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Proposed Bandwidth Cap Looms Over Gamers

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North American internet provider Comcast is evaluating a monthly bandwidth cap and charging users that exceed the limit, according to dslreports.com.

At present, the company is considering a download cap of 250GB a month, with a $15 charge for every 10GB that exceed the limit. The plan is similar to that of several international internet providers, which set a bandwidth cap and slow a user's connection once that limit is reached.

While Comcast claims the 250GB limit is said to only affect 0.1% of users, it would set a precedent that could allow internet providers to begin to establish lower bandwidth caps and restrict uploads as well. That might have an effect on gamers, especially as the industry shifts further towards digital distribution.

Valve's Steam service allows users to download full games measuring several gigabytes in size. An HD movie downloaded from Microsoft's online Xbox Live Marketplace typically weighs in at 4.5GB.

"Comcast is currently evaluating this service and pricing model to ensure we deliver a great online experience to our customers," said Comcast spokesman Charlie Dougla. "We have not made any changes to our current service offerings and have no new announcement to make at this time."

It should be noted that just playing multiplayer games all day really won't get you close to that 250GB limit. This just opens the door towards limits that may.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 8, 2008 10:57 AM

    A lot of UK providers do this already. Not that I like it.

    • reply
      May 8, 2008 11:24 AM

      yeah some as low as 5gb a month too.

      • reply
        May 8, 2008 11:29 AM

        5GB a month is perfect for mom and dads that only check their email and surf a bit. If such a limit means they can get dirt cheap internet I'm all for it. But when there isn't a reasonable prices alternative with a higher limit, that's when it sucks.

        • reply
          May 8, 2008 11:46 AM

          Yeah, exactly. I'm happy to pay more for a higher cap, and that is only fair as people using a lot of bandwidth can actually make UK ISPs a loss, or virtually no profit, due to the high prices they pay BT for ADSL.

          The problem is that few, if any, ISPs actually offer such a thing without forcing you to pay 3x more for a business service. And on the rare months that you do go over your usage limit they either kick you off the service completely or they reduce you to incredibly slow speeds. Why not allow people to buy more bandwidth (at a reasonable cost; I'm talking about buying an extra, not paying a fine here)?

          I went over my 60GB/month limit once and usually don't go anywhere near it. For the rest of that month I was on slower than modem speeds (but still ADSL latency so it wasn't completely awful). It certainly wasn't worth me paying 3x more (forever) to upgrade to a business service but I think the ISP were really stupid for punishing me rather than turning the situation into one where they could make more money. I would have been more than happy to pay!

          As for a 250GB limit? That seems perfectly reasonable to me. More than reasonable, in fact, even if you are downloading HD movies. (How many HD movies can you watch a month? At most 30 I would say, and that's pushing it. That leaves plenty of gigs to spare for other stuff like games and demos from Steam and the console services.)

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