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600GB Comcast “Invisible” Bandwidth Limit

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If you have Comcast High-Speed Internet, don’t download more than 600 gigabytes within a month or you could find yourself Comcast No-Speed Internet. I saw this on Digg and never knew there was a shroud of mystery surrounding an invisible bandwidth limit and getting booted but apparently it’s floating out there. An anecdote shows that 600 GB appears to be the limit at which Comcast company policy states considers your usage to be ‘internet abuse.’

600 GB/month = 20 GB/day = 833MB/hr. Eight hundred and thirty three megabytes downloaded an hour, each hour, for thirty consecutive days… even I would consider that abuse.

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47 Responses to “600GB Comcast “Invisible” Bandwidth Limit”

  1. That’s some SERIOUS bandwidth. I can’t imagine be able to download that much in a month. And yes, I agree, I’d consider that somewhat abusive, too.

  2. lamoneyguy says:

    That’s some serious internet time. I wonder if they are disclosing this to their customers anywhere.

  3. Tim says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of bandwidth. That’d be hard to use. I can only think of someone illegally downloading movies every hour from Limewire or something. That’s crazy. What were the people doing that breached this limit??

  4. dan says:

    Sure, it’s a lot of bandwidth, but how is it abuse? They tell you that there’s no limit; that means there’s no limit, and you can use as much as you want. If they don’t want that to be their policy, then they should change it.

  5. jim says:

    I agree that they should tell you there is a limit and at the very least give you some sort of warning before they cancel service, having it be an “invisible” limit is a bad business practice.

  6. Tim says:

    You know, this reminds of me of the situation with Netflix. They say “unlimited DVD rentals” but if you rent and return your movies too quick they penalize you and put you lower in the queue when you’re waiting for movies! Netflix also slows down the amount of movies that are sent. I think it’s somewhat dishonest to say unlimited and then limit it.

    Like you said Jim, it’s a “bad business practice.” I agree.

  7. Jeff Papineau says:

    I recently got shut down by comcast. I received one warning by phone and argued with the

    guy when he refused to state what my bandwidth cap should be. I was exasperated to say the

    least. He mentioned that I’d been doing about 200GB per month and needed to “drastically

    cut back” on my bandwidth usage. He did also mention that I needed to stay off of their

    “top 1% of users list”. I admit, my family are Internet power users. We have about 5

    computers
    connected to the firewall router and my 8yo daughter uses the connection too.

    The next day I called ATT and got signed up for DSL. ATT has new types of DSL that do not

    depend on distance to the central office and rely upon remote connection points instead,

    where a fiber connection is aggregated for the area and sent back to the CO and then

    connected to the Internet backbone. This is a much more scalable architecture and it is

    obvious to me that Comcast is very much worried about being able to maintain their current
    network in light of some customers downloading Netflix movies and so forth in the months
    to come.

    The 200GB figure was not completely a surprise to me, as I do various P2P activities on

    occasion, we have Vonage and my wife is a homemaker and talks to friends and family every

    day. I think software and video downloads on youtube, as well as ebay picture uploads

    would account for a great deal of bandwidth in addition to the Vonage use. I did cut back

    on downloads quite a bit (I tried to limit to 2GB per day) and thought I would be OK for

    the next couple of weeks until ATT DSL was installed; having a date about a week out when

    I would get switched on, I continued to do downloads on my Comcast account, albeit at a

    much lower level.

    I WAS WRONG. My Comcast Internet service was shut off within about a week.

    Of course my wife (who uses the phone a lot, as well as the Internet for her business) was

    ticked off; po’ed at me and very mad at Comcast. I told her I had been reading DSL reports

    and various ISP reviews that indicated that once the service was cut, nobody had been

    successful in getting them to turn it back on. Maybe a dozen reports I had read were very

    uniform in this respect.

    I told her to take the kids and go visit her mother (has DSL) for the weekend and our

    service with ATT would be switched on in a few days…
    Of course ATT has never been a very progressive company and I found out just how bad they

    are when I ordered DSL and realized they had completely fouled up my DSL order, except for

    the phone line itself (there are 3 parts: phone line, unlimited LD, and DSL installation)

    needed to be completely reordered! They had not completed 3rd party verification of the

    ULD, and that was on hold. The DSL order was completely misplaced and had to be reordered.

    This pushed out our ATT DSL service date a bit..

    ATT it seems is completely unable to track DSL orders for new customers that do not yet

    have an ATT phone line. I found this completely unacceptable and inept, and not a small

    bit disconcerting! Old school.. they don’t even answer the phone after about 9pm pacific.

