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Comcast Redefines Unlimited Bandwidth
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • Comcast Redefines Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Bandwidth-Hogging Applications
  • Business and Competition
  • Future Outlook

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    Comcast Redefines Unlimited Bandwidth - Business and Competition

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    It's not just Comcast's subscribers for whom these arbitrary bandwidth caps present a problem. Keith Ferrell, writing for the bMighty blog, noted that it has business implications as well. It's not a matter of someone on a residential account trying to run a business out of his or her home, either. "If, for example, you have a series of professionally produced and delightfully digitized training, promotional or product films, should you warn those customers who are also Comcast customers that viewing your material could cost them their high-speed access?" he wonders.

    Taking it a step further, Ferrell considers the case of a company that is in the business of producing the kind of rich digital materials that take up a lot of bandwidth. "One or two intensive client back-and-forth reviews could see your company cut off." Worse, it doesn't even have to be video; material in PDF format can take up a lot of space as well. How much bandwidth gets eaten up every time someone downloads an e-book or manual from your site?

    Granted, Comcast has valid reasons for clamping down on high bandwidth users, but the company has hardly gone about it in a manner calculated to generate goodwill. It sends out a warning, and gives users a month to cut back on usage or sign up for a different plan. As noted previously, it gives users no real clue as to what the actual limits are, and no way to monitor their own usage so they can tell whether they're going over the line. The cable Internet provider needs goodwill; not only does it have a bad reputation, but it faces increased competition.

    Phone companies connect users to the Internet via DSL. There are limitations as to where DSL can reach, based on how close the customer is to the local exchange; the limit is generally four miles. But the advantage of DSL is that lines are run directly to each home, so no single heavy user will slow down everyone else's connections -- hence, no one will receive warning letters or have their service cut off for excessive use. If the phone companies are smart, they'll take advantage of Comcast's recent actions to promote the advantages of their service over that of the cable companies'.

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