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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Fight Usage Caps?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the but-your-username-favors-such-restrictions dept.

Businesses 353

First time accepted submitter SGT CAPSLOCK writes "It certainly seems like more and more Internet Service Providers are taking up arms to combat their customers when it comes to data usage policies. The latest member of the alliance is Mediacom here in my own part of Missouri, who has taken suit in applying a proverbial cork to their end of a tube in order to cap the bandwidth that their customers are able to use. My question: what do you do about it when every service provider in your area applies caps and other usage limitations? Do you shamefully abide, or do you fight it? And how?"

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Start your own provider? (5, Interesting)

crucifiction (2330280) | about a year ago | (#44783861)

What would you do if all of the ISPs had 14.4k lines and you just bought that awesome 28.8k modem? They are running a business and have decided to put a cap on your rate. If other providers around you are doing the same thing, suck it up, lobby for a new uncapped plan (good luck), or start your own provider without a cap.

Re:Start your own provider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783925)

Find a datacenter with wholesale bandwidth at gigabit speeds, then ask for a metered rate at $0.05/GB then resell to your customers at $0.10/GB with a base connection fee of $9.99/mo. People would sign up in droves and everyone would be happy.

Re:Start your own provider? (5, Insightful)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44783969)

And how are your customers going to get transit to your datacenter? That's right, equipment in the exchange, cellular airtime or satellite airtime. None of which is free.

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44783991)

Yup, go for it and see if you can do better. Bandwidth costs money. Sure, it is only photons or electrons, but you need to pay for your share of the capacity on the various links. And no, you don't NEED to download a few terabytes per month. I have capped internet here in Australia (150GB / month) and it is plenty, pretty much. There are terabyte plans available - we're getting to the point where caps are academic now, if you have fast enough internet to stream, there's no need to hoard stuff any more. And at a terabyte a month, you'll run out of space pretty quick if you keep filling your quota anyway. I used to work in a regional ISP, and have seen the bills on the other side...

10 GB/mo ro less (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784121)

I have capped internet here in Australia (150GB / month) and it is plenty, pretty much.

150 GB/mo? Luxury. In some areas, all people can get is satellite and cellular, and those tend to run 10 GB/mo or less on affordable plans. I'm glad I happen not to live in such areas at the moment.

Re:10 GB/mo ro less (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44784405)

I remember when I was capped at 8GB/mo... then my ISP upped the limit to 20GB/mo.
The year? 1999 IIRC.
This was commercial single channel ISDN, but still... crazy to see cellular data service actually becoming WORSE than similar landlocked service from 1999. When the data transfer speeds (even at the trunk) are so significantly better, and with single channel ISDN (this has guaranteed bandwidth) going back then for the same price a cellular data plan goes for today, something's wrong.
Now the one caveat here is that you've got a ton more customers using the trunk, and it obviously can't live up to the same SLA for consumer cellular data that ISDN does, but then why is the service so expensive?

Re:Start your own provider? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784179)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't streaming part of the problem? I know a few people that use their favorite classic shows in a way that I would call background noise and end up streaming them over and over. I have fallen asleep with netflix running a series and several episodes were streamed before it stopped. Had to stream them again. How many times over do we need to send the same bits before it's reasonable to keep them (and not call it hoarding)?

Re:Start your own provider? (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44784439)

Yes and no. We're getting to the point where links are fast enough to stream reliably. Which means you don't need to hoard a whole heap of media for future watching, you just watch on demand. My reference to hoarding was downloading a heap of stuff in advance to MAYBE watch later. If you can easily stream it any time you want, you don't need to hoard stuff any more.

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | about a year ago | (#44784327)

Agreed. Transfer caps in Australia aren't the big problem they were 10 years ago. There are enough choices of cap (at different price points) that there'll be one to suit pretty much everyone. My ISP in Australia (Internode) has caps ranging from 30 GB to 1.2 TB per month.

The problem in the US though is twofold:

1. In many areas there are only one or two ISPs available (the local cable monopoly and the local phone/DSL monopoly). Not like in Australia where pretty much everyone has 15-20 ISPs to pick from (even if many of them are Telstra resellers).

2. Some US ISPs have transfer caps, but it's a one-size-fits all approach. You can't choose different caps for different prices like you can in Australia. My (cable) ISP in the US had a 300 GB cap but there was no option to move to a higher cap if I needed it (other than to get a business connection).

Basically, I have nothing against caps *IF* you provide options. Grandma who just checks her email and does a bit of banking can get by on her 10 GB cap which costs some measly $15/month or whatever, the average family of four can get the mid-range "few hundred GB" plan and Mr. Uber Torrenter can get his 1 TB+ cap (but has to pay more for it). That's how it works in Australia and it's fine. In some other places though there's a cap, and no choice.

