Memo To Comcast: Show Us the Meter for Metered Broadband

[qi:004] Comcast is out defending its bandwidth caps and how they are not bad. And how 250 GB transfer is plenty and enough to do whatever we want to do. Of course, in today’s terms that is more than enough, but what happens in the future? Nevertheless, if they are going to put caps, then they need to give us what I think is an acceptable expectation: a meter.

Metered billing needs a meter we can see, use and monitor any time we desire to do so. Water and electric utilities provide that meter (regardless of whether we use it or not), so why not Comcast?

If a customer surpasses 250 GB and is one of the top users of the service for a second time within a six-month timeframe, his or her service will be subject to termination for one year. After the one year period expires, the customer may resume service by subscribing to a service plan appropriate to his or her needs.

Figure out a way to tell us what our monthly usage is, and let us know if we are running up against a 250 GB cap, so that we know when to stop and not pay overage. I want to know at every single minute how much bandwidth I have used.

After all, if someone crosses the 250 GB twice in six months, they are going to get tossed out. The burden of proof lies with Comcast to prove, measure and meter to the most accurate byte of data transferred.

Another Question For Comcast: If you’re going to meter, then please let us know how you are factoring in the overhead associated with TCP/IP. Will this be included or excluded in the cap? After all, overhead includes control messages (session control, packet headers) and this can be as high as 40 percent.

This is where FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has to step up and do something. If he is going to allow Comcast to put caps in place, then the FCC needs a firm bond from Comcast saying that they wouldn’t lower the caps to, say, 150 GB or 100 GB using the same lame excuse of 1 percent people degrading the network.

You want to know why I think they are going to obfuscate the issue and fudge the numbers sooner or later using some Enron math? Just go to the FAQ page that explains their 250 GB cap decision. You will consume 250 GB in a month if you do any of the following:

* Sending 20,000 high-resolution photos,
* Sending 40 million emails;
* Downloading 50,000 songs; or
* Viewing 8,000 movie trailers.

…but then lower down on the same page, they say:

* Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)
* Download 62,500 4 MB songs (at 4 MB/song)
* Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)
* Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)

What is it with you guys? Can’t do the math? Forget that…how about answering a simple question: How many HD movies can you download with 250 GB cap? That’s the only answer I need.

PS: If you believe the 0.05 kb/email then you also believe in the Tooth Fairy.