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Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the hang-onto-your-bits dept.

Cloud 475

finalcutmonstar (1862890) writes "With net neutrality dying a slow painful death, it is no surprise that in an investor call yesterday Comcast executive VP(and Darth Vader impersonator) David Cohen predicts bandwidth caps within the next 5 years. The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB. But, Cohen stated that 'I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.'" Update: 05/15 13:58 GMT by T : Correction: Cohen is actually talking about data transferred, rather than stored (as headline originally had it), as reader MAXOMENOS points out.

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Coded language? (5, Funny)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 3 months ago | (#47007945)

Nice network you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it...

Re:Coded language? (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008145)

More like 'You only want our ISP service and not cable TV? Well, not only are we going to charge the company that you do get your videos from, but we are going to charge you extra for delivering them. Oh hey, notice how much cheaper OUR video service is, are you sure you don't want it instead?'

Re:Coded language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008397)

Their video service still counts towards the cap. I know this from experience.

Re:Coded language? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008429)

If it did, then that was a bug. At least in terms of cable box usage (including cloud DVR), those features are not supposed to count towards your cap.

Re:Coded language? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008335)

Typical rent seeking corporations more money in return for less. before you say free market go someplace else. Make the market free so there is someplace else to go

Editorial (5, Insightful)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 3 months ago | (#47007959)

Headline: "Comcast predicts storage cap"

Story in a nutshell: Comcast exec predicts bandwidth cap.

WTF?

Re:Editorial (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008029)

And from TFA: "Comcast Wants To Put Data Caps On All Customers Within 5 Years"

Re:Editorial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008503)

And they already do, if you consider the unofficial and we'll-deny-that-we-throttle-you-even-though-everyone-knows-we-do throttling of your connection after a certain threshold. Plus, if you're really greedy (trying to use all that bandwidth they say you can have), they might even flag your account and you'll get a nasty-gram or call from operations accusing you of illegally reselling/stealing bandwidth.

Re:Editorial (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 3 months ago | (#47008033)

It's a cap on how much you can store in your tubes during a given month.

Re:Editorial (0)

JustOK (667959) | about 3 months ago | (#47008241)

Which month are they going to give us?

Re:Editorial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008059)

Headline: "Comcast predicts storage cap"
Story in a nutshell: Comcast exec predicts bandwidth cap.

It could be that once Comcast blocks access to other cloud services and once having local storage is made illegal by NSA, that 300GB is what you get for your own Comcast-provided offsite storage for free! And backup will be only a $5 a month/co-located with NSA.

Re:Editorial (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008157)

Dude, this is Slashdot. Being correct isn't part of the game... giving the angry hordes something to beat their chests about is. Mission accomplished!

Re:Editorial (5, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#47008175)

Bandwidth, in networking, is a measure of the amount of data transfered per time unit. The Comcast exec is predicting a transfer cap, i.e. a maximum quantity of data.

You're right, though; Neither are "storage". Whoever titled the post is a moron.

Re:Editorial (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47008213)

Bandwidth, in networking, is a measure of the amount of data transfered per time unit. The Comcast exec is predicting a transfer cap, i.e. a maximum quantity of data.

No, the Comcast exec is predicting a bandwidth cap.

Or do you seriously believe that his 300 GB cap is a LIFETIME cap? Much more likely it's a monthly cap.

And 300GB/month is a measure of a quantity of data (300GB) per time unit (month).

Re:Editorial (5, Interesting)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 months ago | (#47008203)

1. Void all local agreements giving exclusive access to a community to one internet provider.
2. Mandate that they are able to accommodate ALL the bandwidth they sell at any time.
3. Separate the businesses into a content side and a Access Provider side. Content side pays the same as all other content providers. Access Provider charges the same to all Content Providers.
4. NO limits on what you can do with your bandwidth.

Re:Editorial (2)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 3 months ago | (#47008287)

This is way too reasonable.. you must be new here :)

But I completely agree with you. I suspect 2 through 4 will eventually happen (in the next 10 years of so, not immediate), 1, not so much.

Re:Editorial (5, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#47008389)

2. Mandate that they are able to accommodate ALL the bandwidth they sell at any time.

We already have this. Go look up leasing a T3 connection for your home; Guaranteed 44Mb line. Expect to pay several thousand dollars per month.