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44784359)

Yup, go for it and see if you can do better. Bandwidth costs money.

Based on the fact that there is never really any competitors, I think that's not it.

Physical access to customers is monopolized so that there is typically no competition.

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Informative)

sabri (584428) | about a year ago | (#44784043)

or start your own provider without a cap.

And you'll soon be out of business. Truth of the matter is, that a business simply cannot sustain by providing unlimited broadband internet for the prices that the average consumer is willing to pay.

For example, my connection via Charter is great. I pay for 30Mbps but actually get 45Mbps. If I were to suck up 30Mbps 24/7, that would mean that Charter would have to reserve 30Mbps of bandwidth on their network, and to their transits. So 33 customers like me would fill up a Gigabit Ethernet link. With an average price of ~$4 per Megabit, transit traffic alone will cost approx $4000/month, or roughly $120 per customer. Cut that in half, because my ISP will likely peer a lot, and you're still left with $60 per customer. And then we're not even discussing the cost of the access, core and edge network gear, installation and operational costs. I'm paying less than $60/month.

So, what do ISPs do? They oversubscribe. Since I'm not using my link 24/7 at full speed, it is easy to "share" my bandwidth. The last time I worked for an access-ISP, the oversubscription rates were between 1:35 and 1:50 for consumer-grade access. And in order to make sure that everyone gets a fair share, they'll have to include some type of limitation.

So all in all, the numbers just don't add up. You can't expect premium service for a bargain price and as long as the ISP is transparent about it, I don't have a problem with bandwidth caps. In the end I can still choose to pay for the premium service and not be subject to a cap.

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Interesting)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about a year ago | (#44784147)

So, what do ISPs do? They oversubscribe. Since I'm not using my link 24/7 at full speed, it is easy to "share" my bandwidth.

That's not the problem. That's perfectly reasonable, and there's no reason why they should do it any other way. All that this means is that during peak usage hours, people aren't going to hit their max.

If you have enough users using enough of your bandwidth that your customers can't hit your peak speeds for a reasonable amount of the time, or it's just too slow during peak, then you're selling too high a bandwidth. You don't have the infrastructure to sell 30 Mbps, you should be advertising 15 Mbps. Alternatively, you can upgrade your infrastructure and raise costs. Either way, I have no problems with my speeds being limited, I have a problem with the amount of data I transfer being limited.

Re:Start your own provider? (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#44784329)

Well, they are linked. Would you rather max your speed at 50KB/s or reach 1.0MB/s but be limited to 130GB per month? They amount to the same monthly hard limit (unless my math is off), but with the faster connection you can simply burn through your allowance faster. The plus side is needing less actual machine uptime for the same data transfer.

Of course, caps can be reasonable or unreasonable. My ISP sells 10Mbps connections limited to 80GB/mo. I'd much rather reach only 5Mbps limited to 160GB/mo, and they should have a plan tailored for people like me, since it would actually make peak hours easier on them. But, like in all markets, a specific number, feature or buzzword dictates the sway of a mass made by about 80% of largely uninformed people. Or at least that's how executives view things, but the result is the same.

Caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784171)

Comcrap Business is wide open. No CAPS. $99.00 USD a month.

Re:Caps (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about a year ago | (#44784307)

In my area it's capped.... but I somehow doubt I'll use up 12TB of bandwidth in a month at this time. *heh*

Re:Start your own provider? (1)

Skreems (598317) | about a year ago | (#44784193)

The key is "for the prices that the average consumer is willing to pay". With ~$15/mo plans I understand why capping has become necessary. But most providers will also have a business plan which is completely uncapped, and usually has much better customer service levels as well. For example, I use Comcast Business, and pay $60/mo for 20/3. I regularly get faster speeds than I'm promised, have no cap, and I've had tech support out on Sunday afternoon with 2 hours notice to replace a busted router. It costs more, but as you pointed out it probably SHOULD.

Re:Start your own provider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784217)

That sounds like fraud to me. If they don't intend to provide you with what you pay for... I agree that most won't come close to full use, but when someone does they should suck it up and provide the promised rate. If they wanted to be honest, they could say "we guarantee you X Mbps, but most of the time it will be much faster!"

Re:Start your own provider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784365)

If everyone tried to make a phone call at the same time, it wouldn't work. If everyone turned every electrical device in their homes to max consumption at once the grid would fail. If everyone turned on their water full blast they would all get a trickle. If everyone tried to drive on the same highway, traffic would be at a standstill.

Everyone understands this. Why is the internet different?

