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Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the doubleplus-ungood-pirate dept.

The Internet 341

mpicpp (3454017) writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica about Comcast's data caps that aren't data caps:Customers must pay more if they exceed limits — but it's not a cap, Comcast says. For the past couple of years, Comcast has been trying to convince journalists and the general public that it doesn't impose any "data caps" on its Internet service. ... That's despite the fact that Comcast in some cities enforces limits on the amount of data customers can use and issues financial penalties for using more than the allotment. Comcast has said this type of billing will probably roll out to its entire national footprint within five years, perhaps alongside a pricier option to buy unlimited data. ... Comcast's then-new approach was touted to "effectively offer unlimited usage of our services because customers will have the ability to buy as much data as they want."

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Sigh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761515)

I have no faith that the government won't fall for this blatant lie.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47761721)

Of course they will, while comcast is telling them this, they are stuffing wads of money in the senators pockets. The longer they talk the more money goes into their pockets... Senators need to keep warm during the upcoming winter....

Re:Sigh (-1, Offtopic)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47761861)

Of course they will, while comcast is telling them this, they are stuffing wads of money in the senators pockets.

You know that talking point is total bullshit, right? What you describe would be a felony offense in the United States. Nor can corporations give money directly to campaigns. They can donate to PACs, which are a special animal in the American political system, but they can't donate directly to campaigns or candidates. When people tell you that "Big oil/telecom/Hollywood/whatever gave X dollars to Y candidate" they really mean that the employees of those industries gave X dollars to Y candidate. Work at a gas station and donate $20 to your State Assemblywoman? That's added to the total donation from "big oil" when her opponent needs a talking point.

I realize such intricacies don't make for good talking points but it would be extremely helpful if people would at least learn how the system works rather than spreading FUD that only serves to undermine the tenuous amount of faith we have left in our system.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47761905)

Of course they will, while comcast is telling them this, they are stuffing wads of money in the senators pockets.

You know that talking point is total bullshit, right? What you describe would be a felony offense in the United States. Nor can corporations give money directly to campaigns. They can donate to PACs, which are a special animal in the American political system, but they can't donate directly to campaigns or candidates.

Hey, uh, just FYI, you know what's another word to describe a "special animal in the American political system"?

Corruption.

Enough of your word-mincing. We ALL know how Politicians get bought and sold so let's cut the "total" bullshit here. Call it what you want. I call it what it should be; illegal, because the end result is the same. Corporations controlling government.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761933)

They are innocent of corruption!

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 months ago | (#47762147)

They are innocent of corruption!

because they write the legal definition of corruption to insure it does't count them

Re:Sigh (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 months ago | (#47761971)

We ALL know how Politicians get bought and sold so let's cut the "total" bullshit here.

Yes, they do. But not all of them and certainly not in the manner that the GP presented. One needs to actually understand how the system works before one condemns it and/or proposes fixes for it. Incidentally, most of the people in politics hate the system as much as you do. You think they enjoy spending so much of their day begging people for money so they can fund their campaigns? The real world isn't House of Cards, most people actually enter public service for noble reasons, ranging from the mundane fixing of potholes to the desire to advance a social cause. The problem is two fold:

1) Campaign finance reform is inherently suspect because it's passed by people who have an incentive to make it harder for incumbents to lose elections. There's a reason why opponents frequently referred to McCain-Feingold as the "Incumbent Protection Act"

2) Meaningful campaign finance reform would require a Constitutional Amendment; the idea I most liked was the notion of precluding private donations but giving every American citizen X dollars to allocate as they see fit. It's an awesome idea but one that's utterly unconstitutional. Perhaps you should start building a network for this concept rather than spouting talking points about money going into Senators pockets?

Re:Sigh (2)

lucm (889690) | about 2 months ago | (#47761977)

We ALL know how Politicians get bought and sold

I get the "bought" part, that is after all how lobbying works (it's not a secret), but how does one "sell" a politician? Do you mean that political parties are pimping out their people?

Also I would suggest that given the kind of loyalty one can find in Washington, the proper term should be "rent" rather than "buy".

