Beware the bandwidth usage cap…you could lose your internet service for a year

So, Comcast and other ISP’s want you to use all of the new and existing  services that they provide.  Things like online video on demand, online backup, photo sharing, streaming services and other things that involve data usage.  And, for the most part, the services are included in your monthly bill and are of a decent quality too.  But, there is a catch.  One big, gigantic catch.

Bandwidth.

Comcast has a now public cap of 250 gigabytes per month.  If you exceed that cap, you get warned the first time.  Do it again and you lose service for a year. Yep. A YEAR.  Great way to keep your customers, huh?

What most people do not realize and what these company’s fail to share is that this cap is a two way street: it applies to UPLOADS as well as downloads.

What that means is that all of those music, video and photo sharing services as well as those BACKUP services count.  Those photos you upload to flickr, Facebook or the ISP provided service eat into your bandwidth usage.  Try to do the right thing by performing your online backup and, well, yeah, that counts too.  Saving your music collection to a cloud service? Yep.  It is probably the single biggest offender here too.

Watch Netflix or Hulu much? Or Xfinity? Better watch that meter.  These companies do not bluff either.  They WILL cut you off.  Comcast did so recently with a gentleman who was trying to upload his music collection to an Amazon ‘storage cloud’ service that would give him access to his music from anywhere.  Now, he’s with out service for a year.  He told them to cancel his service and they send him to-yep-customer retention who promptly asked what they could do to keep him as a customer. He replied ‘restore my Internet’.  He’s no longer a customer of Comcast.  Nice.

These caps are ridiculous.  Yeah, the average user probably won’t use a tenth of that, but if these companies keep advertising these services then more and more people will take advantage and could easily end up like that guy.   It costs Comcast no more if I use 300 gigabytes or if I only use 20 gigabytes.  The egregious people…those uploading terabytes of questionable material…should be dealt with, but your normal user (and this guy was normal, he just had a lot of music) should never have to worry about things like bandwidth cap and losing service just because they used a service that the ISP provides.  That’s ludicrous and just bad customer service.  Maybe if enough of Comcast’s users blatantly did this for two months and were cut off, it could put a dent in the earnings picture and make them take another look at this now antiquated method of network management.  Nah.  It wouldn’t.

Have you received a warning or been cutoff by your ISP?  If so, please comment and share your story.

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