Re:Start your own provider? (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44784317)

So, what do ISPs do? They oversubscribe

Caps do not fix the problems of over-subscription. The majority of customers will all have the same usage patterns - basically heavy usage during prime-time and a trickle the rest of the day. Restricting the total gigabytes downloaded by the month can only minimally improve congestion during prime-time ... it does nothing until a couple of weeks into the month when people start to hit their limits and can't download anything at all, otherwise they still go full speed during prime-time.

Furthermore, the modern ISP has huge, huge margins on bandwidth. Like 90+ % gross margins - the vast majority of an ISP's cost are in the infrastructure (cables, equipment, staff) not in bandwidth itself. Wholesale bandwidth pricing itself has been dropping like a stone, reducing by at least 30% a year for many years now and has recently accelerated to about 50% a year.

http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2012/08/02/ip-transit-price-declines-steepen/ [telegeography.com]

Download caps are just a wholly inappropriate tool for fixing problems with over-subscription. They are, however, fantastic for hurting competing businesses like NetFlix and Hulu.

Re:Start your own provider? (1)

shipofgold (911683) | about a year ago | (#44784415)

I am waiting for speed caps during peak periods and unlimited data quantities.

Streaming media is only going to grow, and the impact felt by me when my Netflix stream breaks 5 times in 10 mins, is irritating. During peak periods I have no problems with a bandwidth cap to 1 or 2 simultaneous streams.

But I do take issue when ISPs whine about all the bytes downloaded at 3AM when it costs them nothing extra. Don't limit total bytes....but do make sure each customer gets their share of peak.

Good idea (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44784125)

I'm sure the gov't will be happy to give me the same subsidies the cable companies get (you didn't think those 'taxes' on your bill were going to schools did you?).

Why is it everyone in this God forsaken country always wants the 'market' answer? The solution to this problem is easy folks. We paid for the infrastructure with our tax dollars. We paid for all the tech to be developed with our tax dollars. The businesses have been privatizing profits and socializing loses for 30 years. Enough of that. It's yours, take it back.

The only way possible... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783877)

With your wallet.

everyone caps speed (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44783881)

i dont know of a single internet company who DOESNT cap your internet speed. as far as total allowed download/upload, i suggest voting with your money. i couldnt really tell which you were complaining about, but it is standard practice to cap upload and download speed. think about it this way, in a few years you will be able to get google fiber.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#44783933)

i dont know of a single internet company who DOESNT cap your internet speed

Is this a US thing? With my ISP here in Romania, I've never experienced caps even going into the hundreds of gigabytes a month (I torrent a lot of Blurays).

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784007)

Speed is capped according to your service level. Usage may also be capped. Some ISPs really don't care, like Verizon FiOS, where you really do have to take the piss before they get on to you. Others like Comcast will give you as little as possible. I've no idea what the handful of people with Google's fiber connection have. That's for the US. In the UK, ISPs throttle the connection after X bytes. You can get a 100mbps service from Virgin, but after a couple of GB in a day, your speed becomes useless.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

theqmann (716953) | about a year ago | (#44784237)

I'm on AT&T Uverse, and they don't seem to care with hundreds of GBs per month.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about a year ago | (#44784267)

i dont know of a single internet company who DOESNT cap your internet speed

Is this a US thing? With my ISP here in Romania, I've never experienced caps even going into the hundreds of gigabytes a month (I torrent a lot of Blurays).

Around here (Salt Lake City, US) people can get inexpensive home connections in the 12Mbps-20Mbps range. The caps on many of these plans are about 1TB/month. As you mention, an individual can transfer quite a lot of data before hitting that kind of cap.

Businesses, especially tech businesses, tend to have much greater telecom requirements than a single residence.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44783999)

well.. some just sell you the max their tech allows.

what the poster is probably referring to is about limiting amounts of transfers though, like limiting to 10gigs per month or whatever.

besides, what you say makes no sense because you're aware of services like google fiber.

and what to do about it? complain, complain complain. some cablemodem systems are hackable, but it's illegal and easy to get caught.

Is moving practical or not? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784163)

and what to do about it?

Apparently, move. Some people think moving for better broadband is practical (1 [slashdot.org] 2 [slashdot.org] ); others disagree (3 [slashdot.org] 4 [slashdot.org] ).

Re:Is moving practical or not? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44784187)

It is for renters or for people buying a new home. It factored in my buying a home. No FIOS, no sale.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784003)

In the UK, BT Infinity has no data cap. They used to have a Fair Use policy, but were able to drop it last year after realising they had more than enough bandwidth for everybody to go as crazy as they like.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

stonecypher (118140) | about a year ago | (#44784087)

Verizon FIOS caps are so far in the sky that you're unlikely ever to hit them.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

macemoneta (154740) | about a year ago | (#44784101)

My U.S. (NJ) provider, Optonline (Cablevision) does not cap or throttle, at least in my area.

