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Comcast May Raise Prices On "Internet Hogs"

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the easier-than-raising-actual-hogs dept.

News 578

lunartik writes: "According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast may raise rates on users of their @home service who download a significant amount of audio or video files. Comcast claims that 1 percent of users use 30 percent of capacity. With the flat fee possibly flying out the window for users who utilize the service's speed, one wonders if US broadband is heading the same way as the Aussies." Time Warner has said much the same, and the spiral has probably just begun.

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Should help against spammers (2, Interesting)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588215)

Spammers must use loads of bandwidth - this should cut them down.

Re:Should help against spammers (1)

Triskaidekaphobia (580254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588239)

Not really. A million messages of a kilobyte each is only 1Gb; that's not many movies.

They'll probably get disconnected because of complaints before they hit bandwidth limits.

Re:Should help against spammers (2, Insightful)

MarvinMouse (323641) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588255)

Well, actually it might lead to just more costs for us. As spammers will take up our bandwidth as well as their own. Therefore, each message we receive will cost us more money.

Thus, I could easily see that a per bandwidth charge will lead to anti-spam legislation, or better blocking by ISPs.

(IMHO, as always)

Re:Should help against spammers (2, Interesting)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588381)

However,
This will give us legal recourse for lawsuits.
Not only are they wasting our time, they are wasting our money. While the actual damages may be very, very small, punitive damages are what kills.

Re:Should help against spammers (2)

saveth (416302) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588259)

The abstract says the following.

Comcast may raise rates on users of their @home service who download a significant amount of audio or video files.

Spammers typically don't transmit audio or video; it's usually text. However, if Comcast decides to go forward and raise fees for those who transmit a significant amount of data, rather than just audio and video, it could help reduce the amount of spam sent through their system. However, if spam really works, then a small hike in fees is not going to deter the large-scale spammers, anyway.

similar logic should apply to driving (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588271)

suppose I only download my text-email, and I only pull 2 megs. per month, I should pay a pro-rated amount for what I use. Equally so, if I only drive 100 miles per month, I should pay a pro-rated insurance fee. If you disagree, you must be a Nazi, or a share holder in an insurance company. If this means I have to have metered internet usage, or metered driving, just like I have metered electricity usage, then so be it.

It's only because they have a monopoly (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588216)

that they get away with this.

Re:It's only because they have a monopoly (5, Insightful)

Matthew Luckie (173043) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588242)

bullshit.

it costs money to provide data. ISPs that used to offer flat rate 128k up/down DSL in New Zealand have realised that it costs far too much to support P2P piracy and simply allow people an amount of international data. For example, I get 10GB a month.

The 1% that article quotes are subsidised by the other 99%. I, for one, don't want to subsidise them.

you forget that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588327)

New Zealand is a shitty little country. Bunch of little Nazi fags.

Re:It's only because they have a monopoly (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588345)

bullshit bullshit.

bandwidth does cost money, that's true. But customers insist on flat rates when they have a choice. In Comcast territory, no choice -> ability to charge for usage.

Perfect Solution: (1)

SPiKe (19306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588219)

Get a DS1 to your house. If you live in a downtown area, you may be able to cut a zero mile deal and resell to your neighbors.

Then hog the internet all you want.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588220)

fp

logged in crapflooders suck fat cock.. niggers

try 4th (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588243)

dumbass.

Its linux users fault! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588223)

Downloading all those isos.

Re:Its linux users fault! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588249)

There's much more people downloading isos of windows than linux.

nigguh plz (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588231)

irc.ediction.org #ediction

this for all my dead homies

Pareto's Principle: The 80-20 Rule (5, Insightful)

webword (82711) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588232)

Pareto's Principle: The 80-20 Rule [shu.edu]

"Pareto's rule states that a small number of causes is responsible for a large percentage of the effect, in a ratio of about 20:80. Expressed in a management context, 20% of a person's effort generates 80% of the person's results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one's results absorb 80% of one's resources or efforts."

Re:Pareto's Principle: The 80-20 Rule (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588310)

We all know this, and we also all know that it is a damned convenient lie that can apply to only everything when used on selected specifics with no regard to accuracy. I first heard it at a f'ing business seminar from some slick a-hole who tried to sell us onto a bunch of stale catch phrases like that.

I guess my question is:

Shut up webword, unless you have something useful to say.

Disgraceful (4, Funny)

drsquare (530038) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588236)

How dare they? I mean, why the hell should people who cost them more money have to pay more? Don't they realise that these noble, honourable souls constantly downloading gigabytes upon gigabytes of MP3s and porn deserve a free ride?

Re:Disgraceful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588337)

Don't forget the movie piracy! Because information wants to be free (to rich middle-class college kids who could afford it anyway)!

Re:Disgraceful (3, Insightful)

PlaysWithMatches (531546) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588357)

Don't they realise that these noble, honourable souls constantly downloading gigabytes upon gigabytes of MP3s and porn deserve a free ride?