Your home broadband connection is oversold, and that's fine. That's why it's cheap, and it is very cheap. The problem is that they didn't tell you that that was how it was, and instead sold you on "up to $Mb download speed". Now that there are services that will actually saturate your 20Mb line 24/7 (bittorrent, netflix, whatever) the connections are congested. It's like putting all of the cars on the motorway at once; Nobody will get anywhere.

If the model was shifted to paying for the data you use regardless of your line speed, at least it would be fair; You get what you pay for, no more, no less. I watch netflix, I download ISOs and games on Steam, and I rarely hit north of 150GB in a month. This scheme seems fine to me. Then again, I'm looking at this through the rose-tinted glasses of a consumer, not a greedy corporate sociopath. I'm sure they'll have us bent over again soon enough.

Re:Editorial (1)

Catbeller (118204) | about 3 months ago | (#47008443)

As I used to proclaim on Slashdot: don't let the people who own the pipes also sell you the water.

Re:Editorial (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 months ago | (#47008367)

The internet, that you when you click on the blue "e", that's your cloud. You can only store so much on your cloud. Every time you browse, you store more and more in the your cloud. If you store to much water in the cloud, the tubes of the internet will leak.

That's why we need to cap the amount of water you store in there. Especially Netflix. They steal water from your cloud, and pump too much storage in. So we had to build a dam, to store water and generate Net Neutrality. That's how the Market moves.

Re:Editorial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008369)

A Storage Cap? Is that the plastic cover on the end of a USB flash drive?

Re:Editorial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008499)

Actually: Comcast exec predicts windfall profits.

Prediction or prescription? (5, Insightful)

noblebeast (3440077) | about 3 months ago | (#47007963)

I suspect this has less to do with prediction, and more to do with prescription. As in, they want to set up the expectations that will guide the perceptions of the public and of policymakers in regards to what is a "reasonable" amount of bandwidth to be consuming, in order to justify their ridiculous overage charges.

Awesome! (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 3 months ago | (#47007965)

The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB.

And I bet that the cap would proceed to move down to 250 GB and so on. USA is the only country where internet access quality is actually moving in reverse.

Re:Awesome! (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#47008093)

Don't worry USA, Canada is right there along with you. 250 GB would be welcome. The two major ISPs offer bandwidth caps between 25 GB and 125 GB on "reasonably priced" packages (under $70). Rogers recently introduced the option to upgrade your bandwidth cap, but you still can't get unlimited for less than $85. To go from 70 GB on a 30 Mbit connection to 270 GB on the same speed will cost you an extra $15 a month. Personally, I'm glad they opened up the lines to independent ISPs, or I think it would be even worse. The only problem with using the independents is that they use the same lines as the big ISPs, and the big ISPs don't prioritize fixes very well for the small guys.

Re:Awesome! (2)

Catbeller (118204) | about 3 months ago | (#47008463)

Canada has freemarketitis, courtesy of a parliamentary system that invests a man with 15% of the popular vote to maintain an iron grip on the federal government for the foreseeable future. The damage that bastard and his neocon friends are doing. Damn.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008119)

The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB.

And I bet that the cap would proceed to move down to 250 GB and so on. USA is the only country where internet access quality is actually moving in reverse.

In 2030 they'll bring back your 9600 baud modem

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008177)

Woohooooo! I can't wait for 56K! And then... Gasp! 33.6K! And I know this is way too much to ask, but could we even go to 28.8K? God I have such good memories of dialup in the early 90's! I can't wait to watch pixelated porn, one frame at a time, over a period of 3 hours!

Re:Awesome! (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 3 months ago | (#47008357)

I always thought those acoustic coupled modems were cool... now I just need to get a landline again and dig that old Ma Bell phone out from the junk box!

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008197)

As streaming media replaces cable TV, bandwidth for most everyone will increase. A majority will likely exceed 300 GB at some point, so he's completely wrong that it's a minority. He's just setting it up to rape people when the tide turns in the favor of Comcast.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 3 months ago | (#47008417)

my GF and I regularly exceeded 300GB a month as of a couple of years ago.

Lots of video games are going to be >50 GB for 'next gen' and 20 or 30 is going to be the norm for anything from a major publisher. 4k resolution displays and streaming for multiple users and 300 GB doesn't go very far.

Re:Awesome! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008341)

In Romania we have 1Gbs at about 20$ in some areas and 100Mbs at the same price in most urban areas. Keep on living the American Dream!