Re:everyone caps speed (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about a year ago | (#44784223)

The story isn't about capping SPEED, it is about capping BYTES TRANSFERRED. Critically missing from the stories are both of those numbers.

  • * A setup that runs at 4Mbps can run for a month and struggle to hit a 1TB/month cap.
  • * A setup that runs at 12Mbps will never hit a 4TB/month data cap, even if kept saturated.
  • * A setup that has a 4Gbps can pass a 4TB limit in about 2.5 hours.

Equipment and infrastructure are not free. Even our business connection (fiber@4Gbps) has caps. We pay quite a lot for it, and are unlikely to ever hit them, but they exist.

Back when people were on kilobit connections there wasn't much point to a cap. Today when fiber to the premises can offer 10Gbps or more it wouldn't take much to saturate the telecom's equipment.

Usage policies and caps mean you can have your high speed connection so data comes to you quickly when you want it, but because the plan is very cheap you can't keep the line saturated. When it comes to bandwidth, transfer limits and costs, you only get to pick two. The third is dictated by the other choices.

My Favourite Question Of All Time (5, Funny)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44783885)

When I first ordered Internet service here, and asked them what my monthly bandwidth cap would be, their customer service guy responded with the following question:

"Bandwidth cap? I'm sorry, is that some sort of hat? And what does that have to do with your subscription to our service?"

Sometimes I really do love living in Sweden.

Re:My Favourite Question Of All Time (5, Funny)

multriha (206019) | about a year ago | (#44783935)

Back when there was some competition and choice in my area for DSL service, my standard question was "Could I run a commercial porn busisness off this connection and max it out 24/7/365?". (Assuring them that wasn't my intended use, but I wanted that freedom).

One ISP responded by saying, 'Of course, actually until recently one of our customers was one of the biggest porn companies in the US'.

Re:My Favourite Question Of All Time (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44784183)

One ISP responded by saying, 'Of course, actually until recently one of our customers was one of the biggest porn companies in the US'.

Porn server on a DSL line. Musta been really into spanking and torture. :) Okay, that aside, yeah, there's plenty of ways to fight a cap if you're stuck in a residential area and have no alternatives; ICMP traffic typically isn't counted or capped. If you setup a micro instance in the amazon cloud or elsewhere, and create a VPN that uses ICMP traffic, you can tunnel through that and out into the wonderful world of unlimited bandwidth.

The fact is, tabulating the actual bandwidth used isn't a matter of just adding up the bytes on the wire transmitted or received, and that's because every way of auditing it is different. Some ISPs track it at the border router, some try to limit it during peak periods... take Comcast for instance...

They have this 'burst' thing where the first 5MB of a http or https connection runs at max speed, then throttles. Well, you can use that to your advantage -- just send a reset packet after 5MB is exchanged, and enable http resume. With a few other tweaks to http pipelining and other things, you can easily get triple what your rated line speed is supposed to be... but it requires you setup your own dedicated gateway/firewall/router combo box and some really complicated ipchains and kernel magic.

My point is, extensively test what your ISP does and doesn't throttle, how it throttles, and how it caps. Then game the system. It's just another hurdle to be overcome. And when you've figured it out, share it with others. ISPs need to get the message that if they aren't going to support network neutrality, the network is going to rise up and kick them in the ass.

Re:My Favourite Question Of All Time (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44784273)

...one of our customers was one of the biggest porn companies...

What, was the Catholic church [independent.co.uk] muscling in on the e-book business and expanding into vids?

Depends if they cap VPN (encrypted) traffic or not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783891)

Depends how their usage caps are set. If it is traffic shaping based on type of traffic and ignores encrypted traffic, you pay a good VPN provider and "circumvent" the traffic shaping. Most likely your heavy usage will still get eventually flagged, or it might not.

If it's a raw bytes per month style cap, the only way to fight it is to vote against it by choosing differently. Either by choosing another ISP (which may be more expensive - including poteitnally getting a proper "commercial grade" internet connection) or literally voting with your feet - moving to another location which has an ISP that offers a better deal.

Nobody FORCES you to keep paying a crappy provider. Ask around what a commercial connection costs & what are the terms there. Most likely the monthly fee is several times more than the consumer grade type, but you get what you pay for.

Re:Depends if they cap VPN (encrypted) traffic or (2)

multriha (206019) | about a year ago | (#44783973)

Unfortunately, broadband choices are very limited in most of the U.S. (elsewhere too I'm sure, but only know the states).