No, but I'm already paying by the month [emusic.com] for my MP3s. And Comcast is already gouging me for $55 each month for the cable modem.

The connection is shitty, with frequent lag spikes. Ever had a Google search page stall while loading? It's pretty sad, and I experience it multiple times every day. $55 is already outrageous for the crap quality of the connection they give me, and now I'll be expected to pay more for those laggy, stalling downloads of MP3s I've already paid for.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Re:Disgraceful (4, Interesting)

zaffir (546764) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588364)

This is just comcast covering up bad planning, or making an excuse to rape the customer and cut back their costs.

When you sign up for their service, you pay for a certain speed for a certain ammount of $/month. Whether or not you use that is your business - you paid for it, its yours to use. If comcast is running out of bandwidth, its their fault - they oversold without proper planning. This will "solve" that problem. If they want to cut back on bandwidth in order to save money, this will help. Their greediness is an excuse to fuck the consumer in the ass.

Why is comcast doing this for JUST video and music? Did the RI/MPAA threaten them?

Who cares if i download alot of music and videos? What if i have alot of friends who do their own electronic music? What if every relative i know posts three hour long iMovies of them and their kids to the web, and i want to download that? How is that different from a Linux geek downloading 10 distribution isos? Comcast is acting like they know the answer. What, 200 three-meg MP3s somehow costs them more bandwidth than a 600 meg RedHat iso? Bits are bits. If someone wanted to get around this, just download everything as a .txt and change it to .mp3 (at least for those in the Windows world).

Of course, later on in the article, they talk about people hosting their own webservers, and that they are the people putting strain on the network. If that's even true, what does that have to do with my movie and music downloads?

This is one of the most asinine ideas i've ever heard of.

Re:Disgraceful (5, Interesting)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588371)

I don't mind paying for what I use - I think that it IS deceitful that they (and other ISPs) advertise "unlimited internet". Everytime I hear a comcast commercial on the radio, they're advertising on how much stuff you can get with "low cost, unlimited internet!" They're full of shit.

* Unlimited Use for a Flat Monthly Fee
(plus applicable franchise fees and taxes)
* Up to 7 Email Addresses
* 25 MB of Personal Webspace
* Exciting, new homepage - all of your favorites: news, weather, stocks, etc. Plus, exclusive broadband content featuring streaming video and high-quality sound
* "My File Locker" Web storage space for files like MP3s, digital photos and more (NEW feature!)
* Ability to publish personal web pages
* Round-the-clock Customer Service - dedicated Internet specialists available online or by phone
* Member Services - account management, FAQs, and trouble-shooting information are just a click away
* Additional fees may apply


If they're trying to be profitable, why do they offer all of this junk?

I would be that it costs more to maintain this My File Locker, comcast.net "portal", and other garbage than it costs them from 'heavy users'. Why do they feel they need to have streaming video in their portal page? And they're worried about bandwidth costs?

Don't worry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588238)

The riaa will kick their asses until they look like this [hick.org]

Re:Don't worry (1)

dopefish3 (251821) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588257)

Uuugh! Please people don't click on the above link! If any of you know what Goatse.cx is, Then not clicking on it might save you the blinding!

(Please don't vote me down! I'm just warning the innocent!)

Re:Don't worry (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588278)

It's a cartoon of one of those extendafist thingy's punching Tom of Tom & Jerry fame. Nice try, but the moderators are way too smart to fall for your trick.

just a ploy (3, Insightful)

e aubin (121373) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588241)

I'd be all for it if it wasn't just an excuse to raise prices.

"Comcast, however, has no immediate plans to offer a lower-priced, slower service. David N. Watson, Comcast Cable Communications Inc.'s senior vice president of marketing, sales and customer service, said at a recent conference that it would be "pretty premature" for the company to offer a lower-priced broadband service, given that its current offering is selling well."

Not sure about this. (2, Insightful)

MarvinMouse (323641) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588244)

I know that I hate the fact that I am going to probably end up paying more for my highspeed connection, but I can see the reasons for charging extra for bandwidth users. A lot of current services we use charge base on usage, why shouldn't the internet? It might lead to a better underlying architecture and better speeds eventually for everyone.

The big question to ask is whether this extra money they earn is going to be put into improving the system that they currently have, and thus over time improve service for all of their customers.

(This is all IMHO, meaning no offense to anyone)

This should be illegal (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588246)

People pay for their access not for the latency, but for the bandwidth. These companies don't have limits on their user contracts, to enforce imaginary clauses is illegal. Someone should sue their asses. Besides, the pipes are already there, using them costs no extra money to the providers, especially for a company like comcast.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588273)

These companies all have clauses in their contracts that they can change the conditions any time they feel like, in any way, and your power as a consumer is to either choose to cancel the service, or accept the changes.

