Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comcast's Decision To Cap Bandwidth And It's Effects On Homeschooling

Hello. My husband asked me to post this,

Many of you may not know this but Comcast cable internet provider will begin "capping" bandwidth beginning October 1 of this year. For those who do not know what this means let me explain. Comcast will begin putting a 250 gigabit cap, or limit, on how much internet you use each month. Comcast already has a system in place called a tiered usage rate for choosing plans of different internet connection speeds. Now it will be penalizing you if you use more than 250 gigabites of what is called "bandwidth." Simply put, bandwidth is how much sending and recieving of information over the internet you comsume. Downloading, watching movies and voip phoning (skype) for instance takes quite a bit of bandwidth. Comcast will begin keeping track of this on a monthly basis and if you pass their limit then they will begin taking penalizing measures. First time offenders will be warned and second time offenders will be cut off from using comcast internet for a year and/or charged for usage over that amount. The details have been rolled out in Comcast's excessive use policy located here,

While this cap may sound like a fairly large limit, for a homeschooling family it could be easily reached if you are a frequent downloader of homeschool information (like us), you use internet phone, chat, online conferencing, game systems like xboxes that connect to the internet for gaming, or anything else you do through the internet like trying to manage a homeschool web page or get tons of mail you have to sort through. Below is a link explaining the details of Comcast's decision and it's effects.

Comcast will not be providing a meter of sorts to help in judging how much bandwidth you use and if you use several operating systems like we do, (linux, BSD unix, as well as windows), keeping track of such usage could be a nightmare. Programs provided on the internet are almost all windows based and useless for us. If you are network savy and use a broadcom based wireless router there are programs out there that will provide a usage meter for your router. This is the best bet anyway since it will give you a total of bandwidth comsumed for your whole household at the source of the connection as opposed to having one on each computer. The links to the firmware to install on supported routers are here,


I am currently looking on ebay for such a router to replace our non-broadcom based one.

I do not know how we can fight this but if someone has constructive comments they are welcome. I could only wish there was more competion against Comcast. I would certainly switch. As with many of you, we can only get Comcast in our area.

By Courtlyn Phillips-(Debbie's Husband)

1 comment:

Kristi said...

I have been extremely worried about this as well! We are users of United Streaming and some days watch 2-3 hours of video a day, plus we stream talk radio at night sometimes, and my son connects with other homeschoolers via youtube and teleconferencing.

Our family met and decided that we do not want to use any more of comcaps services than we have to, so we are, sadly, going to take our dvr and other comcast devices down on Tuesday and turn them in.

We have no choice but to use the Internet service right now, because we are trapped by lack of availability.

I think we should write the FCC and also congress, and get this on the homeschool lists.

This is not visible enough in the news because of the storms and convention, I think.

We have ONE MONTH.
We are pretty strong together. We have to get to work.


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