Monday, September 1, 2008

Comcast To Limit Unlimited Usage Exceeding 250 GB per month

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Its now official, Comcast has finally admitted in principle that it does have an invisible usage limit which is not specified but would officially come into force begining October 1st, this year(2008). 

The Philadelphia based Comcast Corp is USA's largest cable operator. Recently, Comcast is facing tremendous problem in dealing with heavy usage of the internet by some subscriber.

This is hampering optimal service to each of the account holders particularly the  internet users in residential blocks. 

Recently the phone and cable companies offering high speed internet services are finding it exceedingly difficult with heavy users. There are some  subscribers who according to the service providers are abusing the liberty to download as much as they can that are clogging the traffic. 

These heavy residential internet users hardly seem to care if what they are doing is actually putting too much of a burden on net traffic that deprives the small users the convenience to surf smoothly. 

With advance in net technology its not surprising any more when people prefer to watch online video, download music, photosharing, transfer of large files and what not, including online TV. 

No wonder these cable service providers have been trying to find ways to manage the large volume of traffic so that the maximum number of subscribers are not put to any kind of difficulty while surfing and downloading files. 

As Web usage has rocketed, driven by the popularity of watching online video, photo-sharing and music downloading services, cable and phone companies have been considering various techniques to limit or manage heavy usage.

It's by sheer frustration that it began to identify incorrigable and pathological internet users that far exceeded the avearge usage by most subscribers. In order to put a curb on these monstrous users Comcast decided to issue warnings in random to whoever they found were seen crossing  the unofficial limit of 250 GB in a single month. They were warned of being penalised by having their subscription terminated if repeated. 

This heavy handedness did not come down too well. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission was flooded with complaints by several consumer groups against Comcast for blocking peer-to-peer applications such as the BitTorrent. To pacify flared tempers the Commission demanded that Comcast make appropriate modification in its network management earlier this month. 

As a stop gap measure Comcast has finally decided that instead of resorting to illegal termination of subscribers it has decided to put a cap on each residential account holder. 

However Comcast is reluctant to admit the exact figure they wish to decide for a cap, which according to them could be flexible depending on the traffic in a particular location. It could be slightly higher than the 250 GB or it could be even much less than that. 

They have vaguely defined "Excessive Users" as anyone  who “downloads the equivalent of 30,000 songs, 250,000 pictures or 13 million emails in a month.” This is equivalent to just 90 GB. 

However as of now the Comcast subscribers are being adviced to keep down the limit to below 250 GB. If at any moment a subscriber is found to exceed the limit, a warning would be issued over the phone to the subscriber. If in a six month time frame  the subscriber fails to check their usage and commits the offence twice their subscription would be terminated for a year as penalty. 

According to some consumer group the 250 GB is sufficient for an average user which is the equivalent of 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movies. 

Comcast are of the opinion that this limit to their unlimited usage would affect only 1% of its 14 million subscribers in USA. The rest 99% would not be affected by such a policy. 

At the end of the year Comcast hopes to revamp its communication management policy. It would instead of demanding a flat fee for a supposedly unlimited usage would now consider pricing its bill according to the amount of usage. 

Till then the heavy users have to move cautiously instead of going on an overdrive and overshoot the limit inadvertently that would attract penalty chages of being debarred by the Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) . 

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