As far as the "pipes are already there", that is ridiculous. Comcast and friends have been busy upgrading bandwidth in a perpetual cycle as a new flurry of "my connection is so slow! [because my neighbour is a pr0n hound]" complaints arise. Companies have to pay for peering as well which costs an arm and a leg. If you think this is so easy and so cheap, please tell me when you've set up your unmetered access connection for cheaper than them. Until then I'm pretty grateful that I have a faster than T1 connection for 1/30th the price.

Re:This should be illegal (2)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588302)

No restricted use?

I'm sure that in every single one of those contracts there is a clause that states they are allowed to revise pricing and other policies without consulting the customer.

Boy, this sure wouldn't be a problem if there were competition, would it? Silly government-allowed telco monopolies.

Re:This should be illegal (1)

zaphod123 (219697) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588383)

Those pipes that are already there cost money. A lot of money. The isp I work for was recently looking for another DS3. The best price we could find for a 45mb pipe was $200 per megabit.

About Time Warner ... (5, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588247)

I put this in the previous /. article mentioned in this article -- it still seems relevant, so I'm including it again ...
An official response to this ... by dougmc on Tuesday April 09, @03:05PM (#3311828) This has been discussed in the Austin, TX `cable' mailing list, and this was added by Peter Gregg, who's a manager of some sort at the local TW office --
This was something that was mentioned in passing months and months ago. We immediately screamed and didn't hear another word. I would be very surprised if this were accurate. There would need to be a whole new polling infrastructure on the network as well as billing interfaces not to mention all of the legal stuff that would need to be done. I will forward the article to corp and see what kind of response I get. I would guess that as long as another ISP were on our pipe, then they would have to abide by the agreement also. At any rate, I will try to get a better answer for you as soon as I can. Don't freak out until then.....lol.

What's the problem with this? (4, Insightful)

trenton (53581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588248)

This is an infant industry (high speed residential access), so they're still tweaking the pricing in order to make money. Remember, you have to make money eventually or you'll go out of business. No one will pay for 0Mbps.

If you don't like their prices, change providers. If no provider has prices you like, then what you're asking for probably isn't financially viable. (Yes, we all want BMWs for $17,000, but that isn't going to happen.)

Plus, if they wanted to be a total bastards, they could continue to jack up the rates until those 1% left. If those top 1% left, they could have 30% more capacity at a cost of only 1% of their revenue. Then, they could add 30% more customers with a usage profile like the other 99%. That seems like good business to me. It's also called increasing shareholder value.

Re:What's the problem with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588263)

> (Yes, we all want BMWs for $17,000, but that isn't going to happen.)

Its called a Mini-Cooper, and its about $17,000.

Re:What's the problem with this? (2)

trenton (53581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588332)

Go try to buy one of these. Dealers are getting MSRP + 10k.

Re:What's the problem with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588269)

That 1% might be using 30 % capacity, but most likely they have at least 40% FREE capacity left.

sheesh!

Re:What's the problem with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588346)

Yes, we all want BMWs for $17,000, but that isn't going to happen

It could happen... [autotrader.com]

I'm on Comcast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588252)

... and I'm ready to pay extra for an *outrageous* amount of downloads. But my definition of "outrageous" is probably not the same as theirs. For example, when Comcast separatecd from Excite@home, the new news server (Giganews) put a cap on usenet binaries downloads of 1 GB/month. For extra cost, it is possible to download more. I used to download *massive* amounts of old time radio shows so it would have been reasonable to pay extra for that. I still download usenet binaries songs (1970s and 1980s) a lot, and it turns out that 1 gig is not all that much over the course of a month.

I'm apprehensive about what the limit might be on web browsing/ftp'ing. I download a Linux distribution occasionally. Well, okay, I do it a LOT! :-)

Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588256)

Why do they always assume that it's audio/video files?

Personally, I'm downloading 206,158,430,000 digits of Pi [super-computing.org] . Am I an "internet hog" according to their definition?

Re:Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588266)

"Why do they always assume that it's audio/video files?"

Because 99% of the users out there aren't quite as geeky as you. :-)

Re:Assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588350)

Why don't you download the compressed version of Pi? (c over d). There is no use in downloading the uncompressed version. Just figure the digits for yourself ;)

Do it yourself (2, Interesting)

BELG (4429) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588258)

Actually, this is not as big a problem as a lot of people make it out to be.

Yes, "broadband" is getting more expensive, but more importantly, its getting restricted.

Its not all that hard to get a T1 and share it with neighbors (for a pretty good price), so if prices go up too much, just do that. Of course, youll want to go visit the teenage "leet"-dude across the street with a baseball bat when hes at it if you dont limit the bandwidth, but thats just the way the ISPs feel now.

Flat pricing is obsolete (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588260)

Flat pricing only works in some situations:

-If there is significant overhead to individually billing. For instance for water some municipalities flat charge because the cost of installing water meters at every house is prohibitive. Alternately there can be a significant overhead administratively for some systems (for instance for gas and electricity a guy has to come around reading meters). None of these apply to internet connections where it's trivial to meter usage, and electronic billing has made exceptional billing very cheap.