Re:Sigh (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 months ago | (#47762117)

I get the "bought" part, that is after all how lobbying works (it's not a secret), but how does one "sell" a politician? Do you mean that political parties are pimping out their people?

Also I would suggest that given the kind of loyalty one can find in Washington, the proper term should be "rent" rather than "buy".

If my company wants to build a pipeline through several states I will approach the incumbent owner of the politicians in those states and shower them with money to get them to steer those politicians my direction.

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 2 months ago | (#47761919)

no it isn't bullshit. I live in canada where we even have stricter rules than the US and it still happens here. My dad owns a business and whenever he bids on government jobs his main competitor always wins the contract. Anyways when the owner of the compitor sold the company and retired my dad asked him how did he keep winning the contracts even though the bids were the same. The guy said easy, he would go to whoever is awarding the contract and say "how would your wife like a new washing machine?" and then magically a top of the line washing machine would show up at their house a couple days later (completely off the books of course, he would pay for it out of his own pocket, then just take a bonus out of the company to reimburse himself).

Re:Sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762001)

It also says a lot about your father's lack of business sense and intelligence that he didn't record the conversation when he asked that question. Maybe that's really the big reason why the company was always second-rate?

Re:Sigh (1)

qeveren (318805) | about 2 months ago | (#47762017)

Canada is not a one-party-consent polity for recording conversations, IIRC.

This call may be recorded (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47762093)

What realistically would have happened had one party said "this call may be recorded to ensure quality of service"? Then both parties would be on notice for the remainder of the call.

Re:Sigh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761951)

So apparently it's not bribery if you get a third party to deliver the money for you?

Re:Sigh (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47762103)

They can donate to PACs, which are a special animal in the American political system

Ummm... No. A PAC (Political Action Committee) is simply a funding mechanism for campaigns. Federal laws (since we are talking about Federal elections) prohibit corporations and labor unions from contributing to campaigns, PACs, or generally from spending money to influence federal elections. [fec.gov]

You may be thinking of the ability of Corporations and labor unions to create PACs themselves. They can do that, and 501(c)(4) organizations can, too (most issue-advocacy groups do exactly that - MoveOn.org has a separate PAC, as does the AFL-CIO and many corporations like Best Buy, Amazon, and CVS. But they can't contribute their own funds to them). They can also (since Citizen United) do things like fund movies, books, or other media productions that criticize a political candidate, as long as it is not an endorsement or encouragement to vote or not vote for any specific candidate for election.

That may be a thin line - but unless you have a large war chest to defend yourself with expensive lawyers, you better make sure you follow the very specific relations [ecfr.gov] closely, or you'll find yourself the target of an extremely well-funded and organized prosecution, as many have discovered.

Re:Sigh (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 months ago | (#47762145)

To quote Shakespeare,

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,

but since this is politics it ain't no rose and it don't smell sweet.
No the money isn't put into the congressman personal account but the PAC is essentially a campaigning run by proxy. And instead of fiduciary reward other less formal forms of graft are used like their failure of a kid managing to make into a ivy league school, after a suitable donation is given to the university by a company wanting bill passed, high-speed internet may be installed in a senators home neighborhood, he may get high 6 figure sallery job no effort job lined up after his term is ended. Oh and don't forget insider trading is LEGAL for senators and congressman so a insider stock tip to them can make then rich with no repercussions.

Re: Sigh (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761773)

Chuckle.

Considering Congress convinced itself that the Affordable Health Care Act was a financial penalty and not a Tax, ( though declared a Tax by the SCOTUS ) I'm right there with you on that :)

It's like car insurance. We don't penalize you for being single, we just give the married folks a better rate :D

Re: Sigh (2)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | about 2 months ago | (#47761963)

how did SCOTUS declare it a tax when it wasnt wriiten up as one in the law? How do they have the leeway to change the definition of something in a ruling? They are supposed to rule on whats before them, not define it as something else in order for it to pass constitutional muster.. ??? The reason it wasnt called a "tax" in the law is because it wouldnt have gotten the votes. SCOTUS ruling it is a "tax" bypasses the whole point of voting for a bill.