Where I currently live despite it being a moderate sized city, with an extreme tech community. Your only options are cable through Comcast or DSL through Centurylink. When you factor in what speed you can get where in the city. Voting with your wallet isn't much of an option.

Re:Depends if they cap VPN (encrypted) traffic or (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44783977)

I wouldn't want to use an ISP as incompetent as that...

The Double Edged Sword (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#44783897)

How to fight usage caps: go somewhere else, use multiple providers, conserve what you do (that's you TorFreaks), don't upload every stupid cat photo you own, actually think about what you're doing before you upload/download, complain vociferously and frequently to management.

My suggestion: use another rational provider. If captive, look to conserve. If you hack: (text deleted by the NSA)

Business (3, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | about a year ago | (#44783899)

The solution to get more allowed usage is to purchase business service from your ISP.

Business class Internet won't help everyone (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784303)

Switching to a business rate may help some people who live within range of wired broadband, but it's not for everyone. Some ISPs refuse to provide business-class service to addresses zoned residential. And with all the other people who choose where to live based on broadband availability, the asking price for properties with no access to wired broadband has fallen. This means an affordable place to live may be affordable only because there's no wired broadband. For those in this situation, switching to a business plan won't kill the cap. Verizon and AT&T, for example, advertise business plans where multiple devices access a shared pool of monthly data transfer allowance.

You can't shame something that has no Shame (1)

multriha (206019) | about a year ago | (#44783909)

ISPs have no shame. There's hope of getting anywhere with that.

Most have fine-print in their contracts that unlimited isn't really unlimited.

It sucks.

One thing you can do is look into a business account. You pay more, but you get unlimited bandwidth, and can often run servers and such that aren't allow with a consumer account.

If you want to try to fight the issue, look carefully at your bill and what taxes are being applied. Look up the text of the laws the taxes are based upon. If memory serves one of the common taxes that has to do with telecommunications (wish I could remember the name) has certain requirements of not interfering with you usage in certain ways that /should/ keep them from capping you.

And how? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44783921)

Dewey, Cheatham...

Accepted capping, and paid for a suitable limit (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about a year ago | (#44783937)

... with the possibility of increasing the cap if needed.

I am in the UK and wanted to move to an ISP which offered FTTC, IPv6, a static IP, would be happy for me to run servers and would not implement CG-NAT, and offered good technical support in the event I should need it. The ISP which was most highly recommended to me based on those criteria offered FTTC for a fixed monthly price, with a cap — if paying a proportionate more-than-average-in-the-consumer-market price gave me a proportionate more-than-average-in-the-consumer-market service, that sounded like a good trade-off to me, even with a cap.

Coming from an uncapped connection, I was nervous about buying something with a cap, but, having checked our usage for a three month period, I picked the option with a cap three times that (guessing that a faster connection would mean we use it for me) and, so far, that has worked out well for me. If I want another 100GB, I can pay for that, either as a one-off, on a particularly heavy usage month, or to upgrade the connection permanently.

(The ISP is Andrews and Arnold [aa.net.uk] and, so far, I have been more than happy with them. I guess that they have to pay upstream for capacity, and an unlimited connection would entail a pretty significant premium to ensure that they were not left out of pocket.)

Re:Accepted capping, and paid for a suitable limit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784041)

Good advice, but you missed the spirit of TFS which is: "Here at Slashdot we've decided that all information was meant to be free. As a corollary, that means that bandwidth should be free as well, or at very least, unlimited for an affordable monthly rate. How can we make our usual end run (if necessary) around laws, rules, and policies, which deserve to be ignored as they were instituted by obviously corrupt legislators and greedy businessmen?"

how do I fight CAPS USAGE? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44783943)

I say

DON'T USE CAPS LOCK. IT'S LIKE YELLING!

hell yahahahahahaha

Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:how do I fight CAPS USAGE? (1)

tocsy (2489832) | about a year ago | (#44783979)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who misread the title at first. The fact that it was also submitted by someone named SGT CAPSLOCK made it even more confusting.

Re:how do I fight CAPS USAGE? (1)

optikos (1187213) | about a year ago | (#44784033)

I fight using CAPS by turning off the Caps Lock LED.

Fight back with compression! (5, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44783957)

I fight my carrier's bandwidth caps by only downloading compressed content. For exampe, if I dowload a zip file that contains 100MB of data, but the Zip file itself only consumes 10MB, then I've effectively downloaded 90MB of data for "free" through my ISP and bypassed their cap. Ha! Take that Comcast! Sometimes when I find a file with a really good compression ratio, I'll download it 3 or 4 times just to screw them over even more.