-When you convince people that they will use far more than they actually will, when in reality you know by experience that they won't. I got a "flat fee" membership for the year to Canada's Wonderland (only the cost of going twice!), yet in reality I know that I'll probably go maybe twice all year. Tonnes of memberships rely on this. Gym memberships force you into the "flat fee" because they know that most people will come for two weeks, and then never come again, yet they're tied in for a year.

-When you're a heavy user and you know that everyone else is subsidizing you. This is the case with (former) @Home's where the bandwidth requirements are overwhelmingly to support a few people, and everyone is ranting and raving about how slow the connection is because Jimmy has a 24/7 gnutella serving running.

The only ones who'll be frothing about how outrageous this is are the people who are abusing the system (the 1%).

Re:Flat pricing is obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588331)

Where will the abuse line be drawn? .ISO traders? Gnutella users? Freenet users? People watching alternative media over the Internet? People tuning in to streaming Internet radio stations? People downloading more than two game demos a week? People upgrading Debian?

There's a lot we're taking for granted with our broadband service... are you so certain you want them to slap a meter on you? I hated watching the clock calling BBSes long-distance on the coast, and I think it'd be a shame to have to do the same now with my Internet service. I don't expect a sustained transfer rate of 1Mbps, and certainly the people who are redlining for days at a time in a mad dash to fill that new 40GB drive could probably use a warning and/or a cap, but I doubt our idea of reasonable usage coincides with the definition some of the providers are contemplating...

Re:Flat pricing is obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588379)

Abusing it? What the fuck are you talking about? They ADVERTISE it as UNLIMITED, so I damn well get it as unlimited. This is not abusing the system, it's paying for a service and expecting to get what you pay for. Shove your self-righteous head up your ass where it belongs.

Bell Sympatico (2, Informative)

darthBear (516970) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588261)

Up here in Canada Sympatico is doing the same thing. Unfortunetly for me my monthly bill is going to go from $30 CDN to $45 CDN and I will be capped at 5GB of upload and 5GB of download a month. Currently I use about doulbe that. They have a 10GB/10GB service but its $70/month. (although it is 3Mbit/640Kbit *drool*).

The price is enough to make me look at other options like dsl.ca that is still offering 1Mbit service for a flat rate of $35 although who knows how long it will last.

I don't disagree that flat rate pricing causes the majority to subsidize the few but I think that 5GB is far to little. I can use that in a month easily and I don't even do any P2P.

Re:Bell Sympatico (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588292)

Rogers followed suit, imposing the same sorts of limits as Bell. I believe Rogers' high speed plan is 5Mbps with a 10GB cap (the speed and the cap don't really mesh well).

I agree that 5GB is far too low, especially given the applications that they suggest in their advertisements (multichannel stereo quality audio and video teleconferencing among multiple parties), going so far as giving out webcams to new sign ups. Hell, 5GB is so low that listening to a 128Kbps internet radio station would fill the quota in 86 hours (2 weeks of workday radio listening).

Re:Bell Sympatico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588315)

Awwww poor lamer. Have to pay more for your crappy content fix? Lame MP3s, warez and video too expensive now? I'm laughing at you, lamer.

Re:Bell Sympatico (1)

rleisti (581240) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588388)

The last time I checked my usage with Sympatico's new tool, I found out that apparently I had downloaded about 20GB worth of data within the last month - leaving me with a bill, in theory, of about $100 CDN! Good thing it doesn't start until June.

The best part is the email they send out, in which is says that 'based on your activity over the last three months, this shouldn't affect you' (paraphrasing).

In theory, it seems reasonable to me to charge based on usage (since I'm fairly certain that ISPs pay their bills based on their member's usage), but not without a fair pricing scheme.

US Goverment may raise taxes on "Money Hogs" (4, Funny)

PeekabooCaribou (544905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588264)

The US government claims that 1% of citizens control 75% of the American wealth. As a result, the government will be raising taxes for those that abuse the middle- and lower-class masses.

Re:US Goverment may raise taxes on "Money Hogs" (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588290)

If Comcast was the US Government, they would penalize the average user by restrictive caps and charge them more.

Only in the good old USA, the warez and pr0n users would get free service!

if comcast was the US government (2, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588306)

1 out of 5 people wouldn't pay taxes, another 1 in 5 would call every tax period to complain about the quality of government service and get a credit amounting to 1/3 of their bill just to keep them quiet, with the rest paying regularly not knowing that if they just stopped doing so, there's a 50-50 shot anyone would notice.

Re:if comcast was the US government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588316)

The bottom 50% pay 1% of the taxes.

Re:if comcast was the US government (2)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588347)

and have about 8% of the wealth.

while the top 1% pays a larger percentage of taxes, they have a *FAR* larger share of the wealth.

the americans getting screwed the worst are middle class single workers, as far as money held / taxes paid.

