Friday, August 29, 2008

Comcast instituting a 250 GB bandwidth cap

Just a few days ago, I posted about some online data backup services. These services allow you to back up unlimited amounts of data for a single computer. I also mentioned how my ISP, Comcast, was in the news recently for throttling traffic.

Well, yesterday Comcast announced that starting October 1, they are implementing a bandwidth cap of 250 GB/month for residential customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of data, much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis. Currently, the median monthly data usage by our residential customers is approximately 2 - 3 GB. To put 250 GB of monthly usage in perspective, a customer would have to do any one of the following:
  • Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)
  • Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song)
  • Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)
  • Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)

Not only are they implementing a 250 GB/month bandwidth cap, but they don't provide you with the tools to monitor your own usage!

Obviously, that can greatly interfere with online backup services such as Mozy and Carbonite if you have a lot of data to back up.

But it also hinders digital distribution growth for things such as: music, movies, TV shows, video games, and software. Digital distribution helps the environment because it eliminates the need for the plastic and cardboard boxes that the retail products are sold in. Digital distribution also does not rely on fossel fuel for shipment/delivery of these items.

So by instituting a bandwidth cap, Comcast is basically saying that they aren't concerned about the environment or growth of digital distribution.

Now, I want to be very clear on one thing... I do not download illegal files (copyrighted music, movies, software, etc.). As far as I'm concerned, that is stealing because you are taking something without permission or payment. But I do prefer to obtain as much as possible digitally rather than purchasing the physical product in a store. In this digital era that we are entering, 250 GB can be used up in the blink of an eye.

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