It takes a little more of my time to calculate how much I've exceeded my cap, since I keep a spreadsheet of everything I've downloaded (which can get tedious when adding up all of the requested objects from a website that uses gzip compression) but the satisfaction is well worth it.

Re:Fight back with compression! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784123)

Don't go out much, do you?

Shop Til You Drop (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about a year ago | (#44783967)

Shop around and let other potential providers know exactly why you're shopping around. Businesses are by their nature sensitive to competition even if they pretend otherwise.

Use (Pay For) The Right Service Plan (1)

turgid (580780) | about a year ago | (#44783971)

You agree to pay for it, and they agree to provide it. If they don't. go elsewhere. Simples.

Re:Use (Pay For) The Right Service Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784093)

Go elsewhere... lol... Yeah right. (Seriously though, in some places that isn't an option. You're stuck with the local monopoly or nothing.)

Choose your neighborhood (and even city) wisely (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784335)

You can always choose to "go elsewhere" during the last month of the lease on your rented house or apartment.

Try money caps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784009)

"I'm sorry, you've used too much money already so I'm capping how much money you get. Please reduce your usage of cash".

Oddly, they don't like it put that way.

Business level accounts (2)

dhickman (958529) | about a year ago | (#44784015)

Lets face it, we are not the typical ISP customer anymore.

I learned a long time ago that business customers get treated much better than general consumers.

Yes business accounts cost more, but you get priority services, more technical customer service, static ips, and best of all no restrictions.

So organize an LLC, get a business bank account, and then get business internet service. Since this is probally going to be in your house, sell yourself the cost of local DSL (invoice and pay for it using personal funds) and it is an easy IRS write off.


People on here complain about caps and port blocking all of the time without realizing that everything costs money. In Oklahoma City, Business Internet is $90 a month. That gets me a static IP, 24/7 knowledgeable tech support, free equipment, truck rolls at 2am, 5up/30down ( dedicated priority service over consumer.)
The closest consumer plan has the same speeds but the cable tv support department, caps, blocked ports, must supply own equipment, and the bandwidth is not dedicated. All for $59 a month.

It is worth an extra $30 a month for the access, of which I write the whole thing ($89) off at tax time as a business expense.

Re:Business level accounts (1)

rworne (538610) | about a year ago | (#44784157)

You don't need to be a business to get a business account. At least that's the way it works with Verizon. It's just another set of tiers in their service (more expensive ones). All I needed to do was just ask for it and briefly tell them why.

You are spot on about the benefits of a business account.

 

Re:Business level accounts (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about a year ago | (#44784337)

With Comcast, you need to give a reason. I run a server, that was good enough for them. :)

ISPs that refuse to serve home businesses (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784349)

So organize an LLC, get a business bank account, and then get business internet service. Since this is probally going to be in your house

Depending on the ISP, you may need to get your house rezoned for business use.

I would examine my life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784045)

Seriously, if this is a problem for you outside of work, get a life.

My strategy - guaranteed to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784055)

My question: what do you do about it when every service provider in your area applies caps and other usage limitations? Do you shamefully abide, or do you fight it? And how?"

OK, if I'm on the Internet so much that I'm hitting bandwidth caps, it means I need to get a fucking life.

So, I went back and started playing tennis again, lost weight, mild depression went away, and I'm getting some REAL social interaction.

So, in short, just get off the fucking box and get a life.

Single purchases that exceed 10 GB (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784385)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

OK, if I'm on the Internet so much that I'm hitting bandwidth caps, it means I need to get a fucking life.

Satellite caps customers at 10 GB per month (source: exede.com). A single purchased video game or purchased high-definition movie can meet or exceed that size.

just get off the fucking box

Now I'm confused. I thought you just said "get a fucking life", that is, become a swinger. Should people lay off the fucking or start the fucking? :p

REALLy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784071)

I HAVe NO pROBleM UsING CApS

What you need to do is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784083)

get a bong.

Let the advertisers know. (1)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | about a year ago | (#44784085)

If you're an average user that mostly uses just a web browser on the Internet, install an ad-blocker of your choice if you haven't done so already. All those ad popups, flash, etc., are consuming bandwidth that count against your monthly cap. When some web site says "Oh please won't you turn off your ad-blocker" tell them to take it up with their advertisers. ISP's will listen to advertisers more than they will to the average customer scum.

What I did was install Flashblock (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44784419)

When some web site says "Oh please won't you turn off your ad-blocker" tell them to take it up with their advertisers.

What I did was install Flashblock. That blocks high-data-volume ads while allowing low-data-volume text ads and still image ads. Ad networks would ideally recognize that I'm not seeing SWF ads and send me still ads instead, but it amazes me how many ad networks fail to do this. That way I have a good excuse: "I'm not blocking your ads, just a file format. If I wanted Flash, I'd go to Newgrounds. Get some less-Flashy advertisers, and I might even click through."