So tell corporate america to stick it and go co-op (5, Insightful)

xtal (49134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588265)

Damn it! I'm sooo sick of people WHINING here on slashdot. Oh, wait. Slashdot. If you don't like their policies, DON'T USE THEIR SERVICE. If you live in a metro area, go find some high speed hookup, get 10, 20, or 50 guys together in a close area, and set up your own high-speed network. We did this when I was going through university and it worked great. I live in a rural area, and the only way I'll ever see broadband again is if I take it upon myself to fix the situtation. Let's see here - 30 guys paying in $50/mo gives you $1500/mo to buy a pipe from or maintain leases on equipment. Do you have twenty people in networking range? How much bandwidth would that get? Could you get more than 30? Who would pay more? How important is your suckage in the long term? Would getting a fat pipe to someone's house, remotely dling your pr0n^h^h^heducational videos via a slower connection, and doing SneakerNet runs suffice?

I thought that america was the land of the "can do" attitude, not the bend-over-and-take-it capital of the world. (and whine about it). Look at what the auzzies are doing to combat the horrible internet and communications rates over there - projects like Sydney Wireless [sydneywireless.com] and others in europe have gone so far as to start laying their own cable. Get out and talk to your neighbours, take the initiative.

It could very well be that the current model doesn't work, because that 1% of users is exceeding the cable companies cost. It could be that you don't even need that much internet connectivity if you establish a well-stocked neighbourhood peer-to-peer net. I know another solution some of the residence dwellers use here is their own 802.11 network that isn't routed onto the campus network, or campus-owned.

If you don't have time, then accept the services offered at the market rate.

Man, I'm in a bad mood this morning. No coffee. But if I see another one of these whining threads, I'm going to scream! Might as well post a anti-MPAA diatribe, follow it up with a spiderman-II article.

Re:So tell corporate america to stick it and go co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588313)

I'm so tired of people complaining about people who complain!

Re:So tell corporate america to stick it and go co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588368)

I'm so tired of people complaining about people who complain about complainers!

Re:So tell corporate america to stick it and go co (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588339)

If you're so sick of people whining, why are you whining about people whining?

Makes sense in that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588267)

internet bandwidth is becoming a utility, like gas or water or electricity.

Accounting-wise, there are two or three ways to disperse costs...via access points or via usage. While I would rather have it be via access point, this model facilitates the habits of abusers. Although I'd rather it not have to come to this, usage-based pricing is probably unavoidable.

Quality of Service... (1)

Pludodog (181200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588275)

Normally I don't have a problem with companies charging more for high bandwidth users, but with the way Comcast has been going lately, they haven't even been able to provide basic service to people. Whereas @home managed to keep speeds fairly good even at peak times, Comcast service intermittantly slows to a crawl at least 5 times a day, and their dns servers are constantly out. They've already capped upload and download speeds to almost nothing, now they're using their own network problems as an excuse to charge more money for the same crappy service.

No alternatives? (1)

Marqui (512962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588279)

Since a large number of Comcast's user rent their modems, Comcast has the ability to throttle them back. Why not identify the "hogs" and simply throttle their modems back. Or is this a way to allow them to raise prices AND throttle back service?

Makes Sense... (4, Insightful)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588281)

Bandiwdth isn't free... I think many Slashdotters will find that REALLY surprising when they get out of college.

Those who use more should pay more. Bandwidth is finite and getting more to the ISP costs them more, which in turn costs everyone more. I'm not going to pay for other people's downloads and I don't expect others to do it for me.

Re:Makes Sense... (2, Insightful)

discstickers (547062) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588373)

Bandwidth isn't free in college! I'm paying 30,000/year!

BSD is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588283)

Bsd is crap! Its so crap infact that the OpenBSD [openbsd.org] project runs on Solaris [netcraft.com]

Bsd is dead
Linux sucks
Mac OS X is expensive
Windows is fucked
Is there any sane OS?
Yes, and its name is MSDOS 1.10

What exactly is wrong with this? (2)

gaj (1933) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588285)

Maybe I'm missing something, but why shouldn't a provider charge more to those who use significantly more? They "cost" more in that capacity must be added sooner that would otherwise be the case for a given subscriber base. That increases capital costs with no corresponding increase in revenue. IOW, it reduces profits.

The obvious solution is to charge the high use costomers more. That will either offset the cost of increased capacity or discourage the additional use, reducing the need for extra capacity.

Of course, IMHO the additional charge for high use costomers should be balanced to not overly discourage them, as they are exactly the users who will drive new, more compelling content, which will bring more users to see the Internet as an important resource (whether for entertainment or other uses), driving up the total user base.

Eventually the threshold for what defines "high use" will be foreced up as the average user requires a consistantly high bandwidth connection. By that time , the current high use customers will have funded (and driven) the development of a system that can supply that bandwidth. There will of course be those who, because of new uses, require more than the current "average" bandwidth, continuing the cycle.