Tea Party favors the RICH and teh EVIL!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47007971)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/05/13/ayn-rand-was-not-a-defender-of-the-rich/

"Ayn Rand, the famous novelist and free market advocate, is often caricatured as a defender of the rich or big business. But, as Steve Horwitz explains at the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog, there are more wealthy villains in her books than wealthy heroes. And many of her heroes – including John Galt, whom Rand portrayed as the person best exemplifying her philosophy – are not particularly wealthy. Ultimately, Rand’s work praises producers, not wealthy people as such:

        One of the other valuable pieces of Rand’s work is also one of the most frequently misunderstood by her critics.

        [T]he view [of many critics] is that Rand supposedly loved the rich and hated the poor, and that Atlas Shrugged is a story of the rich as Nietzschean heroes who should be freed to save the world from the mooching poor and middle class.

        This, of course, is simply wrong. It’s not “the rich” who go on strike, but the producers. The good and evil divide for Rand is not between rich and poor, but between producers and takers. There is no remotely plausible reading of Atlas Shrugged where the “1%” are unambiguously heroes and where everyone else is a “moocher.” One can simply list off various characters who don’t fit this reading. Most obvious is John Galt himself. None of the descriptions of him that Rand offers suggest that he is rich. Comfortable? Yes. But rich? Nope. Francisco D’Anconia and Hank Rearden are arguably rich, but Hugh Akston? He doesn’t seem to be particularly so. On the other side of the ledger we have Jim Taggart. Clearly rich, but clearly a villain. Wesley Mouch has clearly done well for himself and is arguably rich, as are many of the other villains who associate with him. They are the ones attending the fancy parties and living the high life while the producers are, for the most part, out running railroads, extracting oil, and inventing new useful metals. "

But yea, conservatives are teh totes rich peeople.

No! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47007973)

Fuck you Comcast! I can blow through 300gb with fucking windows update!

I want to go back to cable TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47007975)

In other words, kill every service that is not provided by us. This would move us back from the current Internet to essentially just having on-demand pay TV.

Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47007993)

Because if you caught a vast majority of your users in the bandwidth cap, you'd have a full-scale consumer revolt on your hands. Much better to bleed dry just a handful of users every month; they can only scream so loud, and it will ultimately fade into the background noise of general complaints about your services, to which most consumers have become accustomed... the way that one eventually becomes accustomed to walking on hot coals.

Re:Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008317)

Because if you caught a vast majority of your users in the bandwidth cap, you'd have a full-scale consumer revolt on your hands. Much better to bleed dry just a handful of users every month; they can only scream so loud, and it will ultimately fade into the background noise of general complaints about your services, to which most consumers have become accustomed... the way that one eventually becomes accustomed to walking on hot coals.

Except that isn't the way that walking on hot coals works.

I predict the future.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008001)

"...except those markets where there is competition"

I predict the future.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008089)

Competition in US broadband? HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA Don't make me laugh!

It's either a mandated monopoly or a cartel duopoly that mimic each other's every move.

Re: I predict the future.... (5, Informative)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 3 months ago | (#47008233)

Have you seen what has happened because of the Google Fiber rollout? Here in Austin, you have AT&T scrambling to match the offer after the mere ANNOUNCEMENT by Google that they intended to offer service, and now there's a local ISP called Grande doing the same (although they already had a few fiber rings around the city to service their business customers, so their entry into the fight was a simple choice). That's right, with nothing other than a statement of intent, we have a virtual land race for uncapped near-gigabit internet for under $80 a month. If that's not competitive economics at work, I don't know what is.

Re: I predict the future.... (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#47008309)

The only thing I don't like about Google fibre from what I've seen is the pricing. Putting it at $80 a month makes it unaffordable for many of the low income homes. They have a lower speed option which I believe is only 5Mbit, which is actually decent, if you can find the money for the upfront costs. This seems to vary by location. It would be nice if they offered something in the middle for around $20-$30 a month which had a better amount of bandwidth, like 20 or 30 Mbit. Although I suspect if they did that, most people wouldn't pay for the Gigabit option, as almost no home user needs that kind of speed.

Re: I predict the future.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008461)

Good plan. Those low speed fiber lines are cheaper to roll out and maintain than the fast ones. Also there's no point in doing something that poor people can't afford.

2 hours and 16 minutes (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008011)

that is how long it takes with LTE on max speed to reach the cap.

2 kinds of countries in the world (3, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | about 3 months ago | (#47008013)

Those who regulate their telephone sector strongly, and those who don't. The US is in the latter category, and the majority are going to suffer for it. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not in the US. I feel for you guys.