    I pointed out to my wife that our 911 access (via Vonage) had been cut off (by Comcast)

    without any notice; a vague warning did not cite any hard limit, and we were not capable

    of monitoring our actual usage with any tool provided by Comcast. My emails to

    abuse@comcast.net (dev null) inbox where merely being autoresponed to and I saw no
    coherent responses that looked like a human being was involved. Mean while the wife has a

    cell phone and was putting it to good use.

    She called the consumer hotlines. She called Sacramento, the state capital. She talked to

    neighbors and tried to alert the media of our problem. Finally she ended up at the Public

    Utilities Commission. I guess she happened to find the right person there because they

    conferenced her in on their calls to Comcast on her behalf and transfered around to

    various departments until they ended up with the high speed Internet department.

    The PUC lady kept up her mantra “You have disconnected this woman’s 911 access without

    notice, and she has a sick child at home; if she needs 911 service, you have a HUGE

    LIABILITY on your hands here; do you really want that?”

    My wife’s cell phone finally dropped the call and she was worried but looks like the PUC

    did the trick because within an hour, our Internet connection was back on, and we had
    a $50 credit to our Comcast bill (!).

    I’m posted this around the Internet because it is the first example I had heard of any

    success whatsoever in this type of case.

  8. Jeff Papineau says:

    I recently got shut down by comcast. I received one warning by phone and argued with the
    guy when he refused to state what my bandwidth cap should be. I was exasperated to say the least. He mentioned that I’d been doing about 200GB per month and needed to “drastically cut back” on my bandwidth usage. He did also mention that I needed to stay off of their “top 1% of users list”. I admit, my family are Internet power users. We have about 5 computers connected to the firewall router and my 8yo daughter uses the connection too.

    The next day I called ATT and got signed up for DSL. ATT has new types of DSL that do not
    depend on distance to the central office and rely upon remote connection points instead,
    where a fiber connection is aggregated for the area and sent back to the CO and then
    connected to the Internet backbone. This is a much more scalable architecture and it is
    obvious to me that Comcast is very much worried about being able to maintain their current
    network in light of some customers downloading Netflix movies and so forth in the months
    to come.

    The 200GB figure was not completely a surprise to me, as I do various P2P activities on
    occasion, we have Vonage and my wife is a homemaker and talks to friends and family every day. I think software and video downloads on youtube, as well as ebay picture uploads would account for a great deal of bandwidth in addition to the Vonage use. I did cut back on downloads quite a bit (I tried to limit to 2GB per day) and thought I would be OK for
    the next couple of weeks until ATT DSL was installed; having a date about a week out when
    I would get switched on, I continued to do downloads on my Comcast account, albeit at a
    much lower level.

    I WAS WRONG. My Comcast Internet service was shut off within about a week.

    Of course my wife (who uses the phone a lot, as well as the Internet for her business) was
    ticked off; po’ed at me and very mad at Comcast. I told her I had been reading DSL reports
    and various ISP reviews that indicated that once the service was cut, nobody had been
    successful in getting them to turn it back on. Maybe a dozen reports I had read were very
    uniform in this respect.

    I told her to take the kids and go visit her mother (has DSL) for the weekend and our service with ATT would be switched on in a few days…

    Of course ATT has never been a very progressive company and I found out just how bad they are when I ordered DSL and realized they had completely fouled up my DSL order, except for the phone line itself (there are 3 parts: phone line, unlimited LD, and DSL installation) needed to be completely reordered! They had not completed 3rd party verification of the ULD, and that was on hold. The DSL order was completely misplaced and had to be reordered.

    This pushed out our ATT DSL service date a bit..

    ATT it seems is completely unable to track DSL orders for new customers that do not yet
    have an ATT phone line. I found this completely unacceptable and inept, and not a small
    bit disconcerting! Old school.. they don’t even answer the phone after about 9pm pacific.

    I pointed out to my wife that our 911 access (via Vonage) had been cut off (by Comcast)
    without any notice; a vague warning did not cite any hard limit, and we were not capable
    of monitoring our actual usage with any tool provided by Comcast. My emails to
    abuse@comcast.net (dev null) inbox where merely being autoresponed to and I saw no
    coherent responses that looked like a human being was involved. Mean while the wife has a
    cell phone and was putting it to good use.