Again, why exactly is this a bad thing?

always blaming the heavy user (1)

jas79 (196511) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588286)

Is it me or are broadband isp always blaming the heavyusers. and are the mayority of users always acepting it, because they aren't part of the so called heavy users.

I doubt that this trick would work in another branche.can you imagine:"we have to raise the price of cola, because some customers drink the whole bottle empty"

and how do we know that it is really 1%? In reality it could 20% or something. If you don't want offer an umlimited service just say that, but don't blame your customers for using a service for which they paid.

Re:always blaming the heavy user (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588301)

Thats a stupid analogy. A more accurate analogy would be something like, soda companies charge a flat rate for access to a huge-ass reservior of soda and a dozen people suck up half of it. So then they decide to raise the charge for those twelve people. Which doesnt seem that unreasonable. But that was still a stupid analogy.

Upstream.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588287)

If their upstream didn't suck so badly (128k), perhaps people would be willing to pay more. I currently pay $300/mo for my 1.1/1.1mb SDSL, and I'm perfectly happy doing so.

It can easily cost $1000/mo for a 1.5/1.5 T1... They could obviously offer the same speed for a much lower price... Use your brains, guys. They're currently trying to market a 'business-grade' cable connection that's 2.0/256 for ~$600/mo. What a load of bullshit. UPSTREAM! UPSTREAM!

Easy Solution. (4, Interesting)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588288)

Go buy your own T-1. The ones I have at work cost $1K/month for a full CIR frame T-1 to BellSouth for Internet. Good SLA and great speed. Then, sell it to your neighbors. When your neighbor's teenage son is downloading pr0n like crazy and using 95% of the shared bandwidth be sure and DO NOT complain! Do not raise their rates! Remember, that's why you left your ISP.

Re:Easy Solution. (1)

netcoyote (545728) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588333)

If you are running a mini IPS, you can put a cap on the teens bandwidth.

Re:Easy Solution. (1)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588358)

When your neighbor's teenage son is downloading pr0n like crazy and using 95% of the shared bandwidth be sure and DO NOT complain! Do not raise their rates!
Just tell the parents--I'm sure that home's bandwidth use would drop dramatically if you did.

Sounds fine to me... (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588289)

I'd rather that I was given the chance to use some upgraded service than have them chopping off my bandwidth with caps. As long as the charges are clearly presented in advance and it's not some unexpected bill at the end of the month this sounds good to me. Wonder if they'll start offering multiple static IP's as an upgrade...

Perhaps they need a way to pay for the lawsuit (1)

dcviper (251826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588295)

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/05/25/12 9226

Cable plans are matching DSL plans (4, Informative)

Boba001 (458898) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588304)

I've used cable modem services for at least 3 years including mediaone, at&t, time warner and hopefully pretty soon charter. I've always recommended it to friends and family over DSL because you get a much higher download rate (200-300KB/s) compared to the normal consumer dsl (75-100KB/s).

In general you paid the same for DSL vs Cable but got more with the cable service. Well, that's changing now. Cable companies have noticed that they are basically giving away a T1 worth of bandwidth for $50/month. They see how the phone company can offer high-end business DSL for $250/month and want to cash in... so they are copying the DSL's price scheme.

Charter Communications is my current cable provider. Their plans are something like this:

256Kb Down / 64Kb Up - $30
768Kb Down / 128Kb Up - $40
1Mb Down / 256Kb Up - $60
1.5Mb Down / 384Kb up - $100

These are very similar to verizon/at&t/etc DSL packages. I figure most of the other cable providers will switch to a similar plan soon. They save bandwidth, make more money and the only people to really complain are the 1% who are causing all the bandwidth problems in the first place. That 1% doesn't have any alternative except for DSL, which has the same pricing plans... and we know they won't go back to dial-up.

same here in AT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588305)

but it's ok. if just some users use a significant amount of the overall bandwidth they should be cut off. nobody needs to get 2 flicks a day or something like that.

How about some consistent editing??? (1, Redundant)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588312)

2002-05-23 12:32:50 Comcast Mulls Heavy-Usage Charges (articles,money) (rejected)

I guess this wasn't newsworthy the day the article actually appeared in the paper, when I submitted it.

I propose a new Slashdot slogan: "Stale News for Nerds, Stuff that mattered a few days ago."

Go ahead and mod me down, I'm at the cap.

~Philly

Re:How about some consistent editing??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588343)

YOU ARE SO COOL!

Re:How about some consistent editing??? (2)

willis (84779) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588366)

Yo --
It's too bad for you that your story didn't get picked,etc. I've had a few turned down, as well...

On the other hand, I've got a feeling that oftentimes they get a whole shitload of duplicate submissions, and it is only by getting more than submission of the same article that they realize that people find it important. In this case, it makes sense to take an article that isn't immediately newsworthy (this is not a huge thing) and wait and see how many article submissions "vote" for it.
It's too bad for you, but hey -- maybe the system works after all.