Am i missing something?

Re: Sigh (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 2 months ago | (#47762055)

It was a tax. The Republicans that rule us ruined the President's health care bill by turning it into a tax that feeds the wealthy owners of insurance companies. That is why it is a tax because it is a tax. Anyone that calls a tax by any other name is a liar. Of course Republicans refuse to call a tax a tax because that is the way of their kind. Too bad they forced the ACA down our throats.

Re: Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762101)

What are you talking about.It was passed by Dems,remember Pelosi "pass it before you read it"
You can't be that thick
'

Re: Sigh (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47762119)

how did SCOTUS declare it a tax when it wasnt wriiten up as one in the law? How do they have the leeway to change the definition of something in a ruling?

Basically, because that's how the government defended it. SCOTUS didn't come up with it themselves, the Attorney General said that was how the Federal government had the authority to impose it, because the Constitution gives them the power to tax.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761815)

They get paid by Comcast. To them, they just need to word it so the people think its good for them, or bury laws in some unreadable 2000 page bill.

Re:Sigh (2)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 2 months ago | (#47761843)

I have no faith that the government won't fall for this blatant lie.

I have no desire to defend Comcast. However, I think it's a bit strong to call it a "blatant lie." What I would call it is "highly disingenuous."

Comcast says there's no cap: they won't stop sending you bits, they'll just charge you more if you exceed a threshold. Of course, their definition of "cap" is a thin disguise over their real intent, which is to discourage heavy usage of their network. It sucks, but it is tenable.

Re:Sigh (3)

Predius (560344) | about 2 months ago | (#47761863)

I want to say this was all debated once in the past back in the dialup era. If you advertised 'unlimited' dialup, you had to deliver and couldn't back door in per hour charges, etc. What makes this any different?

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 months ago | (#47762027)

This is done in Australia with virtually every single ISP with one tiny exception.

The quota you have is in big print right next to the price.

If you don't tell people what the quota is (in a fair way) then blatant lie does cover it quite nicely.

Re: Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761909)

War is peace
Hate is love
Your petty existance is made better bybtje limits imposed on you
Joy is available in the pain you feel. Open yourself to the joy we bring you.
Pay your bill. NOW

I get it. (4, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 2 months ago | (#47761525)

I have access to unlimited amounts of petrol because I am allowed to purchase as many tanks as I need.

Re:I get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761827)

I have access to unlimited amounts of petrol because I am allowed to purchase as many tanks as I need.

Thank you very much for not calling it gas. My car does not run on LPG.

Re: I get it. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761901)

"Gas" is short for Gasoline, just like "Petrol" is short for Petroleum.

Re:I get it. (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#47761973)

I have access to unlimited amounts of petrol because I am allowed to purchase as many tanks as I need.

Works for the US military, with more tanks you can acquire more oil...

Re:I get it. (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 2 months ago | (#47761979)

I didn't even mean it that way. But it works.

frist psot (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761535)

first post courtesy of my high speed comscat connection!

Monopolistic thuggish behavior (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761537)

We need the government to build fiber to every residence in America and lease the glass to anyone that wants it.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761627)

And then we could enjoy monopolistic thuggish behavior from the government instead!

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 months ago | (#47761647)

Unlikely. Price out your cable bill compared to your water or gas bill.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47761825)

Unlikely. Price out your cable bill compared to your water or gas bill.

I'm not actually sure what your point is. My water bill is less than half of my recently-cut-by-$60 Comcast bill. Heck, until we cut back on our Comcast "services", their bill was threatening to approach our electricity bill.

and yet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761849)

and yet that computer dont do the laundry, light the house , cook your food, and run every other appliance.

Re:and yet (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47761941)

Right.

The way Slashdot hid a -1 comment made it appear as if the post I was responding to was intended as a "the government would be worse" post, while in truth it was in response to such a post.