Generally speaking (2)

stonecypher (118140) | about a year ago | (#44784091)

Generally speaking, if you call the host and say "I need a line without caps, can you quote me a price," they will.

Oftentimes you'll have to call it a business line though.

Re:Generally speaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784409)

I've got a Teleworker account through Comcast and there are no bandwidth caps. Granted, I don't use more than a couple hundred gigs a month.

Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784097)

In Australia it is mainly built this way and it sucks.

Would be nice to pay a set amount for the service instead of pay for the service and what you are allocated and at what speed and what bandwidth. The more of any of those you want and it costs you.

The alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784105)

So...you'd rather your ISP spend 10x the money on infrastructure that would allow for 100% of their customers to use 100% of their bandwidth 100% of the time concurrently? Then you would pay triple the monthly rate to cover the additional hardware when in reality it's just some asshole running torrents all day that you're paying for. If I'm not mistaken, my ISP caps me at 250 gigabytes on my 15x1 connection. I watch Netflix and Hulu several hours a day and never come anywhere close to that limit. I think I calculated a while ago and it came out to the majority of the month of 24/7 max bandwidth usage to hit the limit.

Unlimited Use and UK's Disgrace. (4, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44784107)

In the UK at least 6 years ago when the government was all *cough* pushing the idea it was an E-Govenment. Basically a petition was sent to the Government complaining that ISPs offered unlimited data...which in practice was often seriously crippled that offered little data. The response was to pass the buck to the Advertising Agency Authority who still do little to nothing http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/03/government_dodges_unlimited/ [theregister.co.uk] That was in 2007. It is now 6 years later and nothing changes https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ofcom-ban-the-fraudulent-use-of-the-term-unlimited-by-mobile-networks-and-isps [change.org] .

Buy more bandwidth or Become an ISP! (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#44784127)

Don't waste time. Act!

Write to your representative (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44784141)

Your democratic representative should fight for uncapped internet at decent prices. If there is some form of a monopoly going on, there should be a price cap on how much an ISP is allowed to ask and what the minimal service for that price should be. That may sound communist, but monopolies have nothing to do with free market. If you want a market economy, you need the government to stimulate innovation and competition, so they should encourage your ISP to come up with ways to give you a better service and/or price if there is no "natural" competition for them.

Terms of service? (1)

sphealey (2855) | about a year ago | (#44784143)

Based on your reading of the relevant documents, is your ISP following or violating its terms of service? If they are following their terms of service then you shop for another service (with the same or different provider).

If you think they are violating their terms of service, you (1) open a tech support request pointing that out. Assuming that the ISP rejects your support request, you then (2) hire a lawyer with some experience in telecommunications regulatory law to advise you. The lawyer might tell you he can try a bark letter or that you should just forget about it. If the latter, you can then (3) direct him to prepare a formal letter of complaint [1] to whatever legal and regulatory agencies might have jurisdiction in your state (state commerce commission, state justice dept consumer fraud, FCC, US Justice). While you are waiting for those to be resolved, you can then (4) shop for another service.

Really there is very little choice here. The US hasn't been great on consumer protection since a brief burst in the Teddy Roosevelt/Upton Sinclair/post-Crash of 1929 days, and the Clinton and Bush II administrations between them pretty much polished off what little was left - particularly in telecom. And in fairness a lot of heavy-duty end user bandwidth consumption was allowed to slip through the gaps in service agreements during a period when ISPs had rapidly growing business and infrastructure and plenty of money. Now that that is no longer the case they are tightening up. Stinks for the high use consumer, but the answer is generally to buy a business-class service with very tightly defined terms of service and pay for exactly what you need.

Oh yeah - don't wait for those letters of complaint to have any effect.

sPh

[1] A formal letter of complaint to a regulatory agency or attorney general's office is a very different thing from a hand-written citizen complaint. It follows very precise form and contains specific information and causes of complaint. Unless you're willing to spend hundreds of hours in an administrative law library figuring it out you'll need a lawyer to write one for you.

Create churn (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784155)

If all the ISPs in your location have a cap and you can't vote with your wallet then just keep changing between them as often as you can. The churn costs them money.

If everybody did that then maybe they would try to do something to keep people from changing.

Re:Create churn (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44784353)

If everybody did that then maybe they would try to do something to keep people from changing.

Yeah, by tacking on 'start-up' and reconnection fees, or making you sign a long term contract. Problem solved.

Pay (1)

bmomjian (195858) | about a year ago | (#44784165)

You get a commercial account that doesn't have these restrictions.