Only pirates & terrorists need more than 300 G (5, Funny)

Simulant (528590) | about 3 months ago | (#47008019)


How long until we hear that?

Re:Only pirates & terrorists need more than 30 (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008183)

When I canceled my Comcast subscription due to the cap, the person handling the call explicitly told me there was no legitimate reason for that kind of usage so I must be a pirate. When I tried to politely explain that my Netflix usage exceeded that, I was again told there was not legitimate reason for the kind of usage.

Re:Only pirates & terrorists need more than 30 (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 3 months ago | (#47008403)

You have not talked to a person, you talked to a robot. Okay, okay, a meat robot. Here whe have this too.

Re:Only pirates & terrorists need more than 30 (3, Interesting)

static0verdrive (776495) | about 3 months ago | (#47008185)

So true... and they'll ignore the obvious stuff like Netflix, Steam, and the other modern e-business models that have greatly increased our average monthly bandwidth. I'm in Canada and I got tired of paying Rogers (AT&T) $68 a month for a 120GB cap, only to habitually over-step that line (I'm a habitual line-stepper, as Charlie Murphy would say) and get charged up to $100 more - thankfully laws prevent them from charging any more than $100 extra per month, but that's still $168 in a month just for internet. I've recently switched to Acanac where I'm paying less than $50 for the same speeds with no cap. Hopefully US customers will be able to find smaller/independant ISPs that offer something similar... switching away from the big guys when they make stupid moves like this is the only way to ge the message across - vote with your dollar! Don't be shy to sign online petitions and send out emails to politians on the upcoming bill they have to vote on, too.

city of brotherly love (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008025)

or is that just a fairytail too? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA-8Wq5uKno burn babys burn

Caps Are Definitely Coming (5, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 3 months ago | (#47008041)

Caps will definitely come. Not because they are "needed to help manage network congestion" or some other reason that the ISPs will trot out. They'll come for four simple reasons.

1) Video over the Internet threatens their own video services. Caps help make Internet video more expensive (via overage fees) and will help drive people away from Internet video.

2) Even if people use Internet video, the ISPs will get more money and they can never resist the smell of money.

3) The ISPs have monopolies (or near monopolies) in their service areas so they can do whatever they want and the public needs to take it.

4) They are big and powerful enough that they will make sure they have enough politicians "donated to" to prevent any government action against them.

Of course, they will keep on trotting out the "small group of users is slowing everyone's speeds down and caps will make them pay their fair share" line to justify the caps. The real cause of any slowdown will be because they take their profits and don't reinvest them into upgrading their networks. After all, why upgrade? It's not like there are any competitors to beat in the market or any government officials with backbone to pressure them into speeding up connections.

Re:Caps Are Definitely Coming (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 3 months ago | (#47008125)

Interesting thought though would be that if you have a content provider who is also your ISP, could that be considered monopolistic similar to what Microsoft went through with IE being included with the OS?

Re:Caps Are Definitely Coming (2)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008223)

Yes, but media companies and telcos have lobbying power well beyond what Microsoft could muster, and the current political climate is hostile to taking on monopolies because 'the market knows best'. There is also a school of thought (I am curious what blogger or author started it, but it seems to have really taken off) that monopolies only exist because of government and thus if you want to prevent monopolies all you have to do is remove regulations.

So yes, these ISPs are acting with monopolistic behavior but got themselves classified out of the rules that would handle their case, but it is unlikely they will actually be charged or broken up.

Re:Caps Are Definitely Coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008425)

Currently, no. Comcast is a content provider and ISP, and they own roughly 30% of the available television channels in the US.

Content needs to be decoupled from delivery in order to prevent this scenario, but, like the pp mentioned, they have enough politicians in their pockets that it will never happen.

Re:Caps Are Definitely Coming (2, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47008333)

lol, as entertaining as these conspiracy theories are, I can't help but blow my karma correcting uniformed nonsense.

The vast majority of ISPs in this country do not offer any (or very little) TV service at all.

The majority of the money you pay for your cable television goes to the the content providers and re-transmit fees. Local stations re-transmit fees are huge. The ISPs make the most money off services. Like voip, cloud storage, antivirus, DVRs, equipment rentals, etc...

Despite this, every ISP that I've worked with over the past 5 years or so has bandwidth cap projects going now. It's coming to everyone, everywhere. regardless of if your ISP provides TV or not.

