that operators are reducing traffic caps rather than increasing them. Look at T-Mobile: Unlimited, replaced by 10Gb, replaced by 5Gb, and now they're encouraging people to go to 2G. Wait, what?

* The correct term is traffic. Bandwidth measure of information per second. Ethernet cable has a bandwidth cap. Not meaningful in this discussion. "Traffic" right word. I know, you're just repeating the term, but it annoys me. If it didn't annoy me I wouldn't be a nerd and we wouldn't be having this conversation, I'd be out fucking a cheerleader and drinking beer or something.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869355)

I understand your desire to use the correct terminology and I don't disagree.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869283)

What 250GB caps really means is that your ISP won't invest in infrastructure, because its expensive.

Which is a common misconception. Comcast has long attempted to justify the cap by saying that it's there to discourage the heaviest of its users. They claim that by implementing the cap, network performance for everyone else will be better because there will be fewer "bandwidth hogs."

This is a flat-out lie, of course. The bandwidth cap has nothing to do with the performance capabilities of Comcast's infrastructure. The real limit of network performance is how much traffic the network can handle at a given instantaneous moment. Bandwidth caps do nothing to address this because they are a monthly limit.

The monthly limit was put in place solely to make it impossible to for average users to stream high-definition video content from third-parties through their Comcast Internet connection. End of story. Netflix has been successful only because 250GB happens to be just north of an average household's standard definition video quota for a month. (My own household DSL connection averages 100GB-200GB per month for about 1-3 hours of Netflix per day.)

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (1)

ninjackn (1424235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869429)

I went over the limit once and the worse part is that they threaten to disconnect the service for repeated offenses. No excessive charge fo each GB over, they will just disconnect the internet. And of course my only option for broadband is comcast.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869625)

I'm about to get a new laptop. As soon as I do, I'm going to be loading in the range of 300-600GB as fast as my connection will allow - probably 1-3 days, depending on how fast my off-peak bandwidth is. All entirely legal, from my Steam account and MSDNAA account, and at least one Linux distro to dual-boot.

All I have to say is thank GOD I don't have Comcast anymore. Verizon's cellular division is as bad as any other (worse, even, in some respects), but their fiber-to-the-home division hasn't yet given me any reason to complain.

Re:But... but... but.... what about piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869685)

I pirate? No. A lazy bastard who needs to get out of the house? YES!

You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868949)

My cap here in Québec is only 35GB per month for download+upload combined. I can't change ISP because they have a monopoly in this remote region.

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869025)

Who cares? Quebec isn't part of this discussion.

250GB is less than 4 hours of HD content per day, if you do nothing else with the internet at all.

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869111)

Who cares? Quebec isn't part of this discussion.

250GB is less than 4 hours of HD content per day, if you do nothing else with the internet at all.

This is almost an argument in favor of bandwidth caps. If there weren't some checks and balance then idiots like you would stream RAW video all day. No one streams RAW video, not even via satellite. If you want porn that realistic rent a hooker.

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869333)

How is it an argument for caps? So watching 4 hours of lower bandwidth HD video from Netflix is 'being an idiot' but streaming higher bitrate HD content from Xfinity is not?

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869577)

Are you really complaining about streaming HD content?

This is commonly available through Amazon, and for well-designed networks presents little problems.

Verizon offers HD content streamed from ESPN called "ESPN3".

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869309)

Okay, let's bring it back to the US. In the United States - in the rural area that i reside, we are limited to two options: dial-up or satellite. While satellite internet has recently improved its speeds, and now gives us something relatively close to what you fancy big-city folks get, it is still limited in one respect: bandwidth caps. Right now, per month, I have a bandwidth cap of 25 GB. No, I did not mis-type that. 25.G.B. Your 250 GB is a FUCKING EXTRAORDINARY amount compared to that.

Where's your justice there?

Re:You guys complain about a cap of 250GB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869707)

You have three choices. Move to the city where the number of people makes the build out of infrastructure cost effective. You could pay to have fiber ran to you. Or you could support government subsidies and work programs to build out infrastructure.

This same issue occurred with running telephone service to every rural location. I do see the spending of tax dollars to upgrade our countries information networks past mid last century technology as a plus, but good luck convincing others of that.

Internet Movie Business Is Dead : +4, Observant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39868955)

because ISPs will cap ( and charge ) for downloads.

Yours In Boca Raton,
Kilgore Trout

Re: Internet Movie Business Is Dead : +4, Observan (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869423)

Not the streaming. (much lower resolution - which does not matter for people like me who do it on the background just enough to not to forget common English)

AT&T 150GB cap (5, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868957)

AT&T capped my 6mb DSL account at 150GB a month.