Re:and yet (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47762123)

93 Escort Wagon wrote:

The way Slashdot hid a -1 comment made it appear as if

If you're replying to a post with a low score, especially Anonymous Coward, it may be a good idea to take a page from e-mail standard practice and state the nickname of the poster to whom you're replying. To fully avoid confusion, it might help to add multiple levels of quoting to provide enough context to interpret your post correctly even in isolation.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762037)

That is exactly his point. If the choice is between a "free enterprise" monopoly like Comcast and a "government" monopoly like electricity or water, then the government monopoly is almost always less bad.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (4, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 months ago | (#47761659)

Because those jackbooted thugs at the energy company ... wait, no. They're pretty reasonable.
You were talking about the monopolistic thugs that provide my municipal garbage collection service? No, actually that's pretty cheap too.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47761741)

For me it goes like this:

Electric company - thug
Water company - thug
Gas company - ok
Cable company - thug
Wireless company - thug
Phone company - thug (stopped using 8 years ago because they wouldn't repair their lines)
Trash company - ok

So there are 7 private companies I deal with for important services. FIVE of them are monopolistic thugs that do things like sending bills without reading the meters and fail to keep their infrastructure in reasonable repair (try having to boil water for two weeks because the water company didn't repair their treatment facility after a storm damaged it years ago and see what your opinion on this is).

These state sanctioned monopolies are the children of Satan. Or maybe Eris. They get into the regulators knickers and generally then do anything they please.

Comcast is now bidding to own the interwebs. Tell whoever you can that this would be a disaster for America.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761813)

You pay a private company for water? Where is this Randian paradise in which you live?

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761845)

this would be a disaster for America, and CONcast.

Why is it no surprise we are suppose to live in a "free country", " free market" and yet our politicians are pretty much hand puppets just shove your money up their ass and make them dance. And people keep voting for this baboons, and allowing industries and corporations to pretty much OWN them.

I think the only hope we have right now is if enough yuppies get together and actually do something Gaagle has failed at, create another ISP service that is free, open, fast, and cheap.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761781)

Good, upfront, outright, and honest.

Never a complaint.

Unlike the cable company.

Wait, what, you don't have a government you trust?

Then get out a gun, and start shooting them.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761785)

OK!

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761833)

Yea, just like our electricity, oh wait. I mean like telephone service, no. Television, that's it, oops. Can't say water or sewer either, I live out of town and have a well, septic, and private trash pickup.

Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761913)

We need the government to build fiber to every residence in America and lease the glass to anyone that wants it.

Learn your history. The government already paid the LECs a couple hundred billion to do this years ago.

They squandered it all instead.

Now the taxpayers are left holding that bag and some of the worst broadband infrastructure on the planet.

come on Google Fiber (5, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 months ago | (#47761539)

everywhere Google Fiber has set up shop has completely changed the landscape of what these legacy internet providers offer. Google's rollout cannot happen fast enough and even if comcast matches it people will still dump them due to these types of policies.

Re:come on Google Fiber (3, Informative)

machineghost (622031) | about 2 months ago | (#47761587)

The problem is, Google Fiber isn't some product they're rolling out slowly, but eventually to the whole country. Instead, it's jut one of their little experiments. As much as we'd all love them to, Google has expressed no interest in becoming America's ISP (or at least not any time soon).

Re:come on Google Fiber (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761711)

Google is fast becoming Xerox PARC. One can only hope that in 20 years we have another trio of silicon valley pirates to take the ideas and make them reality. Xerox was once king of the world with a very long term one trick pony (The Xerox machine, of course). Google has a long-term one trick pony (turn their users into a product they market and sell to others), and a lot of promising tech that they keep behind closed doors, occasionally allowing a few items to escape for whatever reason, but not for long.

Oh well, as a BOFH, I never liked their google's "products" anyways.

Re:come on Google Fiber (5, Insightful)

dontbemad (2683011) | about 2 months ago | (#47761609)

Atlanta resident, here.
I'm currently paying Comcast a pretty hefty premium for 50 Mbps speeds with a 300 Gb cap every month (which is pretty easy to reach when you torrent and stream a good deal). Google Fiber is possibly coming here in the next year or so, and I can not be happier about it. Even with Google's "reckless spying", supposed GFiber outages, and everything else, what Google is really doing here is a forcing competition in a market that hasn't seen the legitimate face of that... well... ever.

