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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 17, 2012

The Datapocalypse: Comcast Charges Data Hogs

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

Comcast (News - Alert) is about to embark on a controversial endeavor for Internet service suppliers.

The company has decided to change the terms of their service contracts from 250 gigabyte caps with stern warnings for those who exceed a 300-gigabyte cap, with an additional $10 charge for every 50 gigabytes over. Comcast firmly believes their 300-gigabyte allotment is plenty, and the only people that will have issues with the cap probably just have personal issues.

After all, if streaming 10 movies a day on Netflix every day for a month isn’t enough to satiate your movie appetite, there might be a problem.

Many people know by now that we are approaching the "datapocalypse.” The biggest culprits contributing to the serious data crunch are people that stream videos. Apparently, 28 million hours of videos were streamed during March Madness alone. Because of people’s viewing habits, engineers struggle to derive solutions before 2016 – the year the amount of bandwidth is estimated to be depleted.

Data hogs are typically the minority, but they consume the majority of overall resources. The average North American household only consumes 32 gigabytes a month, according to Sandvine Corp. Comcast services up to 18.6 million Internet users, which the Associated Press (News - Alert) estimates is 25 percent of the U.S. population with broadband.

Perhaps Comcast’s cap will help curb some of this data waste. Wouldn’t it be a shame to discover a significant chunk of data was consumed by some fat guy with a taste for sleazy adult films?

AT&T and Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable have attempted to apply similar service fees in the past, but were met with opposition, which the associated press described as “fierce resistance by politicians and consumers.” 

Edited by Braden Becker

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