Want to know why? http://time.com/98987/netflix-... [time.com]

That's why.

and no, this doesn't have anything to do with Net Neutrality. It was coming either way. They're locked in a race to the bottom with prices. Customers always go with the cheapest provider, so they can't afford infrastructure improvements without cutting themselves out of the market. Most customers are like your parents. They just want to get onto facebook. People that do streaming suck up tons of bandwidth yet pay the same. It's basically an all-you-can-eat buffet and we're the fat guys. The sizzlers trying to narrow the front door so we can't get in.

data caps (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about 3 months ago | (#47008057)

If they get their merger, expect data caps in half that time, maybe within a year. Expect TW and ATT to follow suit.

Re:data caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008505)

Why would Time Warner follow suit after the merger? They wouldn't even exist anymore.

"Hey, all our 0 customers, are now data capped!"

It worked before (1)

grilled-cheese (889107) | about 3 months ago | (#47008061)

Yeah, because that worked out so well for consumers in the mobile phone space...

Also, this isn't new. Suddenlink has been doing this for over a year for everyone in our region. A friend of mine constantly streams netflix because he has young kids and a stay at home wife. He uses 100% of his cap almost every month at the highest rate plans available. Without switching to a business contract for 10x the cost, he can't get a bigger cap.

Last three months (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008073)

This is my family's usage on Comcast over the last three full months:

Feb: 162 GB
Mar: 348 GB
Apr: 270 GB

We don't torrent or anything like that. We are normal users. A kid that games (lots of DLC for games these days). My wife and I watch some Netflix most evenings. I may watch a netcast (such as Tom Merrit and Brian Brushwood on CordKillers or one of TWiT.tv's shows) via youtube and a chromecast while on the treadmill. Normal usage. Already over the 300 GB proposed cap some months. However, I guess I honestly only care because of the monopoly position Comcast is in. I could get slow as molasses DSL from AT&T or medium speed from Comcast. There isn't another decent choice in most places. If there were some real competition, I wouldn't really mind if companies wanted to do a tiered deal where you got 200 GB "primetime", 300 GB "nights and weekends", 250 GB "off peak" (yeah, like they used to do with cell phone service) type plans with either higher tiers or pay extra (but reasonable) fees for overages. They would stay within reason if there were competition to contain pricing...

Re:Last three months (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008249)

I dunno, if I were them I'd like to do is have a base cost of say $50/month to connect you up. Then $10/month per computer, $10/month per phone using wifi, $1/month for each connected lightbulb, $49.99 per month for monitoring, and $1/GB use. That way everybody pays their fare share. Having more than one user on an internet connection should have to pay more than just me in my house etc.

How to enforce billing per device behind NAT? (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47008347)

They tried billing per simultaneous IP address a long time ago; the response to that was network address translation (NAT) boxes. ISPs would see only one computer, made by Linksys, NETGEAR, D-Link, etc. In order to truly bill per device, they'd need to employ even deeper packet inspection than they already do, including things like requiring installation of its TLS MITM's root certificate or requiring use of Trusted Network Connect (which gives the ISP administrative rights to your PC and locks out home use of free software operating systems). This is why your "modest proposal" won't work.

Re:Last three months (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47008279)

I wouldn't really mind if companies wanted to do a tiered deal where you got 200 GB "primetime", 300 GB "nights and weekends", 250 GB "off peak"

Some satellite ISPs do something similar, turning off the meter during early morning. In any case, running the meter at only congested times would at least help bring home Internet plans closer to widespread transit billing practice, which is based on the 95th percentile of speed over the course of a month.

Re:Last three months (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 months ago | (#47008457)

The problem is that home users aren't willing to pay for a a guaranteed speed, unlimited usage line which is how the ISPs actually pay for their bandwidth, and how datacenters pay for their bandwidth. What they really want is a high speed line that is only in use for a few hours a day, and for the rest of the day is completely dormant. This is because most of the bandwidth is consumed using streaming services, and everybody is home during the same time. The 95th percentile doesn't really work for home users, because they still want a high speed connection for 3 or 4 hours a day, which is way outside the 95th percentile. You can either have slow connections with unlimited bandwidth, or fast connections with a bandwidth cap. They won't sell you a fast connection with no cap, because there's no way to limit how much usage the customer will consume. On a 30 Mbit connection, you can download over 7 Terabytes of data in a month if you used it constantly. They don't want users taking advantage, but they want to be able to give users a reasonable speed so they can stream a couple movies at the same time if they want.

Hmmm. What a coincidence. (3, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 3 months ago | (#47008079)

The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB. But, Cohen stated that 'I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.'"