Re:come on Google Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761719)

But that would upset the free market for internet access that we currently enjoy thanks to the hard work of Comcast and Verizon.

If you know what's good for you then you won't rock the boat, Mr. Marxist.

Re:come on Google Fiber (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47761837)

Do you even know what you are talking about?

What he mentioned about google fiber is the epitome of free market.

Re:come on Google Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761923)

your sarcasm detector needs checking

Re:come on Google Fiber (4, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | about 2 months ago | (#47761791)

Is there anyone here who is using Google Fiber?

I would be curious to know how well home servers (www, email, SSH) perform when on this, especially given Google Fiber's original prohibitive TOS and Google's desire for you to keep everything on their servers. I see they have updated their TOS since the EFF kicked up a stink, but would like to hear from anyone who is actually using it.

Re:come on Google Fiber (-1, Troll)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about 2 months ago | (#47761859)

Yah! Larry fucking page the Jewish billionaire and his Jewish billionaire partner and his mainly Jewish employees can be in charge of my entire internet connection. They won't be shipping off data to their homeland, Israel, for nefarious purposes like spying on every single US citizen perhaps to blackmail those who rise to high office using the extremely personal and all encompassing data transmitted over the google wires with encryption chosen specifically to be readable by google ... will they?

Re:come on Google Fiber (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47762079)

Everywhere huh? Google Fiber serves less than 10,000 people (last I checked) out of over 300 million in this country. Google shows up in a town, then asks people to sign up, and only installs where the capacity is concentrated. This ensures the highest amount of profit possible. I keep coming into these threads and trying to explain this but Slashdot seems to be completely oblivious to how ISPs work. Yes, to the tiny part of the country google is offering service they are doing great. But they are never coming to your house... not unless you live in a major metropolitan area. The problem with internet access in this country is not located where Google is offering service. When some rural town gets Google fiber, let me know... then they'll be on to something. But this? They're offering service in areas that are already flooded with ISP options, this is not progress.

But what of Netflix (5, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47761543)

So, what will Netflix do when a customer can't get access to the data that they paid Comcast to deliver to said customer?

Re:But what of Netflix (3, Informative)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 months ago | (#47761645)

Comcast is getting to double-dip from Netflix with the new agreement you mentioned... why not go for the triple dip and charge customers extra on top of the extra they're charging Netflix, on top of the "unlimited" plans they're already selling.

They want websites to pay for exempt status (2)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47761715)

Comcast wants to do what AT&T does -- pressure 3rd party service providers, such as Netflix, to pay a "fee" in exchange for their traffic being exempted from monthly usage limits.

Re:But what of Netflix (1)

Technician (215283) | about 2 months ago | (#47762025)

They could start driving the customers to the competition. Some loss is acceptable to keep average selling price up, but there is a limit.

Wait... (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 months ago | (#47762045)

What competition?

Re:But what of Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761691)

According to the astroturfing ISP shills here like alen and charliemopps, Netflix simply needs to pay Comcast more money. Then some more (followed by even more) until Comcast+Verizon are equivalent to the AT&T of the '80s.

Re:But what of Netflix (1)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47761731)

Comcast will, in that hypothetical case, pressure Netflix into paying for their traffic to be exempt. Sounds a heck of a lot like a clever way to get around any potential "net neutrality" legislation.

It's not money laundring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761557)

The money was just as dirty afterwards.

Re:It's not money laundring (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47761925)

The money was just as dirty afterwards.

When you're arrogant to stand in the face of government and call a data cap anything but, there's no need for laundering.

Semantics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761563)

Yes, it's technically not a cap because you can exceed it. No, this argument didn't work for cellular carriers. Bill shock was invented by AT&T first.