    She called the consumer hotlines. She called Sacramento, the state capital. She talked to
    neighbors and tried to alert the media of our problem. Finally she ended up at the Public
    Utilities Commission. I guess she happened to find the right person there because they
    conferenced her in on their calls to Comcast on her behalf and transfered around to
    various departments until they ended up with the high speed Internet department.

    The PUC lady kept up her mantra “You have disconnected this woman’s 911 access without
    notice, and she has a sick child at home; if she needs 911 service, you have a HUGE
    LIABILITY on your hands here; do you really want that?”

    My wife’s cell phone finally dropped the call and she was worried but looks like the PUC
    did the trick because within an hour, our Internet connection was back on, and we had
    a $50 credit to our Comcast bill (!).

    I’m posted this around the Internet because it is the first example I had heard of any
    success whatsoever in this type of case.

  9. David says:

    I just got called by Comcast for using 485 GB of transfer in a month. That might sound excessive but there are 5 CS students connected to it. We use the internet for everything: homework, projects, web, games, TV, music, the works.

    I then asked: “What is the limit so that I can set our usage accordingly?”

    The Comcast Rep then said: “It’s like growing grass, there is no set limit. Your account just showed up on our audit trail.”

    I responded: “Is that not false advertisement? You claim that your internet usage is unlimited, yet you’re calling me telling me that I used too much? And you will not tell me what your real max transfer is?”

    Comcast Chick: “We do claim unlimited internet connectivity not unlimited transfer.”

    My Response: “So what is the max transfer I can use so that I can lower our usage to it?”

    At this point I felt the distinct presents on an infinite logic loop that was spiraling nowhere. And the lady must have as well because she offered that I can get a second cable modem for the same price or a single enterprise account for $1500!

    When the rep said that we should get a second modem, I immediately remembered when we first set up our internet. We tried to get two modems from Comcast but they said that only business accounts can have more than one line. Also saying that business accounts are well over double the residential price!

    Being enraged at this point I, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that I did not agree with their policy and that I do not have control over how much internet my roommates use. I then hung up.

  10. j rogers says:

    This BS is why as soon as fios is available I am getting rid of comcast. The point is they have lied about unlimited broadband. Their service sucks anyway so here is to the future fios.

  11. Noah says:

    Whoa!!! 600 GB! Even 200GB/mo. is excessive usage and is unfair to bb users in your neighboorhood…I’m sure I probably rock at about 100 GB/mo…maybe slightly more..but then again…we only have one computer, even though it is in use (by an actual person, yes) probably about 18 hours/day. These people are obviously good clients at The Pirate Bay & Limewire :)

  12. just another voice says:

    well, I’m one of those customers in the midwest, who got taken over by the sale of INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS w. a 10/1 mbit-line. after running in circles and being forwarded 4-5 times, i had a tech on the like who, after being on and off the line, that COMCAST now has the following limits for the midwest area:
    2 gigs/month going through Comcast Email accounts.
    6 gigs/month using P2P bittorrent protocol.
    for everything else like HTTP(s)/FTP/VPN its still unlimited.

    thats what the “higher lvl” tech told me.

    now, like everything else in life – take it w. a grain of salt, not as a gospel ;)
    cheers
    @

  13. AP3 says:

    i actually just got off the phone with Comcast not 1 hr ago anbout my bandwith usage being Excessive. Granted i rocked in at 400+ gig in the last month. i also got the “dramatically cut back” speech from the agent, but no one could tell me what that number was suppose to be just that their medium users use 2GB. i was also told that if i get back on this a second time my internet access would be turned off for a year with NO negoitation. this is good to hear 10 days into the month (am i over the limit now?), so what am i suppose to do not go only for the rest of the month and HOPE i come off the list?? Not to mention this was not a consecutive month statement. if i wind up on the list again at anytime, my internet access is gone.
    If my access is not unlimited then don’t change me for unlimited access tell me what my limit is and i will stay under it. Don’t hide behind this “formula” and violation of terms of service crap. I don’t know what they consider to be acceptable since I have seen numbers here ranging fromm 200GB to 600GB.

    Time to look for a new service provider.

  14. Tyler says:

    What ISPs offer unlimited bandwidth?

  15. gmastr85 says:

    I just got the call… yes the dreaded call from Comcast. They told me I used 1.1 TB of bandwidth last month, which is 1100GB. Just like everyone else on here, I agree it is excessive… But when I think about all the things I do online, I can’t imagine ever being down around 250GB. I was reading forum posts and blogs all night about this whole situation, and it seems like Comcast is really only targeting abusers if they get a complaint.

