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Surprise! Internet Users Dislike Broadband Cap

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 6 comments

It’s no secret that internet service providers are considering broadband caps to cut down costs. However many U.S. consumers dislike the idea and will gladly change carriers if their current BSP implements the restrictions.

In Zeugma Systems’ recent survey conducted for the International Data Corporation (source), 81 percent of the 787 U.S. customers polled proclaimed their dislike for a bandwidth cap and the additional charges for internet use beyond the limit. However, 83 percent had no idea what a gigabyte was or just how much bandwidth they actually consume. 51 percent of those polled added that they would actually switch service providers if broadband caps were set in place. Some even claimed to actually pay for additional premium services if necessary.

"These results are both an opportunity and a warning for BSPs," said Kevin Walsh, Zeugma Systems vice president of marketing. "The opportunity is that consumers are signaling a willingness to pay more for dedicated bandwidth over and above basic high speed internet for such services as premium internet video, VOIP, gaming, and corporate VPN access. The warning is a clear distaste for bandwidth caps. At a minimum, providers moving forward with bandwidth capping schemes may want to consider a more intelligent and flexible application of caps.”

Starting today, Comcast residential customers are now limited to 250 GB per month. The company claims that the new limit is more than enough for its customers, and will more than likely never surpass the limit. But considering the consumers who purchases games and movies online, this restriction may feel more like a punishment than means to save money on behalf of the BSP. Online gamers may face the largest setback, especially those playing on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service or MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Everquest 2.

So why implement a level cap at all ? According to this article over on DSLReports, the broadband limits are speculated to be the result of addressing people who download more than the typical user. These people, of course, are more than likely users sharing files or downloading pirated software outside P2P networks. But for legit consumers eating massive amounts of bandwidth, studies show that a good chunk of the consumption involves downloading HD video.

Additionally, Time Warner Cable recently shut down its newgroups service, claiming that the company had no way to police files stored on Usenet servers. Time Warner is also currently testing broadband caps in Beaumont, Texas. "The introduction of Consumption Based Billing will enable TWC to charge customer based upon usage, impacting only 5% of subscribers who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth," states Time Warner in a leaked memo (source). The broadband caps Time Warner is testing range between 5 GB to 40 GB monthly.

Whether consumers like it or not, it seems to be only a matter of time before the entire American BSP market faces broadband caps. If time Warner succeeds testing and implements the cap, other BSPs will likely follow suit. If Comcast stands firm with its 250 GB limit, the company may face a surge in subscriptions once other BSPs begin 40 GB restrictions.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 2 October 2008 15:56
    I dont see what the problem is, In South Africa the fastest Line you can get is 1MB ADSL and that comes with a 3GB Cap as standard, with additional bandwidth costing around the $50 mark for another 3GB.

    Quit your Whinning.
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    Flakes , 2 October 2008 16:02
    thats south Africa...

    here in the uk i use Virgin on a 20MB line, they dont cap how much you can download but they do cap the speed within a certain time frame if you download over there limit, so if i download a few gigabyte of stuff between 12-4pm my bandwidth is also limited to 5MB between those times, i personally think this is a better system.

    personally i feel like pulling out my hair if im on a connection of 2mb or less its painfully slow to me.
  • 0 Hide
    matthewslt , 2 October 2008 17:21
    To be honest the whole situation where any sort of throttling or capping occurs is because broadband providers are selling products that the broadband cannot handle. Any other industry would call that false advertising or selling, its like a PC manufacturer telling you your computer can run a certain game but then it can only play really badly some of the time and other times it runs fine. The broadband providers only get away with it because so few people actaully know how to give a connection a good work out. Introducing caps is just putting the problem off because evntually the exisitng networks are just gonna get swamped.
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    Anonymous , 2 October 2008 19:17
    Yes the broadband providers have over sold and continue to over sell the broadband. I pay for 2mb line and only get 1mb because of my area/connection but then get throttled on top of that to less than half a meg during the day. Its like buying a 200 horsepower car and only getting 100 horse power and most of the time I want to drive its its 40 horse power. If they were clear with this when buying people wouldnt choose them. False advertising plain and simple to cover their greed. heavy bandwidth users are only using the line that was sold to them. Locking down p2p is another debate.
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    Anonymous , 3 October 2008 04:52
    Let compare this to a car.
    I am sold a car in america that cost me 30 thousand USD that claims that it can go 140 mile per hour. However, once they sold me the car,
    they told me they put a limit on my car and now I am only be able to drive 65 mile per hour...or else they will no longer let me drive it at all...
    And on comparison, other companies in the same country are also selling cars at lower prices (DSL) but with no speed limit...and everyone is driving faster...
    So in a way, I am trick into overpaying a service that they later on change the contract to limit me...just becuase I drive faster. back the the Africa or Europe or Australia...
    I don't really care what cost or speed you can drive over there...since this is not related to my situation here...
    you are in a different eco-system that has different pricing structure that you agreed to.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 7 October 2008 16:27
    You Can't compare it to a car! Compare it to a road....
    "My car does 140MPH but when everyone gets on the road, I can only do 40MPH. The government wants to charge me more tax to build another 40 lanes - The CHEEK of them...."

    The US has been having a great time of it; lots of big providers not charging each other much for data. Now the rest of the world is on the net, these guys have to pay for fat overseas pipes like every other country is used to managing already. No wonder they are questioning their cost model.