Comcast sent me an email late last year saying they would change my data usage agreement to the above.

Already have the cap here. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008085)

As they are charging me extra I can at least say I am happy they are not throttling my speeds and making the internet unusable for me.

For usage I don't have Netflix and a good amount of the video I watch comes from the xfinity website and HBO Go which means content I am receiving and paying for from Comcast is getting included in my monthly total of bandwidth.

So that means I pay them for my internet connection, my content and then they charge me extra for the bandwidth because I actually use the services I purchased from them.

I guess I can look on the bright side and know they wont throttle their own content. I hope.

Comcast, #last for customer service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008113)

Amazing when monopolies decide to govern use to better fit their needs (revenue)... would sure help if comcast did better with content and services and opened their ecosystem. Think offense vs. defense guys!

Because of cutting the cord (1)

Enry (630) | about 3 months ago | (#47008115)

You've got lots of people just getting Internet to download/watch TV rather than buying it via the cable company. They have to recoup that revenue somehow. It's either going to be data caps or they'll flip the model they currently have and charge $75 for Internet access and $25 for a full cable lineup. Then another $50 in regulatory 'fees' and other BS and you're back to where you started.

Re:Because of cutting the cord (2)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008235)

Thing is, Comcast is so insanely profitable they have no need to 'recoup their revenue'. They do not have some magic entitlement to such profits, esp when they get them in part by promising service levels they can not actually provide.

Re:Because of cutting the cord (3, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 months ago | (#47008365)

Thing is, Comcast is so insanely profitable they have no need to 'recoup their revenue'. They do not have some magic entitlement to such profits, esp when they get them in part by promising service levels they can not actually provide.

You know what's better than insane profits? More insane profits. And unlike data, there's no profit cap.

Don't see how this is realistic (4, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about 3 months ago | (#47008121)

With the rise of Google Fiber and increasing usage via legitimate services such as Netflix online (not to mention what happens when 4K kicks in, arguably within 5 years?), HULU, and HD video conferencing, this prediction looks to be terribly off-base.

No, no. This is just some idiot CEO for an awful company completely misunderstanding the nature of his own business and making and horribly inaccurate and hamfisted prediction.

Then again, he probably makes 500 times what I make, so I guess he must be doing something right!

Re:Don't see how this is realistic (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47008257)

Google Fiber is unlikely to cover all that much actual territory, and it is not going to cut into Comcast's space enough to really change their situation. As for the rest of those, those uses are exactly why the prediction is probably not off, those are things that Comcast wants to stop and this would be a way to hurt those other companies.

Re: Don't see how this is realistic (1)

FrkyD (545855) | about 3 months ago | (#47008259)

He knows his business very well. This is how they can get around net neutrality and maintaing package deals. It's already happening with mobile providers here in Austria. They set up agreements with external services or provide their own (usually video on demand). Those are then exempt from the data cap.

Right now there are still some alternatives, but since the two cheapest providers merged prices have gone up and data caps have become the norm.

Those cable packages are just going to become data packages.

Re:Don't see how this is realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008271)

You don't get it. It's one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. He's not PREDICTING bandwidth caps, he's saying that Comcast will implement bandwidth caps (probably much sooner than 5 years and much lower than 300GB) because they want more money.

Re:Don't see how this is realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008467)

"Cohen will receive an annual base salary of $1,337,994 and a $5 million signing bonus consisting of two payments of $1.5 million in cash and $1 million in Comcast stock, one now and one at the start of next year. He also is eligible to receive bonuses of twice his annual salary under Comcast’s cash bonus program."

So probably not 500 times unless you are poor, BUT Comcast stock will probably continue to go up. Unless this guy fucks it up by pushing data caps.

Many carriers have already established caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008123)

I don't see an issue with pay for use models.
I do have a problem when a carrier decides "What" I get to do with that bandwidth.
I do have a problem whit the "lack of choice" in most markets for broadband.
"Lack of choice" is a breeding ground for shitty providers.

Re:Many carriers have already established caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008189)

This is artificial scarcity. For example, it would be like the utility company charging more for drinking water than it does for toilet water, although both come from the same pipe, or for a car maker to charge you because you drive on country roads rather than city streets.

Lets be real here. Mexician ISPs are expanding bandwidth. European ISPs expand infrastructure. Asian ISPs lay fiber.

It is only the US ones that just add fees, not fiber, and wring hands in front of Congress how the poor consumers are hurting them.