    The Comcast rep told me I was in the top 0.1% of all bandwidth users. And just like everyone else they refused to give me a number that would be acceptable…. I was told that I needed to drastically lower it. And that the “Average” Comcast user only uses 2GB per month!?! Who are they kidding. You go on youtube for an hour and you’re over 1GB! Are they telling me that no one else consumes video or HD content online? C’Mon Comcast Stop Lying!

    On the other side of the arguement… If they tell people to stay under 250GB a month, then everyone would think they had to use it up or lose it…. So I can see where they wouldn’t want to state a definite number… But please Comcast! Give me something… A safe area! A ballpark figure! I can’t go from 1100GB to 2GB! Now I might be able to curtail it to 300GB! They wouldn’t even tell me yes or no! I said I could cut it in half and all the rep would say is that I better not appear on the report again or I’m done for 1 year!

    COMCAST! DON’T LIE ANYMORE! Stop the false unlimited ads. Stop being such a terrible company. Throttling torrents, terrible customers service, downgrading HD content, and now lying to customers and not giving them an acceptable bandwidth limitation…. it needs to stop! You are under investigation by the FCC right now…. and I’m sure you’ll grease your way out of it!

    I only have one computer and I hit 1100GB last month. But I run a 24 hr. voice server on it. (which is what really did it) I constantly watch videos and consume quite a bit of web content. I download torrents. I play online games. I run instant messaging programs. I also use a VPN connection for work related purposes. Five years ago this sort of bandwidth was unheard of.. With all the video and content on demand sites we have today, its really easy to surpass 250. How can Comcast say the average user is 2? In another 5 years the average will be 1000. Unless something changes! The very second another provider option is available to me I will leave Comcrap forever!

  16. Mack says:

    Comcast is trying to maximize download speeds for their customers. Mine cable hit 16mbits one day. That’s fast.

    Capping the abusers is good.

    • BlkRyan says:

      Going over the cap is easy. Almost every video is streaming in high quality or HD. Youtube or Netflicks is just 2 of millions of video sites. I don’t even have cable TV. I watch all my TV from the internet. Abuse?? What about the vast amount of companies hording the hell out of data with their T1 lines and its cool for them to suck the life out of a data line. Unlimited means unlimited. Just cause most of the people only use so little internet don’t mean that that is all we need is 2GB. Most of the people with internet just have it in case they need it. Some of us actually use the internet since we arnt computer stupid like most people with computers. Comcast is just pissed off cause they promoted their plan as unlimited and we took they seriously and used or data plans. ITs not my fault they lied in order to draw customers. If another company comes out with unlimited internet Comcast is screwed. 5 or more years eveybody is gonna have high usage. Everything streams in HD even cartoons and commercials. Random HD video pop up ads. People run over 500 MB of info a month on a cell phone easy. Not from videos…..but from weather apps and stuff. Thats on a phone. We are talking about a full size machine at home and people are wondering Y it sucks up so much data? Good luck with keeping your data usage down when your whole family has computers. Not just computers but hand held wifi phones and iPod touches. Not to mention the PS3′s on your network downloading very large updates for not only the machine but for any games you play. Abuse??? Unless your going over 1 TB a month then what can you say?? 1 TB is 1048576.000000275 MB or 1,048,576 MB. Even though I can easily go over 1TB a month I can work with 1TB a month.

  17. Ryan says:

    Capping the abusers is good? It’s not my fault you don’t use it as much as some people…abuse is in the eye of the beholder, or downloader. I pay for unlimited, and I want to use it dammit…

  18. gmastr85 says:

    I second that! Unlimited means unlimited. Fios can’t come soon enough!

  19. Jack says:

    gmastr85, the 2gb a month actually makes sense. I know plenty of Comcrap users that do very little with their connection. Plus, you must average in all the comcast customers that don’t use their internet at all / on a daily basis. There are many people that have Comcast internet at multiple houses / locations and only live in one location at a time.

    That being said, I think a cap makes sense, but it is not fair to leave the cap ambiguous.

  20. Kyle says:

    Unlimited does indeed mean unlimited. Without an asterisk there is no hole big enough for the corporation to suck that out of you. They can easily avoid conflict by stating clearly what the consumer is ACTUALLY receiving. This all just seems to be the initial beginnings of internet control, etc. e-Fascism.