What happens if you exceed your data plan?

You will receive a notice the first time your usage exceeds the data plan. We will send you alerts if your usage approaches or exceeds the amount of data included in your plan. If you exceed your monthly data plan a third time we'll charge you $10 for each additional 50 GB of data provided to you that month. You'll be charged $10 for every incremental 50 GB of usage beyond your plan.

AT&T.

Re:AT&T 150GB cap (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869287)

Think yourself lucky your cap is 150GB, the average UK cap is about 40GB.

Re:AT&T 150GB cap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869793)

Was the case in much of Canada too, they're recently moving higher.

Simply the worst. (5, Insightful)

Tommy Bologna (2431404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39868989)

There is a reason Comcast won Comsumerist's Worst Corporation in America contest in 2010. Comcast should be disassembled and shot into space toward the sun.

Drawing Attention (2)

danaris (525051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869011)

Let's hope that this will draw more attention to the issue of caps in general, and biased caps in particular, as being detrimental to things that ordinary people want to use, and big companies want to sell.

"Net Neutrality" is a confusing thing to most people, but "Sony won't sell you videos on demand because of Comcast's biased data caps" is much easier. I think even Congresscritters might be able to understand that one.

Dan Aris

Why? (1, Offtopic)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869029)

Why do you hate the free market, Sony?

--
BMO

Re:Why? (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869425)

They would rather have you in bondage while they fsck you.

Re:Why? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869737)

I got modded "offtopic" but I find that Sony being upset at Comcast's abuse of the market the height of irony. I'd have sympathy for Sony if they didn't, for example, put DRM on their media and play format shenanigans. But they do, and I don't.

Comcast and Sony can go at it in a one-on-one caged death-match and I can only hope that both die.

--
BMO - I am not master blaster.

Thanks for the elementary math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869047)

“Comcast controls more than 20 percent of the residential broadband market, which means that Comcast effectively controls access to one-fifth of any American Internet video service's potential customers.”

Redundant much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869055)

Comcast controls more than 20 percent of the residential broadband market, which means that Comcast effectively controls access to one-fifth of any American Internet video service's potential customers."

Redundant much? Good thing that you explained that 20% = 1/5th otherwise we would have never figured that out. I was first going to guess that controlling 20% of the home broadband market meant that they controlled 300% of these potential customers but I'm glad you were there to set me straight.

It's time... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869067)

to come down with hard regulation on such ISPs.

If they want to have the advantages of a common carrier - free access to rights of way, and a monopoly on services, then they better behave like a content neutral common carrier. If they want to take the attitude that it's their network and they can control it any way they want, then they can also negotiate rights-of-way individually with the millions of property owners whose land their cables cross.

Comming to a Wallet Near You! (1)

X!0mbarg (470366) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869159)

In the US you can at least still Get 'Unlimited Bandwidth' packages!
Up here in 'The Great White North' they have done away with All forms of unlimited bandwidth internet services.
Needless to say, High Throughput is (nearly) worthless if you can use up your entire months' worth of bandwidth in a day or two.

Of course, we have Ball Canada to thank for this, as they have an uncontested Monopoly on the country-wide trunk lines, and have EVERYONE hostage to their rates, so they can set whatever prices they want for data and voice.

Oh, did I mention that they were Uncontested? That's right. Canada's legislative control body, the CRTC has no powers over them, as they are now 'Unregulated'.
I found this out the hard way when we switched our assorted core services to another provider, and Bell summarily cut off our phone,(and locked our phone number) when we dropped the internet and TV services to go with Cogeco Cable. We had a Great long distance package and an easy-to-remember number, but "a 'mistake' was made during your service adjustments, and we can no longer support or reinstate your service. You will have to resolve the issue before we can give you a new number, as that one will go back into the available pool.".

Yes, Virginia. There is a Monopoly (in Canada), and the CRTC has had its hands tied.
Beware of this happening in the US next!
Core providers capping bandwidth to keep the Streaming Content from taking off, and driving up profitability on those Smartphones that are ALWAYS connected to their networks, constantly tapping into Twitter, e-mail and any form of Instant Messaging, as well as GPS and routing, weather reports, stock quotes, the latest episode of your Soap Opera...

Wanna stream the Big Game in HD on your G4 iPad? Watch your Bill for the Big Game to come back and Bite you in the Bandwidth!

Speed vs Usage (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869197)

Eventually it will come down to capping speed or total usage. I don't think the backbone infrastructure is designed to handle so much traffic, and I doubt Comcast is willing to spend millions on upgrading.