SGT, Clean This Mess Up (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44784189)

Use this ISP if you need to. Otherwise, "Google" it.

Bandwidth cap complainers are overusers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784203)

My observation has been that those who complain about caps on their data transfers are exactly those people who have no problem sucking up bandwidth they share with their neighbors.

No data connection has infinite capacity. Every trunk is expected to be shared among some number of individual users. So when my neighbor uploads and downloads at maximum speed 24/7 (as one of them used to) he's sucking up capacity that is no longer available to me or his other neighbors.

This is a classic instance of the tragedy of the commons and no amount of complaining by him will make it anything else, or him less of an asshat.

how much data do you use? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44784225)

the website has internet only plans from 150GB per month up to a 999GB
i'm a cord cutter and stream everything and i'm at less than 200GB most months

WTF do some of you people do that required terabytes of data every month? if you have a family of couch potatoes go outside, read a book. same thing if you torrent 24x7. buy a dvd or blu ray. It's $100 for a 3d blu ray player. DVD's are $10 each. cheaper to buy DVD's or get netflix DVD's than pay your ISP and the electricity charges of having a computer on 24x7. in NYC my electric bill is $65 or so on average. $75 i get pissed off about leaving stuff on

Try Satellite.. (2)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year ago | (#44784231)

We had nobody but satellite a while back and got 12G/mo rolling. Try streaming Netflix on that.

Re:Try Satellite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784323)

12Gb for a consumer satellite link seems very generous, though.

Lead with your left (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44784233)

Lead with your left.
His gaurd is weak on that side.
And he's got a glass jaw, so one good pop there, and down he'll go.

(actually you know, i think this would have been funnier with the other trope, "The Fix Is In" ... )

I'd shamefully abide if ... (1)

yelvington (8169) | about a year ago | (#44784245)

I'd shamefully abide if I could figure out how to come anywhere NEAR the usage cap. What on earth are you doing? I consume a lot of streaming media -- Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Xfinity, Youtube, Pandora -- on a Roku, two laptops, a couple of Android and iOS devices, and various family members rotate in and out with whatever toys they bring. I'm using about a quarter of my limit. Hitting the usage cap is probably nature's way of telling you to go outside and look at the real world.

Easy: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784259)

take caps lock off. Duh.

Anti-Capping (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year ago | (#44784291)

The way to fight usage caps is to not use the service. Don't pay for it either, of course. Instead find another provider and give them your money. May the market forces be with you.

Switch Providers (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44784297)

Switch providers, tell friends about new provider, watch as old provider's revenues slowly crash over the next three years, while new one enjoys a nice bump.

TELL THEM ITS LIKE SHOUTING (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | about a year ago | (#44784311)

Am I the only one who first read the title as if it were "fighting caps usage", ... and then only to find that the submitter is SGT CAPSLOCK?!

Re:TELL THEM ITS LIKE SHOUTING (1)

funkmotor (535405) | about a year ago | (#44784391)

No I thought that too.

I AM ABSOLUTELY *OUTRAGED* TO FIND IT'S JUST ABOUT BANDWIDTH USE.

I think it must be some type of dyslexia. I once read a BBC News headline about "Papal Bigotry" imagining that PayPal had been discriminating against its customers, only to find out, TO MY COMPLETE DISAPOINTMENT (sorry) that it was only about the Vatican.

Verizon started with the caps, we dropped them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784345)

Verizon started with the caps on the cell phones, we dropped them after contract and went to another carrier with cell phone service only.... with no data or text.

I used SSH port forwarding + compression (1)

Sarin (112173) | about a year ago | (#44784351)

My ISP had a bandwidth limit and a data cap, but you also got a shell account.
So I used SSH port forwarding to redirect and compress my connection to usenet servers, that way I used less bandwidth and my downspeed was higher.

what about bad meter accuracy? (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44784381)

not only can meter accuracy be off they can.

round up

bill you for overhead data and APR traffic.

Bill you when your modem is off (well the system is trying to send data to you so we bill for it)

http://www.dslreports.com/nsearch?q=cogeco&old=Search&cat=news [dslreports.com]

Comcast has never enforced its cap for me (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year ago | (#44784401)

I use netflix and amazon VOD and vudu as well as Steam and the multitude of other pay services around the web.
I still use well over 300GB per month.

I'd imagine some ISPs are enforcing their caps.

Comcast decided to counter the flood of online services like netflix by setting up their own netflix CDN. Just can't get SuperHD or 3D yet.

Pay for it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784427)

You pay for what you use, get a business class service. You don't have the right to anything you don't pay for here.

I for one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784437)

Will not make SGT CAPSLOCK any wiser than he already is about the usage of caps!

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