  21. {FoN}BaDbOyZ says:

    comcast says the limit is 250GB a month i’m doin over that i run an underground website from my house for my town to share files i build this site to make it easy on us to work on computers the site is over 1.5TB i’m downloading more then 250GB a month i’m always downloading and seeding out. I been doing this ocver 5 years now and comcast never said a word plus i have a Unreal Tournament Demo server running ver 348 with the mods my buddy’s made I host a team speaker server and i do remote administrating all over the country. the usage can be used without thinking. the normal person that just goes online to watch videos on youtube they wont have a problem but for the people that like to download albums and seasons of their fav. tv shows they will have some problems for years they never said a word and now they want to change every thing. where I live comcast is the only high speed ISP its a monopoly its illegal comcast is the biggest monopoly out there. people pay to watch movies TV and listen to music online they paid for it they have the right to use it as they please if you got the hard drive power then fill it up you bought the service you have every right to use it any way you like.

  22. Donald Rohrbacher says:

    Well, we had Comcast Cable and Internet. We switched to that F-ed up Triple play crap. Why do i say that?

    1st: Now i cannot view my website. there wasn’t that much traffic on it – i was learning php and now since we have that Arris modem (maybe it is the service) i cannot view it. What? Do they block port 80? i tried port 8080 and still cannot! Comcast F-ing Sucks!

    2nd: Now i cannot view ny ftp site. My job requires my to occasionally download some files i need to fix computers but now i CANNOT. This happened when the switch happened.

    3rd: ONLINE GAMING SUCKS! You ever try and play a graphic intensive game on a system with a crappy video card? I have a ‘cable’ connection, a Dual Core system w/3 GBs, a nVidia 8600 GT w/512 MBs. Before the switch was made i was playing seamless games in the multiplayer community and now i cannot even play. I get ‘somewhat’ good ping but in a game of Quake Wars, it is choppy and it jsut makes you want to quit the game.

    IF – you are thinking of switching – DON”T!@!!!!! Use Comcast for either – Just your cable and get another service for the Internet. You will be happier and you won’t have the aggravation.

  23. Justin Walker says:

    I wish I could get 250 GB am month! I’m in Germany right now serving in the Air Force and I am stuck with TKS who sent me a letter saying and I quote

    “We urge you one last time to refrain from transferring massive amounts of Internet Data. Your TKSSurf! account will be monitored to verify that you do conform with the regulations of Fair Use Policy.”

    “Professional video pirates for example usually receive more than 100 gigabytes of data downloads per month. This type of use could produce a noticeable hindrance to other customer’s web access in terms of speed and overall performance.”

    I see that Comcast is crap but… it could be worse, you could have TKS!

  24. Tim says:

    This sounds to me like bad business practice in more ways than one. Number one don’t lie to the customer. Two, if your customers want something, ask yourself “How can I give them more of what they want?” Not “How can I make them want this less?” Seriously, that’s just stupid.

  25. Bob says:

    So we have people using a lower priced residential connection who are downloading 400GB or a TB of data and then crying because they get capped?

    Comcast will let you use all the bandwidth you want, you just have to *pay* for it. That’s the real problem. People don’t want to pay for the service they use.

    I agree not being able to tell you what the ceiling is for your account is a big problem, but don’t make our like Comcast are the bad guys entirely.

    If you want to be able to run your own server or serve an entire household of power users, buy a business account.

    • BlkRyan says:

      The problem isn’t the cost. ITs people pissed that they paid for Unlimited internet. UNLIMITED! Not limited……Unlimited. Putting a cap is obviously a limit. You can’t claim unlimited service and put a limit on the unlimited service. 25 MB was a lot of data years ago. Now 1 and 2 TB drives come almost standard on a machine you buy. Its clear to see that 250GB a month ain’t a lot of data anymore. Games came on CDR Disks. Now they come on DVR’s cause CDR don’t hold enough data anymore. The problem is that what was alot of data before don’t count as alot of data now. Even pop up ads stream in HD quality now. You just don’t know wut your talking about. What do you mean we don’t want to pay for it? We are paying for our internet bills right now you idiot. Ive been paying for the internet since they charged Hourly for it! And getting a T1 line in your home is a lil dramatic. One T1 line can provide internet to an building. A T1 line for your house?? Thats like cutting a cake with a diamond tipped blade made for cutting boulders. Thats a lil extreme don’t you think. I don’t require unlimited internet. But 250 GB a month is not enough for today’s world. 25 MB was enough for a hard drive in the 80′s. Its 2011 man. And computer technology has made an extreme amount of upgrades since then. Next time know WTF your talking about before posting comments and sounding stupid. Just like in the 80′s when 25 MB was more than enough for a hard drive. Wait 5 or more years from now and 250 GB isn’t gonna be enough for a hard drive.


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