Comcast == Evil (2)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869219)

Ok "Free Market" Dick Breathers, let's hear your rationalizations.

Re:Comcast == Evil (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869385)

If it was a free market Comcast wouldn't have exclusive franchises with the municipalities it operates in and you'd have multiple ISPs to choose from.

Anti-Competitive (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869305)

Sounds like a straight-up case of anti-competitive business practice and why content producers in the content delivery business should be fairly and soundly regulated if they're allowed in the first place.

In the UK this would doubtlessly be referred to the Competition Comission.

As much as I'd like to see Sony (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869349)

go back to its great company status Comcast is probably doing everyone a favour as who know what DRM scheme/root kits would be involved in order to watch the Sony video streams.

what about OTA? (no data cap issues) (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869373)

I always think about over the air (OTA) broadcast and not have to deal with streaming video issues (throughput, routers, IP addr conflicts, bandwidth issues, data dropouts, corp shenenigans, etc.) though antennas can be a pain particularly if you are living in a condo. OTA already exists but TV stations are garbage these days, I remember in 20th century when local TV stations played movies (older movies when women dressed like women).

network neutrality? think anti-trust (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869387)

> Comcast's discriminatory bandwidth cap as a violation of network neutrality

Forget about network neutrality, this has "Microsoft flashback" written all over it. And if you think that Microsoft sticking its IE as default into OS was outrageous, how outrageous is this?

Caps are OK only where they don't have a franchise (2)

dwight_hubbard (239128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869397)

These caps are super anti-competive in areas where companies like Comcast have exclusive franchise agreements that prevent other companies from offering uncapped high speed cable based internet. Sounds like a good reason to quit bitching to the FCC and start complaining about the uncompetitive behavior to the cable franchise boards instead...

Can they embed their servers within comcast's net? (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869413)

Is there an advantage to having the media libraries inside Comcast's network so that Comcast does not need to pay at their border? Does Comcast get charged upstream for their bandwidth?
Also, Comcast wants to serve media via its xfinity web offerings. Cannot Sony leverage that since many of those titles will belong to Sony?

From the SP point of view (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869591)

I used to work at an ISP and honestly, as much as it would annoy me as a consumer, Comcast has a reasonable base to exempt their own streaming data while not exempting an external service.

Simply put ... Comcast, like anyone else, has costs involved with pumping data from the outside to their customers. On the other hand, with a good data distribution/caching system, they can pump data full-time from their own network to their customers attached to that network for virtually nothing.

Does that make this 100% fair? No. But it most definitely gives a reason to their madness. Sorry to disappoint folks who grew up thinking bandwidth was free ... but it isn't ... it is actually big business. Technologies like broadband multicast have the capability to alleviate this somewhat ... and yeah, Comcast and their like are going to resist any such change ... but the realities of today should still be factored in.

Humorous, actually (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869689)

OK, let's say you work out a deal with a McDonalds to sell you hamburgers at half price as long as you buy 100 at a time. So you set up a stand across from the McDonalds and start selling hamburgers cheaper than McDonalds does. You have incredible sales for the first week or so.

Of course, based on that you get a couple of friends to loan you money to expand your business and start trying to negotiate a similar deal with a different McDonalds across town.

How long do you really think it is going to take McDonalds to figure out they are supplying you with hamburgers that you are using to take their customers away from them? Does this really sound like a viable business model?

The cable (and DSL) Internet providers are waking up to the fact that they are supplying a service which is being used to take their customers away from them. Why should Comcast supply a service that is used to get people to drop their cable TV subscription? It is like the phone company supplying DSL service so their customers can drop the phone service and go with Vonage. You can say the cable TV service should be independent of the cable Internet service all you want, but the truth is that one has subsidized the other since the beginning. For DSL the service wouldn't even exist without the driver of phone landline service to begin with. We are starting to see the fallout of this. Certainly the cable companies are realizing they are assisting in the cannibalization of their own customer base - and they are going to stop doing that, one way or another. Hulu is just the beginning.

Thing is, they're all doing it (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39869715)

I know I have a 250GB cap on my Cox account. Cox doesn't necessarily degrade connections after that but the penalties right now are nebulous.

And I know Time Warner also plays games with caps. The FCC needs to step in and stop this bullshit post haste!

Invisible hand is not at work here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39869767)

Governments (Federal/State/Local) all have an rules and regulations that prevent more competition in the marketplace. In a normal economic model you would see the high-end users move towards the carrier that provides the best value (probably one without caps). However, many jurisdictions have made Comcast a legal monopoly.

Personally, I don't like the Comcast DVR and I've had awful response from their customer service people. I will pay more to go elsewhere.

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