nothing new really... http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/arc...s_bandwidth_cap_comes_out_of_the_close_1.html August 29, 2008 Comcast's bandwidth cap comes out of the closet For some time, Comcast has taken action against users who bellied up too often at the all-you-can-eat Internet trough. Users had their access cut off if they consumed too much bandwidth, but "too much" was never publicly defined. On Thursday, Comcast said it was making its once-mysterious bandwidth cap formal, locking it down at 250 gigabytes a month starting Oct. 1. That sounds like a lot of data, and for most users, it is, according to the company's FAQ on excessive use: Comcast has heard from customers who have requested that a number be provided to clarify what the company defines as excessive use. Comcast listened, and recently announced that it will implement a new threshold for data usage. As of October 1, 2008, data usage above 250 GB/month per Comcast High-Speed Internet residential customer account will be considered excessive. To reach 250 GB in a month, for example, a customer would have to do any of the following: Sending 20,000 high-resolution photos, Sending 40 million emails; Downloading 50,000 songs; or Viewing 8,000 movie trailers. Of course, there are some other, valid uses that will get you there a lot faster, such as downloading a purchased HD movie, or uploading files to an online backup service. If you go over the 250-GB cap once, you "may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance ("CSA") group to notify them of excessive use," according to the FAQ. But woe be unto you if you do it again: If a customer surpasses 250 GB and is one of the top users of the service for a second time within a six-month timeframe, his or her service will be subject to termination for one year. After the one year period expires, the customer may resume service by subscribing to a service plan appropriate to his or her needs. You would think, if Comcast was going to formalize the cap in this way, the company would provide software that would allow you to monitor bandwidth. For the moment, however, the Comcast FAQ suggests you "find such tools by simply doing a Web search -- for example, a search for "bandwidth meter" will provide some options." Hey, thanks, guys! Snark aside, this may be changing. In a conversation on Twitter Thursday night with Comcast executive Frank Eliason -- aka. ComcastCares -- I was told that such software may be available soon. @dsilverman I just wish the tool was available now because the average user is 2-3 GB. I think people hear this and it think impacts them about 12 hours ago @dsilverman I thought I was a heavy user and I used one of the tools in the summer and it was nothing about 12 hours ago @dsilverman From what I understand there is testing happening, but not a public beta yet about 12 hours ago His last response came after I asked whether a test version of this tool was available. If Comcast customers decide to run screaming from its now-public cap, they may not find bandwidth sanctuaries for long. AT&T has said it is pondering caps, and in nearby Beaumont, Time Warner Cable is testing tiers with different ones. Go over the limit in your tier, and you'll pay extra. The problem with the 250-GB cap is that, as so-called "cloud computing" and increased use of online video expands, what's excessive today may be commonplace very soon. I suspect Comcast's policy will change in the next few years, probably to one that emphasizes tiered service. Cutting people off because they watch movies or back up their computers is not an ISP business approach that can remain viable for long.