In leaked document, Comcast admits data caps are not about congestion

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So let me see if I got this. You have a 300Gb data cap, which isn’t a cap, because your service is exactly the same if you go over this non-limit. And some places don’t have this data cap, while other places have it but it’s not a data cap. And somehow this is about fairness. To whom? Nobody knows, it is an utter mystery.

Did I miss any key points?


In that photo of the Comcast CEO, well he resembles a jackass quite a bit.

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Nope, hit them all

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Well he did forget to wear his human face mask that day


Though you’ll pay out the rear for additional usage over the non-cap. Unless you decide to pay out the rear for “unlimited” usage.


I think the ‘key point’ missed is the $10 per 50GB once you go over the not-a-cap (in trial areas).

They’re trying to spin it that it’s not a cap, you can use as much as you’re willing to pay for - and that the 300GB ‘not-a-cap’ is a “plan” whereby you pre-pay for the first 300GB to give you the “benefit” of predictable bills.


Their contention is that if I watch movies all day via my Comcast subscription it uses less data than if I watched the same movies via Netflix or Amazon Prime?

Wow. They must have either much better compression or the other two are flooding me with endless subliminal messages.


The key here is that it doesn’t use any data from their peer connections (connections to other ISPs) which cost them money, they will likely have those movies on a server local to their network so it isn’t costing them any more money to shift those bits down the line to you.

So it actually is cheaper for them if you sit all day watching their streaming services vs the others - unless they have a “CDN” or Content Delivery Network, which is just a fancy name for “a server owned by the likes of Netflix or the company they contract that out to such as akami installed in the data centre of the ISP which will serve the video files to you from there rather than across the wider internet via a transparent proxy setup”.

In effect it actually uses up no data in the eyes of the ISP because they only care about the stuff which has to come from someone else’s network as they have to pay for that, which cuts into the profit they make from you.


Yes I overlooked that. It’s still an exercise in absurdist economics.


Ironically they charge insane fees to companies like netflix and amazon for the right to place cdn servers on their networks, even though as you point out it saves them money. They do this because their dream is to have a monopoly on your eyeballs and block those services altogether.

America is slipping further and further behind in pricing and bandwidth for the internet. We invented the internet we should get on that.


But then they could accept netflix’s offer to put their servers in their networks. That there’s peering “charges” involved is part of the scam.


Obviously we should turn Internet Access into a utility like Hydro and water. Make connection cost-free so that anyone can connect, and then a $1/GB above a 10 GB limit. Perhaps exempt certain approved services like government information, health services, and Wikipedia from the cap.

We’ll also need to ban competing services to prevent them from cherry-picking the high-volume revenue generating customers.

That way, every citizen gets access to Internet to access services required to function in the modern economy. Heavy users of non-essential data, who are overwhelmingly wealthy (earning above median wages or living with someone who is), will subsidize connection to the tens of millions who do not have ready home access to this basic human requirement.

As well, by employing civil servants rather than independent contractors, we can ensure those involved in providing these vital services are paid properly with decent pensions, rather than exploited as the cheapest cost providers. Not only would the initial roll-out involve significant employment gains, but because, unlike water and hydro which are upgraded every 25 years or so, we’d be involved in technological upgrades at least every decade, the employment gains would remain high.

The current system leaves out millions of under-served Americans and exploits hundreds of thousands of underpaid workers. It is time for this to stop NOW.



We have Cox, and about a year ago they added a “cap” to our service, that does nothing but sit there ominously. If you go over, they tack some warning text at the bottom of the bill. And then state that this doesn’t matter. To which my brain adds “yet”.

But right now we don’t have a practical cap, but they are showing that it is there; pardon, can be there. Will be there, in all probability. Which is crap, since we’re already paying too much for too little, which is actually 50% less than advertised. But where we live it is either Cox or Century Link, so its basically Cox or nothing.

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Every time I think of switching to Comcast I look at my Xbox One data usage and see how it’s pulling down nearly 200GB a month by itself (50+ GB game downloads will do that…) and think of all the streaming media I watch, online backups, and so on. Everything is legit and above board and I’m certainly not making a concerted effort to use huge amounts of data.

If you are going to offer high speed data putting caps on it just seems greedy. But then again it is Comcast we are talking about.

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A scam within a scam…


Yes and no. It’s all down to how the internet is fundamentally built, in that it is a connection of separate networks all routing traffic between each other to form what appears to be a single, seamless network to the end user.

It costs money to shift bits around, which means ISPs need to have a way of cross charging for every bit of data sent to or from their network to/from another in order to cover those costs. Traditionally they have simply paid for data with data (hence the original use of peerage) with any data left over paid for by the ISPs, so if one ISP is pulling more data downstream than sending upstream it’ll have to pay for whatever extra they are using. This means that a single bit of data is likely to have been paid for multiple times before it even gets to your PC - The owner of that data pays for it to be on a server and pays bandwidth costs to the server provider on top of that, then all of the ISPs between that data centre and the end user get their cut for transporting that data across and finally the end user is paying for their connection plus any data “overages” on their side.

Wrong end of the ass though.

This doesn’t address my point. Thank you for taking the time to explain it. I’m actually familiar with how this works.
Comcast is already overcharging their customers enough to pay for moving all those bits around, if they weren’t then they’d have to be either stupid or irresponsible.
Back on topic, bandwidth consumption isn’t the issue.

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Kinda depends on how well your “digestive tract” works, whether you usually are able to produce lump sums out of your rear, or many small, frequent payments at unexpected times…