Re:Semantics (5, Insightful)

crbowman (7970) | about 2 months ago | (#47761669)

If you claim (in large print) to be selling me unlimited internet access and are then charging me more when I go over some limit, then yes it's a cap, and the FTC dam well ought to be going in and bitch slapping any company doing this type of thing even if they put an asterix with words in tiny print to the effect of "when we say unlimited what we really mean is as long as you don't exceed the limits we actually put on it"

A speed limit (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 2 months ago | (#47761967)

A speed limit, with the 50GB for $10 penalties being repeated speeding tickets.

What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (2)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47761579)

And in most areas, how "full" is the coax line between my house and the fiber node? Ie, how much of the usable coax bandwidth has been allocated to cable channels, on-demand viewing, phone service, alarm monitoring, and Internet access?

Has switching from NTSC analog to all those HD channels (even though they are compressed, etc) been a net gain in usable bandwidth on the coax or just a wash?

I always just wonder if Comcast isn't just trying to keep that coax cable capable of handing TV and Internet by various means of suppressing bandwidth consumption on Internet usage.

The suck for Comcast is when that coax cable "runs out" of bandwidth and there's no room to cram yet another HD sports channel on. A project to migrate from coax to fiber would be a total nightmare for them.

I'm not trying to defend or justify anything they do, I'm sure it's at least half oriented towards nickle and diming and profiting off of manufactured scarcity but coax cable shared by many dwellings seems like a major bottleneck that will eventually have to be addressed and it will not be cheap.

Re:What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (4, Informative)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761777)

If I recall correctly, the same amount of space a television channel uses is around 10-12Mb/s of continuous data. Current modems can bond 12+ channels. The more that people stream instead of requiring live tv, the more channels can be allocated to internet. Each modem can be configured to use different channels. While there is one piece of wire from the street to your house, there are many piece of coax AND backup unused cable throughout your neighborhood. Each neighborhood has a junction with bazoodles of cable to it and probably fiber.

So the short answer is they can allocate gigabits of data streams in your neighborhood, and with numerous backbone options from there to the main office they have all the bandwidth they need for the foreseeable future. And it doesn't 'run out', it just gets slower at the shared wire level for the user. Which is why netflix looks like crap at 7PM every night.

Re:What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (2)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47761787)

Cable internet doesn't require every modem in a town to share the same limited spectrum. Similar to the way DSLAMs would be put into each neighborhood to terminate DSL, cable companies use CMTS (cable modem termination systems). The cable company deploys HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) boxes which each contain a CMTS; each of these can serve several thousand cable modems, depending mostly on the amount of available channels (read: not used for TV) for use on the coax and the amount of bandwidth being allotted to each modem. This system still requires *some* fiber, but far less than FTTH. This configuration also allows for each HFC to have multiple CMTS units inside it -- so as bandwidth requirements per household rise the cable company can add more CMTSs and further subdivide the networks.

Depends on a lot of things (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 months ago | (#47761869)

The main question is how many channels are allocated for DOCSIS. Each channel gets you about 38mbps of bandwidth, though more can be had on newer standards with 4096QAM (if the SNR is good enough to support it). So if there's 4 downstream channels then a max of about 152mbps total down (upstream is separate).

How many channels can they add? Not sure with current DOCSIS specs, but the wire limits are either 600mhz for old systems, or 1ghz for most new ones. So you cold probably get in the range of 166 total channels or 6gbps or so. Of course in reality, some of those channels have to go to TV and so on.

Now DOCSIS 3.1 is adding new methods for operation and supposedly will pull 10gbps down. Not sure how much of that is tested and how much of that is pipe dream but it is what the spec claims.

Re:What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#47762095)

Well, from the looks of it a coax cable can carry anywhere from 1000-1500 6MHz channels @ 42.88 Mbit/s so 42-63 Gbit/s, subtract TV channels (200 @ 10 Mbit? = 2 Gbit/s), divide by number of subscribers sharing the rest. It shouldn't take that much money to cut a loop in half though, just pick a midpoint and run two coax cables straight to the central office. Considering how rapidly things progress with competition I really doubt there's any technical difficulty in delivering more.

data burqa? (5, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 months ago | (#47761585)

cap/burka/asshat...whatever.

