Comcast trials bandwidth cap meter
After 13 months of bandwidth capping
Comcast has flipped the test switch on a broadband meter that actually tells customers how much bandwidth they're using before they reach the company's 250GB-a-month bandwidth cap.
This morning, the US cable giant announced a pilot launch of the web-based meter in Portland, Oregon, saying it would reach the rest of the country "after a short period."
According to Comcast, the meter measures all data streaming over a user's cable modem. "So, if a customer is using multiple computers and other devices, such as an online gaming console, 'over the net' VoIP applications or devices, or additional wireless devices (such as an iPod Touch), the meter will report data usage for all of those computers and devices combined."
On October 1, 2008, under pressure from the FCC over its surreptitious BitTorrent busting, the US cableco said that it would cap each user's monthly broadband usage at 250GB. The cap is considerably higher than those rolled out by competitors, but many complained there was no way for consumers to know when they were approaching the limit.
Under current policy, Comcast phones customers after they exceed the cap, and if they exceed it again within six months, their accounts are subject to termination.
In the weeks following the rollout of the new cap, a Comcast insider said a user-readable meter would arrive in January 2009. But that didn't happen. And it continued to not happen for 11 months.
But a trial is now underway. Portland users can access the meter by logging into Comcast's online customer center at customer.comcast.com and selecting the “Users and Settings” tab. The "view details" button in the top right hand corner of the screen then takes you to the meter page.
It is refreshed every three hours or so, but it will eventually measure usage for the past three months. ®
Nothing new under the sun
Tiscali had a usage meter in 2005. Then they dropped their cap, and stopped providing the meter.
How much do people use? Who really knows?
Terribly, terribly sad yes?
I don't mind caps.
Caps are fine and dandy. If an ISP has (or rather HAS) to resort to using caps well it says something for its infrastructure, marketing and management techniques.
On the other hand an upper cap seems to be rather, well, lacking symmetry without an equal and equivalent lower cap. Yes?
So for all those iSPs using upper limit caps or whatevers how about they define lower limit caps as well?
Something along the lines of: if your lower cap is breached we will throw money at you. Yes! This means you!
<Yawn> am I awake now? That was a wonderful dream no?
Re: Bandwidth? Usage Capping?
The usage cap appears to be set at 250GB/month, which is, technically, a measure of bandwidth, just not what most of us would consider a useful one.