Do We Need Comcast to Cap Bandwidth Usage?
It would be interesting to see how much bandwidth I go through a month. Uploading shows, ustream channel, downloading software updates and media content. All of it legally.
There are some that decide to use their internet connection without abandon. They download movies, music and computer programs without legally paying for it. I have seen many downloading 4 to 5 items at a time, which at gigabytes at a pop, it’s a lot of data that passes through. And with programs like bittorrent, not only does it download the items, but it turns your computer into a “Seed” in which others can use to pull from.
Comcast is working on a model to cap bandwidth per month. For some it won’t be noticeable. For the internet Zealot, they might find it tougher to work and or play. Do we need bandwidth limits to control our data consumption, or are internet companies treading in areas they shouldn’t?
Comcast’s model is to have a 250 gigabyte cap per month for downloads. If a person goes over, they would be charged an additional $15 for every 10 gigabytes. For someone who is downloading constantly, this could add up to some serious cash.
But what is 250 gigabytes per month? If you are a person that checks email, surfs the internet and watches small media clips like news or utube, then your usage wouldn’t even get to ten percent of that amount. But times change, and with more and more items entering the Information Superhighway, those numbers could change dramatically in the next year.
Social Networking alone could bring innovations that give a user more ability to keep in touch, therefore increasing the bandwidth they use. If a service like Xbox, Slingbox or AppleTV come into play, people can add bandwidth just to watch movies and play games.
Comcast is not alone. Time Warner Cable is testing a plan to cap bandwidth in some areas. The tests started in January, and no viable data has been released.
So who would get affected most? Basically the people that use the internet to transact business. For instance, Geekazine uses it to upload and download podcasts and other content, check websites, receive email (yes, I have a few email boxes), run updates and Service Packs and a lot more. Do I hit 250 gigabytes? I would have to say: Some months yes, some months no.
The biggest issue is what WE are seeing move to a internet connection. Adobe has put their Photoshop Express program on the web. Microsoft also wants to move their office line “Online”. I have mentioned that I don’t use CD’s anymore – I use Rhapsody and save myself space in the house and on my hard drive.
I have also used Virtual Private Networking – VPN connections to log into a computer that could be miles away. Programs like the sponsored “GotoMeeting” give us the ability to work from home rather than drive into an office. Even our phone connections are going over the internet with Voice over IP – VoIP for short. A phone conversation can take up 132 Kbps, which can total about 8 Megs per hour.
As time goes on, the numbers will get larger. However companies will develop new technologies to “Open the Floodgates” more. Back in March, Comcast ran the first tests of 100 Gbps Optical. They plan to be at 100 to 160 by next year. Fiber Optic Service (aka FiOS which is an irish word for “knowledge”) is available in multiple states, with more expansion happening daily.
Bottom line is that 250 Gigabytes may be tough for the average user to achieve per month. But the idea of having that limit is concerning some people. They may believe that now it’s 250 but next month it could be less. However, the bigger concern is throttling those who do high volume or even illegal activities over the internet to give everyone a more enjoyable internet experience. However, for now it’s “Flood gates open”.