Unlimited data = unlimited money?? (1)

wyoung76 (764124) | about 2 months ago | (#47761617)

Right.. in their world, that's perfectly reasonable to call it an unlimited plan...

Like it or not Comcast is correct (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 2 months ago | (#47761649)

Like it or not Comcast is correct. They don't have caps, they don't shut the people who go over their allotted bandwidth. They make them pay for going over the allotment. Word games but Comcast in this point they are right. But they are doing so much more wrong, like steal peoples electricity and make them pay for the privilege everything they do is bad lol.

Re:Like it or not Comcast is correct (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 months ago | (#47761681)

The problem becomes the sales pitch: "Unlimited Internet, No data caps... $100"

And an extra $20 for going over the unlimited threshold

And another $40 penalty for consecutive over-your-threshold months

Pre-emptive stance prior to 4K TV services (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761673)

I suspect the plan is to get these "Caps" in place prior to broader adoption of 4K TV services. Once 4K catches on the users will have a choice of routinely exceeding their 300GB/month limit or buying their 4K content from Comcast who will likely not count their content toward the monthly data limit. Might be a nice way to tilt business away from other content providers such as Amazon, Vudu, etc.

Regarding these "Caps" I had quite the conversation with Comcast before I dropped them and had to settle for DSL without a cap. First of all, the cap kicks in at 300GB/month, after that you are charged $10 for each subsequent 50GB allotment. This rate is higher than the $/GB before you exceed their limit. There is no rollover for unused GB's. So, if you go on vacation and only use 100GB in August you can not carry the unused amount into July or subsequent months.

The plan is like cell phone plans years ago. Higher, 'gotcha' rates if you go over. No rollover minutes. You can buy business service from Comcast at a higher rate, a 2 year obligation, and they must own the modem. This effectively doubles your monthly rate before they started the unlimited plan you used to have before the limits were imposed.

I think it is fare to charge for higher usage. However, the overage fees are prohibitive and will subsequently block the open adoption of future bandwidth intensive services for vendors other than Comcast. I am hoping a new wireless standard will jump past Comcast's copper infrastructure.

Re:Pre-emptive stance prior to 4K TV services (1)

TFlan91 (2615727) | about 2 months ago | (#47761749)

>> So, if you go on vacation and only use 100GB in August you can not carry the unused amount into July or subsequent months.

Cause the calendar is, if I may, counter-calendar now?

Refund Time (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 months ago | (#47761683)

So Comcast won't mind refunding all those fees for over data use. Hello class action lawsuit and government sanctions!

Brilliant (4, Insightful)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47761729)

I once run the IT department of an ISP, and data caps were a substancial source of the revenue. Lets say it could reach to 1/3 of our Internet net revenue, some months exceeding it. To be fair, at the time the international bandwidth was severely constrained, and in a post p2p world, you would have a change without some form of control. However, we were very clear about it, those were data caps, period.What I should call it nowadays then? Voluntary taxes? Net speeding fine? Tax for changing to the competition? One is always learning...

Re:Brilliant (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 months ago | (#47761965)

.... those were data caps, period.What I should call it nowadays then? Voluntary taxes? Net speeding fine? Tax for changing to the competition? One is always learning...

I think the proper business terminology here is 'fucking the customer'.

Its all a zero sum game (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 months ago | (#47761751)

Cable tv is a leaking ship and losing subscribers by the day. In a few years most content will be streamed. If you are losing money on the television end of the business, you have to make it up on the streaming end. Satellite is the same except they don't have the kind of internet end that comcast has. This is why Dish is doing the 'over the top' offering later this year. They're going to offer 'basic cable' as a streaming, non satellite option. This is why comcast is buying time warner. They'll basically own the pipe and will jack up the price to offset declining tv revenues and the more you 'watch', the more you'll pay.

We don't have the 300M cap here yet, but we will and comcast is the only high speed provider anywhere in my county. They also charge more here than they do where uverse/verizon/dsl is available.

