Comcast Considering 250GB Monthly Data Caps, Disconnecting Repeat Pirates

Other than Time Warner’s single-city foray into monthly data caps, consumption-based billing has mostly been little ISPs with little monopolies, and given the market, we thought it’d stay that way. Broadband Reports is, uh, reporting that now Comcast is mulling monthly caps (which Comcast’s PR guy confirms, though not the details)—something like 250GB, and then $1.50 for every GB over that. According to their source, the idea has “a lot of momentum” and it’ll start rolling out in the next two months. The other part is that they’re going to start ramping up DMCA notices to pirate assholes, with a total disconnect if you’ve gotten four letters in a 12-month period.

If this is entering the mix with Comcast’s new “protocol agnostic” network management technique (in something closer to English, very temporarily slowing down your whole connection if you’re hitting the pipe really hard at the same time as a lot of other people in your area), you’re looking at an uncomfortably restricted pipe (to me anyway), even if they’re not targeting torrents specifically anymore, and the overage fees honestly aren’t obscene.

The scary part is that this happening actually does make sense, for a couple of reasons. One, P2P traffic isn’t the biggest bandwidth hog, it’s streaming video, and this’ll get people to (maybe) cut down on their habit, however they’re sucking down bandwidth. Second, it’ll keep them (sorta) clean with the FCC, which is seriously leaning toward transparency rules that would make ISPs be up front about this sort of thing anyway. And after all, there’s no better motivator to watch your ass than money slipping out of your back pocket—no schmancy traffic management necessary.

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