ISP Data Caps (300GB for Comcast here)

Started Apr 15, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,338
ISP Data Caps (300GB for Comcast here)
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This is a topic that does not come up often here.

But, the trend towards using data caps by ISPs is disturbing to me.

For example, Comcast (xfinity) has a 300GB per month data limit with most of their plans in my area now (and I've had what they refer to as their "Performance" Plan for a number of years/

The service has been fine for the most part, as I suspect most broadband internet plans from other vendors are, too. Of course, if you want internet service with decent speed, using cable to deliver that service, with a DOCSIS 3.0 Cable modem as the interface to it, then you don't have other choices here.

Sure, you could go with a DSL Plan, or even a Satellite based plan for internet access. But, then you're going to be sacrificing speed, or putting up with too much latency, compared to a more popular broadband cable plan from Comcast.

Back to the problem... Comcast has a 300GB monthly limit here for data usage in my area (and they're doing the same thing in many other markets now, with the number of areas impacted by caps increasing as time passes.

So, do not be surprised to find that they're rolling out the same data usage restrictions in your area soon, too.

Here's one of many articles on the subject:

http://www.consumerreports.org/telecom-services/comcast-data-cap-the-isp-wants-you-to-pay-for-netflix-binges/

For those of us that are "cord cutters" for the most part, that can be a huge issue. For example, rather than pay Comcast a small fortune for their premium cable plans (TV versus Internet), I have a "Performance" Broadband Internet Service Plan with them, combined with one of the lower priced Cable TV Plans, without tons of channels included.

So, other than our limited TV plan from Comcast , we use Netflix and Amazon video services for most other needs like Movies, some TV Series, etc. I also take advantage of a number of other services via the Internet on a less frequent basis.

Like many other families, we have a "Smart TV:" that gives us access to many online services (news, movies, etc). I also have a set top box (running Android in my case) that gives us access to a lot of other content..

The problem comes in because of the Comcast Data Caps. For example, a higher quality HD Video from Netflix can eat up as much as 5GB/hour of bandwidth. As a result, I've gone into the Netflix account settings and selected a lower quality mode in order to conserve data usage.

With Amazon video, i have not found a way to do the same thing yet (use a lower quality setting to conserve bandwidth usage).

I also have multiple installs of Windows 10 now (setup for the "Fast Track" updates so that I get the newest builds sooner and can keep up with what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10). So, those updates are also adding to my monthly bandwidth usage.

I've already used almost 200GB of data this month, and still have half of a month to go with a 300GB/Month Data Cap.

Not good. So, it looks like I'll need to reduce our Amazon Video usage, and perhaps reduce the amount of Windows usage to cut down on bandwidth usage from Updates.

From what I've read, the FCC had received some 13,000 complaints about the Comcast Data Caps as of December 2015. So, that number is probably much smaller than today's current number, as I can imagine that the complaints have been growing a lot since then (with more and more users taking advantage of video services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, etc. that are running into the data cap problem.

Of course, if you use Comcast's services for streaming video, TV, etc.; that does not count against your data usage CAP. So, they have what I'd consider to be an unfair advantage, since you really do not have much choice if you a fast broadband internet service here (it is either Comcast, or you'll be limited to much slower options, as they have a monopoly on the broadband cable market in my area

Fair or not (imposing a 300GB/Month Data Cap in today's environment) where more and more users are taking advantage of service like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video. Crackle, etc other other content is not making me very happy.

So, i may end up making choices like not watching as much online content, reducing the use of Windows 10 to cut down on huge updates being pushed down.

Again, if you use Comcast's streaming video services to watch TV, Movies, News, etc; then that does not count towards you data usage caps. That seems like an unfair advantage to me, since they are the only online provider you can use here if you want faster broadband Internet Service via cable

Thoughts. comments?

300GB sounds like a lot. But in today's environment with users streaming HD Video Content from providers, it's looking to be more and more inadequate to meet many users' needs to me.

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JimC
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