Re:Many carriers have already established caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008419)

This is a data cap story, not a net neutrality story. The analogy would be more apt as "basic water amount is equal to only what one person can drink per day. Extra people's drinking water, showers, toilet water, dish washing, clothes washing, etc costs double. They don't care what you're doing with the extra water, but extra water costs double.

Fake scarcity to drive up 'value' (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | about 3 months ago | (#47008135)

This is just an attempt to create artificial scarcity to drive up value.

Either give us an all you can eat model or give us a per MB model. Don't try to mix and match the two. I want 100% un-metered or 100% metered internet not some BS that rides the middle.

Re:Fake scarcity to drive up 'value' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008277)

You can set the limit yourself. 300GB/month is close to equivalent with 1Mbps.
When comparing prices, think of this connection as a 1Mbps-connection.
Good enough for SSH, barely sufficient to browse modern pages with.

Storage Cap != Bandwidth Cap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008141)

Just sayin'

another prediction (5, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#47008143)

I predict in 5 years ill have a laundry list of null routes for various advertising providers and comcast hardware. I'll torrent every show and every song because to listen to them again on pandora will put me over my 'cap.' I'll have constructed a cantenna out of an array of garbage cans strapped to the roof of my house and have an army of ASIC hardware working round the clock to crack every WPA and WEP AP i see.

Oh, and I'll switch to dryline DSL and robocall every politician in my state asking for municipal high speed fiber. I and everyone youve ever infuriated with deep packet traffic shaping 'its comcastic' advertising blitzkreig will petition our government to bury you as we boycott your shit-tier service.

Comcast Data Caps are already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008147)

Comcats has already capped several markets at 300G with Atlanta being the latest. I got my first bill for usage over the 300G cap last month. I have already complained to the Georgia Trade Commission once on this and I plan to do it again. This is ridiculous given that my only other option is AT&T who can't even keep a DSL line functional at my house.

There are supposed to be laws that prevent predatory companies fro taking advantage of the public, but in this case no one seems to care.

Comcast already has a bandwidth cap (3, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#47008169)

They just refuse to tell anyone what it is, or give you any warning that you have violated it before they disconnect you.

The thing that is most amusing about these people is that, out of one side of their mouths they whine about how they don't have the capacity to give everyone truly unlimited Internet like they advertise, but out of the other side they have as much as anyone is willing to pay for, with no limit.

It really is time to label Internet service as a public utility and place it under proper regulation.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008179)

What kind of PR spin are they doing now? Five years? Most of the major US ISPs ALREADY have bandwidth caps with excessive overuse fees. Are they talking about caps showing up in Europe or what?

Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008195)

Beautiful innovation that will be slowed if the FCC re-classifies the as telecommunications [slashdot.org] . /sarcasm

Comcast will probably sell this storage cap as an increase of customer choice.

They already have caps in some markets! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008209)

I already have a 300GB cap with Comcast. I am in one of their 'test' markets. His numbers stated are the correct numbers. $10 for every additional 50GB..

I often upload and download a lot for work purposes and I have 5 people on many internet connected devices at home so we almost always go over.

The problem is we do not have any viable alternative in my area :(

Re:They already have caps in some markets! (1)

Joshuah (82679) | about 3 months ago | (#47008459)

Go with a business account. Costs a bit more but you don't have to worry about usage until they put a CAP on business accounts too.

Nothing to do with net neutrality (3, Insightful)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 3 months ago | (#47008219)

Usage caps (not storage caps) have absolutely ZERO to do with net neutrality. First off, they're explicitly allowed under the rules that the FCC tried to put in place, that were recently shot down by the courts. Secondly, even if the FCC were to reclassify broadband under Title II (i.e. as a telecom service), as a lot of tech companies want them to, they'd STILL be allowed. Voice phone service, which has long been regulated on the same terms that many want the FCC to use for broadband, certainly allows for usage caps, always has.

Re:Nothing to do with net neutrality (1)

Ericular (876826) | about 3 months ago | (#47008401)

This is all true. However, the idea is that if the monopolies are dissolved and competition allowed to flourish, the prevailing service offers would trend away from usage caps instead of towards them. The pressure on service providers would be to keep their network capacity as high as possible and offer the best deals to stay competitive. If there is no monopoly, no anti-competitive collusion, and even still we find usage caps are just an economic necessity in order for providers to keep the lights on, I'd have an easier time accepting them. If the only reason caps are implemented is because service providers know there's no competitor for customers to abandon them for, well... that just pisses me off.