Where I live... (1)

antirename (556799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588319)

Comcast has never been reliable. Outages lasting several days or several weeks haven't been uncommon. Maybe their infrastructure really CAN'T support thousounds of people running PtP clients without an upgrade... and that's not cheap.

DSL alternative (1)

mikewas (119762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588320)

At least we now have an alternative -- DSL availability is much better in areas served by Comcast. As little as 6 months ago I couldn't get DSL.

Oh yea -- Verizon -- ughh, nevermind!

The problem is choice, not price (2, Insightful)

murr (214674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588322)

IMHO, there is nothing wrong with charging people according to how much bandwidth they use.

The problem with cable pricing is that generally, companies have a monopoly on their areas and therefore users don't have any choice beyond paying whatever rate is decreed or accessing the internet by some other (and often inferior) method.

If the market for cable services were opened, I'd see no problem with companies imposing whatever pricing structure they see fit.

My beef (5, Insightful)

Plasmoid (8367) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588325)

They'll charge the same rate per byte all the time. Information is like electricity. It's cheaper at night.

So if I'm given 10GB/month in downstream then why should I bother to do any large transfers at night? a byte is a byte and I'd rather just leave my computer off. If, on the other hand, they said that bandwidth was free off-peak(after 11pm before 9am) then I could agree with their plan. I would have an incentive to queue files and download them over night, rather than during the day.

A very simple question: (5, Insightful)

Saeger (456549) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588334)

Instead of penalizing us "Internet Hogs" for using the unlimited connection we paid for (as was and is STILL being advertised), why don't these ISPs simply throttle the "hogs" when bandwidth utilization nears 100% during peak usage hours? Isn't this the fairest solution?

It's important to note that you can't "save" bandwidth for later (unlike water or electricity), and the ISP pays for its pipe whether it's saturated or not, so wouldn't this kind of usage-based throttling of an instant resource simply make more sense? The more you use, the less you get (but only when it's scarce).

Is it really so expensive for an ISP to implement this at the headend versus the small difference it takes to account for the number of Gigs you transfer and charging obscene rates for overages, even during offpeak hours?

--

Problems (1)

norwoodites (226775) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588338)

Here are some problems with this:
1) no more downloading iso of GNU/Linux Distubutions.
2) no more downloading developer's tools from Apple
3) no more keeping an local mirror of ftp.kernel.org, gcc.gnu.org's cvs, ftp.gnu.org, ftp.redhat.org, ftp.openbsd.org, and sources.redhat.org's cvs (src, binutils, gdb).
4) no more being able to be linked from /.

Hope they don't do that here (1)

owlicks58 (560207) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588341)

I just realized I run about 33.7 gigs a month upload... eek!

This is very dangerous community wireless networks (1)

kubusja (581677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588342)

Well, this move kills two birds at the same time. First, they get rid of bandwidth hogs. Second people will stop sharing their bandwidth. It will be especially dangerous to wireless communities like Sputnik and similar. Who is going to share bandwidth with strangers if is going to pay for their usage later ? Of course unless wireless communities will introduce some kind of billing. But then the security and authorization in wireless networks will be a problem. BR, Kubus

Where is the problem? (2)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588344)

Imagine what would happen if, say, instead of 1%, it was 3% using their maximum bandwidth. Now 90% of it is gone. Suppose 20% wanted to use maximum bandwidth. Now you ALL lose. If Comcast doesn't do something to cut back excess use no one will be able to use it at all.

Everyone's always complaining about the imbalance of wealth in this country and demanding that the richest 1% should stop controlling 90% of our finances, but as soon as you're in the 1% that gets 30% of the bandwidth it's you're God-given right to steal as much music as possible. Give me a break.

I may be an internet hog but... (1)

MrPippers (576652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588349)

Comcast has hardly been providing good service these days. The upload has been capped to near nothing and the service slows down greatly at random intervals. Perhaps if it was a good service I would be willing to pay more for my 15-20 gigs a month but if they raise the fee now I'm switching to DSL.

Why this is a bad idea (1)

Pyrosophy (259529) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588351)

Of course bandwidth costs money, but if I'm going to be charged for the amount of bandwidth I'm using, I darn well better be in charge of how much bandwidth I'm using. And simply speaking, I'm not -- what if someone decides that I should really see a banner ad featuring Regis' voice telling me about the Tribeca film festival? With lights and electricity, I can just leave them off. Same with gas, heat, air conditioning, phone. But if the content I want demands outrageous bandwidth due to "entrepreneurs" of the internet advertising industry, I have no control over it. Don't even make me go into things like Gator, which eats away a chunk of bandwidth that I'm sure would allow for a couple more "heavy" users.

Secondly, streaming audio and video are big business. Charge people for indiscriminately visiting those sites and those sites will soon cease to be. All those kinds of cites cease to be and only commercial ones are left, or none are left and those selling bandwidth don't have anyone to sell it to.

This is a really, really bad idea and there isn't enough competition in the non-urban marketplace to discourage the trend. I suggest we whine and whine loudly!

