Comcast’s One-DVD-per-Day Limit

I’ve received a lot of comments on my January blog post about being blocked by Comcast. Now, after last week’s thrashing by the FCC, Cory Doctorow reports on BoingBoing that Comcast has gone public with its plan to limit customers to downloads of only 250GB per month. If you don’t think that’s unreasonable, consider that it’s only 8.3GB/day, or roughly the equivalent of downloading one DVD each day. I don’t, as Comcast’s own FAQ describes, send 40 million emails a month or 20,000 high-res photos, but I do use my net connection for all sorts of things. For example, I could run my new WiFi radio all day, listening to a 128kbps stream. That alone would consume 1.3gb/day. I’m not, but I could be a heavy Vonage user, too. If I used an on-line backup service, I could easily upload another gigabyte or so each day. And then there’s downloads of videos from TiVo, Netflix, etc.

To my mind, these are what the Internet are all about. They make the Internet a true utility. In most other developed countries, 8.3GB/day would be a drop in the bucket of what’s available. Perhaps Comcast’s problem is that they simply haven’t invested enough in system capacity. Or perhaps they’re just trying to make sure that their Internet connections can’t be used to compete with their own video and VoIP services. In any case, this new policy does seem unreasonable, particularly since I pay a premium for the extra high-speed version of their service. I’m not a fan of AT&T either, but I sure wish I could get a DSL connection here, if for no other reason than to have a choice. Where’s competition when you need it?

Update: As John Furrier says, Om Malik makes the case that this, combined with the recend FCC order, is all good news for the P2P (eg, BitTorrent) business model. Well, Om doesn’t actually refer to that FCC order, but you get the idea.

2 thoughts on “Comcast’s One-DVD-per-Day Limit

  1. This is very concerning. I am a developer and work online all day, every day. I only have two broadband choices, Comcast and ATT DSL (which I’ve tried and is about as fast as a dialup connection.)

    Comcast is being pretty unrealistic, considering the wave of social networking and online gaming increasing popularity. Comcast’s own web offerings are extremely heavy in bandwidth, are they going to no track anything within their own netwrok?


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