Re:Nothing to do with net neutrality (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47008431)

The difference is that phone services are much more severely constrained by the physics associated with radio bandwidth.

There is no doubt that many readers here would be harmed by a 300 GB bandwidth limit. There have been times when I've moved multiple terabytes per month between my home office and workplace. Cloud services such as CrashPlan can potentially push traffic above such limits as well.

The time has come to regulate these services, or remove all restraints preventing competition. The current state of quasi-monopolies is unacceptable.

Monopoly (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47008225)

When you're a monopoly, or soon to be one, all your prophecies will come true. It's called "propheteering".

More Corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008237)

During an investor call today (link via Ars), Comcast executive VP David Cohen said that he predicts bandwidth caps (or, as ISPs prefer to put it, “usage-based billing”) to be rolled out network-wide within the next 5 years or so.

The reason they haven’t done so already?

The answer is simple. If they put the caps up too quickly the government might be forced to invoke Title 2 in order to give the sheeple their Internet bread & circuses.

Too bad... (1)

Anathem (1983388) | about 3 months ago | (#47008293)

...there's really nothing to be done about it. Maybe cancel the subscription?

Data Caps are already here (1)

rlp122 (1204980) | about 3 months ago | (#47008305)

Comcast has already capped several markets at 300G with Atlanta being the latest. I got my first bill for usage over the 300G cap last month. I have already complained to the Georgia Trade Commission once on this and I plan to do it again. This is ridiculous given that my only other option is AT&T who can't even keep a DSL line functional at my house. There are supposed to be laws that prevent predatory companies fro taking advantage of the public, but in this case no one seems to care.

Re:Data Caps are already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008477)

Laws are for little people. Little people like you. Not big companies.

Re:Data Caps are already here (1)

static0verdrive (776495) | about 3 months ago | (#47008481)

Don't be fooled into thinking AT&T won't add caps soon too - they've always had them here in Canada (Rogers here is AT&T) and they make a killing off the overage fees - I can't imagine they wouldn't want to apply that to a larger marker like the US; it's free money! Re "no one seems to care", I would guess the polititians are getting hand-out incentives to go for this. "If the company makes more they promise me more, and I can afford the unlimited plan (if they don't give it to me free anyway)!" Matured-Capitalism-in-a-Matured-Democracy 101.

All most people really need is (1)

rjejr (921275) | about 3 months ago | (#47008353)

enough for 4 episodes of Game of Thrones per month.

Comcast predicts revenue boost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008375)

As comcast will count every packet destined for you, whether it reaches you or not (all those nasty route probes, expired TTL packets - they'll count those too), they'll be doubling down your fee.

See, here's the deal.

You pay for X speed, that means X-speed/s (24 x 60 * 60 ) x 365 (366 during leap-years) -

This is where the FCC / FTC need to step in. Make all advertised speeds be the MINIMUM you can get, and mandate that these speeds include maximum data rate usage for the 86400 * 365.25 days per year (to cover leap years) - ie NO caps.

  Anything less than that would be a contract violation, and FCC / FTC would throw the current corporate execs into prison for 10 years.

Capitalist Jerks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008379)

I used to work for the largest ISP in the US. Once the infrasrtucture is in place, backhaul and all that is done, it's almost nothing to maintain it. Peering costs pennies. Yet, they charge a sick premium to use it. Look at Asia. They get big 100mbit, unlimites streams of data for a pittance. WTF is wrong with the US? Deregulation has created a monster. I voted against dereg back in 2002 when I worked for the aforementioned iSP. Damn these money-grubbers. The Internet should be like universal healthcare. Paid for by taxes. ONly go after the most egregious abusers of the system. There should be no cap on use. Bamdwisth costs the ISP precious little.

At least there's always... (2)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 3 months ago | (#47008383)

In two months, I'm moving to a new home that has both Comcast and FiOS available. At that point, my cable modem will go live in a cardboard box until I move again.

While I don't believe for a second that Verizon won't jump on the data cap bandwagon once everyone else is doing it, they haven't spent the last few years pushing data caps onto their customers.

Let Us Calc At Teh Google Rates $$$ at 39th second (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008437)

1 Gbps becomes
125 MBs becomes
1000 MB (about 1 GB) every 8 seconds
300 GB comes as soon as 38 seconds
$$$ comes to Comcast as soon as the 39th second (assuming Teh G band rates)

300 GB is way too low (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47008447)

I use almost 2 TB a week, completely serious

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