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Monday
Feb142011

Comcast Data Cap - Now a Reality in My Life

I heard about Comcast's 250 GB data cap a long time ago, but what choice do I have now?  I used to have a 6 Mbit connection via DSL with DSL Extreme for just a little over $34/mo after taxes, but I also had to pay a little over $17/mo for phone service I don't actually use just for DSL.  With the "just a little over" added up, that came up to around $52/mo I am paying.

I learned that AT&T was offering the same 6 Mbit speed for $25/mo, so I decided to go back to ma bell.  Unfortunately, DSL Extreme said I was still under contract for another month.  After that was up, the AT&T promotion was over, and because I already put in my cancelation, I was without internet access.

Calling up AT&T and DSL Extreme to re-establish service, they are now saying I am not qualified for 6 Mbit, and that the fastest I can get is 3 Mbit!  Even though I had 6 Mbit before, their computer is telling them I couldn't!  AT&T had the audacity to tell me that they can offer 3 Mbit for the same price as the 6 Mbit speed (because they had a promotion going on for the 6 Mbit service).

I found out that Comcast is finally in my area, and it is the only other ISP that is in my neighborhood.  I decided to give them a try.  For $30/mo (first 6 months), I get 15 Mbit down and 3 Mbit up.  The next 6 months would be $45/mo, and after that, it'd be $60/mo.  They tell me I don't have a contract, so I can leave any time, or sign up for the new promo price if one is available.

All is good except the data cap.  That looming dark cloud that makes the faster speed a bittersweet nectar.  Even though people say that 250 GB is more than enough, they don't account for heavy users that rely on the internet for everything!  Movies, TV shows, music, podcasts.  All sorts of media are now being consumed on the internet, which eats up a lot of bandwidth.  It is my belief that if your infrastructure cannot handle it, don't try to change the way people are using your service!  Instead, beef it up so it CAN handle it!

This is my 4th day using it, and according to the usage meter, I am already 24 GB into my 250 GB plate.  That doesn't include my parent's usage because their computer is down, and I am currently looking for a replacememnt.  What does this mean when they finally get their computer online?  They watch internet TV all night, and also rely on iTunes to serve them daily video and audio podcasts!  Also, I'm worried about re-downloading my collection of Steam games if I ever have to.  I can also forget about cloud backup solutions like Carbonite and Mozy.

Must I ask my mobile phone to relieve the internet usage at home by leveraging the 3G connection?  Even then, I have around 5GB for a T-Mobile data service (after which, they will throttle data down to modem speeds).  While AT&T has a 2 GB cap, I was grandfathered in the unlimited plan.  However, AT&T is dog slow at home (around 300 kbit/sec).

If I find that I will be hitting the cap next month (since my service started in the middle of this month), I may have to go with Comcast Business Internet.  As much as I would like to boycott Comcast, I don't have a choice if I want faster than 3 Mbit/sec speeds.

Their cheapest business class service is $60/mo and is slightly slower than the consumer service I currently have.  At 12 Mbit/sec down and 2 Mbit/sec up, it seems tolerable.  There is no data cap at all, so that by itself may make it worth while.

What do you think?

Reader Comments (4)

Comcast doesn't send out automatic warnings for going over the limit. If you go over a few times, they're fine with that. I've learn to curb my consumption habits to stay under the cap. Only thing that can change things is by complaining to the FCC or Comcast.

March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuis

That's good to hear. Too soon to tell, but I think I'll be just under the 250gb cap almost every month. Just. :)

March 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterGuy Techie

I went with the Business class as I remotely support my work as a hospital network administrator.
So a 250GB cap when peoples lives may be at stake is unacceptible.
Though they say it is 12/2, it's never measured less than 20/2, though I suppose they state a lower number than it's capable so as to not be liable for a contractual level as Business class usually requires a contract.

April 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

I guess it depends on how serious you need your Internet. I haven't gone over 150GB yet. Then again, I consider my activity "light" for now. I wonder how high it will go on those months where I will be hitting the cloud hard.

April 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterGuy Techie

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