Friday, Aug 29, 2008
Starting October 1 customers of Comcast’s residential data services will have an invisible barrier on their monthly data usage. Under the new guidelines of Comcast’s Acceptable Use Policy announced Thursday, that cap will be set at 250 gigabytes per month, per account.
Users who go over the limit will get a courtesy call from Comcast’s customer service for the first instance. However, under the new policy a second-time offense means the service is immediately suspended for an entire calendar year.
Surprisingly the company is not providing any tools to help users monitor their current usage. An FAQ on Comcast’s support site simply suggests that customers do a “Web search” for bandwidth metering software that will track this amount for them. Going forward there may be plans to set up alerts over certain thresholds, or bundle some official tool as part of the company’s starter software.
Comcast notes that the median usage for most residential customers falls somewhere between 2GB and 3GB, a number that is regularly broken within a matter of hours and sometimes minutes by customers taking advantage of streaming HD video and online backup services.