I had considered cutting the cord this year and going with a big antenna I have in my attic (83 channels), netflix/hulu/amazon and some specific channel streaming (TNT, Disney) to save some $$$. But then I saw what comcast was doing with the caps and extra charges in other areas and realized I'd just be paying $120+ for internet instead of $60 for internet and $60 for tv.

Since the head of the FCC is the former head of the cable lobby and the head of the cable lobby is the former head of comcast, it looks like the political revolving door will assure that this will come to fruition.

Google will never run fiber to anywhere near a majority of homes. The phone company doesn't even offer DSL in that broad a manner.

Re: Its all a zero sum game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761817)

It's probably not Google's goal to run fiber to everyone. They really want the high density areas ( read that business customers ) and that scares the shit out of folks like AT&T.

It is no coincidence they are rolling out Gigabit connections at every location where they have a fiber presence. The thought of Google taking their customers away scares the hell out of them.

Mafia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761753)

...and the mafia will tell you that "extortion" is "protection" and that "murder" is "cleaning up the mess".

There is no cap if you have money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761797)

We'll give you a 100$/month internet that is 800x slower than what they're rolling out in Korea as long as you stay below a couple gigabytes. Then there is no cap if you're willing to pay extra money per gigabyte past that. See no cap!

All lies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761803)

Look, if you say the customers need to pay more once they exceed a certain amount, that's what we call a "cap". If anything goes right up to that magical number and suddenly your wallet catches on fire, it's a cap. If you didn't have a cap, you wouldn't be charging anybody anything for those extra bytes.

one word for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761839)

SCAM

Kinda like speed limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761853)

Sure, you can drive as fast as you want. However, if you travel from point A to point B at a rate quicker than 65MPH, we will charge you a fee. If you travel at a rate quicker than 80MPH, we will charge a greater fee and arbitrarily revoke your driving privileges.

Captcha: extort

So Comcast is doing Cellular? (1)

mitcheli (894743) | about 2 months ago | (#47761875)

Otherwise I think they got themselves all confuzzled. Cable modems and the such are unlimited. I guess alongside that award winning customer support recently documented [youtube.com] and here [youtube.com] and here [youtube.com] , folks might want to seriously consider their Cox business.

First you pay for speed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47761877)

Then you pay again for data!

Such lying assholes ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47761997)

"effectively offer unlimited usage of our services because customers will have the ability to buy as much data as they want."

So our unlimited isn't unlimited, and our caps aren't caps.

This is like saying you have an all you can eat restaurant, where you pay for everything you eat individually under the notion that you can buy all you want.

This is lying to consumers, deceptive marketing, and just plain bullshit.

If the FTC or someone isn't giving them the smack down on this, then we can pretty much expect corporations to start making up their own meanings for words and getting away with it.

Greedy bastards.

George Orwell had it wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762009)

It's not the government rewriting reality, it's the corporations.

We have ALWAYS been at war with AT&T-sia.

Let's take a 5 minute Hate Break, k?

not a cap ?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762043)

You transgress a limit, and then there is a penalty. That means that a limit exists.

Whether you choose to call it a cap, a ceiling, a line, or a threshold - it is a cap.
Or a tax.

There are liars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762063)

There are liars, there are damned liars, and then there is Comcast...

I don't have a problem with that (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 months ago | (#47762091)

Customers must pay more if they exceed limits â" but it's not a cap,

That's fine with me, if they'll also give me a refund if I don't reach my limit. After all, fair's fair, right? They estimate how much data I'll use when I sign up, and if I exceed it they charge me extra, if I don't reach it they charge me less.

FiOS (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 months ago | (#47762105)

This is precisely why I go with the lesser of the evils, Verizon FiOS. I wouldn't give Comcast my money if they were the last ISP in the United States. I would simply just go with mobile broadband and stop streaming altogether if I had no alternative to Comcast. Really, all telecom companies are crooks but Comcast takes it to entirely new lows.

tubg18l (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47762133)

a BSD box (a PIII Developers FreeBSD continues Area. It is the It simple, It's going, Usenet. In 1195, guys are usually
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