Why do ISPs want to limit consumer broadband use?

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Increasingly, some Internet service providers are placing limits on their broadband services. Comcast, for example, forbids customers from transferring more than 250 gigabytes of data per month. Customers who go over the limit risk getting dumped. Time Warner is experimenting with a tiered service, charging extra to customers who go over their monthly data limit.

Why do Internet service providers cap the amount of bandwidth consumers can use? I put that question to Stacey Higginbotham, lead writer on GigaOm.

One Response to “Why do ISPs want to limit consumer broadband use?”

  1. Bob Grant says:

    Comcast refuses to allow its customers to see how much of the 250 gig monthly volume they have used. They will penalize you if you go over their threshold but they will not allow you to see how much you have used.

    This is the equivalent of a cell phone company with stiff penalties for exceeding a certain number of monthly minutes refusing to show you your usage so far in a billing cycle.

    Comcast’s terms of service specify that ONLY their measurements will be considered valid but they will not allow subscribers to see their “gauge”.

    If one is aware that one is approaching one’s monthly limit and it’s a few days before the end of a billing cycle a prudent user can moderate their consumption. Comcast refuses to permit such reasonable behaviour.

    Whenever Comcast is asked to display the the monthly consumption “gauge” all they do is spout irrelevant statistics about what one would have to do to reach or exceed that threshold.

    Imagine if when you asked your cellular service how many minutes you had used so far this month they gave several examples of how many long conversations you would have to have to go over your monthly allocation BUT CONCLUDED WITHOUT TELLING YOU YOUR USAGE.

    This is what Comcast is doing.

    It’s not at all unreasonable for a subscriber/user to want to see the only valid gauge of usage so as to be able to moderate their consumption appropriately.