Limit the Bandwidth they Use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588352)

Despite what everyone has said, I have not seen anyone mention limiting the resources that these people are using. If they were a real problem they would be do that instead of trying to raise rates. You see raising rates does not guarantee that the amount of bandwidth in use is going to go down. Only that someone is paying for it.

As for people subsidizing other's use that is just non-sense, it is like CPU cycles if they are not being used they are being lost. It is only when usage reaches a peak does it become a problem. If they are not hitting the peak, then noone is losing anything.

Somewhere in there people are assuming that because they are raising the rates, they must be pushing the envelope on their bandwidth, instead of "Gee we want more money!"

Contrary to popular belief, the Internet in't free (2)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588359)

Yes, really bandwidth costs money. The lowest rates I have seen here in Europe at Internet Exchanges are 150 euros/mbit/month, which is about the same in dollars. This is the rate that telco's charge other telco's/ISP's. This allows you to burn up the full 1 mbit continuously. So that amounts to 150Gbyte a month in data. Anybody that sells you anything cheaper than this, is lying, cheating (or in marketing).

Now I know that the marketing of several of these so called broadband companies has been way off. When they speak of unlimited, they mean that you don't run up a phone bill (in Europe) or that you can always leave it on. Not that you can just burn all that your line can do.

The price that you're paying for current broadband is based on the simple arithmetic, that people won't always use all their bandwidth. If they do, the prices should be higher, other wise the ISP is going out of business. If you think you've got a right to use the full 2mbit your DSL offers, either pay the full amount it costs; 300 euros + extra's or you have been delusional and have bought into the marketing hype too much. If you've bought the marketing hype, you're not a bright nerd and you should consider it tuition for the school of life.

Greetings.. off to sleep.

Hmmmm. (1)

thedbp (443047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588360)

I think I might have to re-read my agreement. I'm pretty sure I'm also paying for the right to use my service... not just to have it at my house.

If ISPs start down this road... (4, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588370)

...then people are going to get a lot more perturbed with pop-{up, under, etc.} ads and spam very quickly, because those will be running the meter for things they don't want. (To be sure, the effect is probably minimal compared with the bandwidth I'm eating by listening to Internet radio, but it's having the gratuitous bandwidth usage imposed on you that will be the irritant.)

Speaking of webcasters, I can't help thinking that RIAA would be very happy if metered billing by ISPs went through. A 30Kbytes/sec. feed would be 1.8 Mbyte/min., so a gigabyte in maybe seven hours of listening. You wouldn't even need the insane royalty and record-keeping requirements CARP wanted to impose to kill webcasting, if all the listeners suddenly decide they can't afford to stay tuned in for very long. Then everyone can go back to being force-fed the latest clone band and obediently buying CDs they way they're supposed to...

About fuckin' time (1, Troll)

Kasreyn (233624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588382)

I use my net connection for email and websurfing. I'll be glad when I'm no longer being billed to help cover the bandwidth of people downloading DVD-rips. Metering bandwidth = good.

-Kasreyn

The Devil is in the details (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588391)

I am very happy with my cable ISP - it's been fast and reliable, and as such it has made me happy. If my provider were to decide that they needed to change the pricing structure in order to maintain the current level of service and make a fair profit, I would consider it a fair deal. I would much rather see that than attempts to degrade the service in order to save money.

Nothing new (1)

supafly613 (413120) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588392)

This is old news to us in Ontario, Canada. Both Rogers and Sympatico are implementing what they call a Bandwidth and Usage Tax. If you go over a certain amount you will 'fined'.

I understand that some people are using ALL of their bandwidth ALL of the time but why should the casual user have to suffer for their useage habbits?

It's the capacity that's expensive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588398)

Once the capacity to handle the traffic is installed, it doesn't matter who uses it, or how much. It costs exactly the same to operate.

Communism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3588399)

I don't mean to fall into ESR's hole of ending a conversation by calling some one a communist or a facist (he has a sniglet for either the person that does it, or that point in the conversation), but why shouldn't people pay for what they use.

Whatever you bought yesterday by no means indicates what you should be able to get tomorrow. Business models must alter themselves to stay alive. Unlimited may have seemed like a doable marketing scheme yesterday, but to the providers involved, they could either charge a more reasonable pricing structure, or go out of business like so many of their predecessors.

When will people learn that just because you are a paying customer doesn't matter if you aren't a profitable customer. This isn't bad business, or lack of customer service, this is smart business.

even more illegal :) (0)

negacao (522115) | more than 12 years ago | (#3588401)

Yippee, now it'll be even more illegal for me to download new Britney Spears songs, as I'll have to steal bandwidth to do it! Yay! (I have comcast "high speed internet access" .. capped at 150k/down 5k/up.. Not to mention getting beaten, raped, and tortured by the "Customer Service" department..) No way I'm going to pay extra for my "30%" of the download bandwidth..
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