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Cable companies cap data use for revenue!


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26 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   lgb0250

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:41 AM

So, not only do we have to contend with D* increasing their prices, now it looks like we have more increases coming from our internet providers in the near future!

I would think companies like Netflix, Amazon and others, along with major studios that provide the content to them, would be fighting this and yet, I haven't seen anything about anyone fighting it. I would also think all of the online gaming providers would be fighting it.

I don't profess to be a techno geek so there's a good chance I don't fully understand this and that's why I thought I'd post it here so that those of you that are techno savvy could weigh in on it.

Couldn't this eventually effect VOD, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, etc, etc.

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#2 OFFLINE   BAHitman

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:19 AM

TWC was going to try that here in Austin, but after the public got ahold of them, they backed off for now... only enforcing caps on the "cheap" internet plans...

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#3 OFFLINE   joed32

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:20 AM

I have Charter and there are no caps at all.

#4 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:23 AM

I have Charter and there are no caps at all.


Charter has caps but they are soft caps meaning they don't really enforce them.

#5 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:46 AM

Inappropriate forum for this topic.

See full discussion of internet provider usage caps here.

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#6 OFFLINE   raott

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:57 AM

Inappropriate forum for this topic.

See full discussion of internet provider usage caps here.


I disagree as it directly (and potentially substantially) affects Directv's ability to deliver VOD to its customers, something it has to do to compete with cable providers.
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#7 ONLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:06 AM

With the increase in cord cutters, the cable providers who also provide internet are going to want to get their money where they can.
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#8 ONLINE   Diana C

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:57 AM

With the increase in cord cutters, the cable providers who also provide internet are going to want to get their money where they can.


Indeed...this it tied to the discussion in the rate increases thread. We are seeing a shift toward an on-demand paradigm in video entertainment and away from the traditional linear broadcast model. As that happens, the cable and satellite providers (who have been the middleman between viewers and content providers) are becoming irrelevant. However, this does not mean that this content will be "free" or even less expensive than in the linear model. We will have to pay the content creators for viewing rights AND the ISPs for delivery. As more and more video is streamed over the internet the network infrastructure will have to be upgraded to maintain performance under the greater load. This costs money, and the costs will have to be borne by subscribers.

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#9 OFFLINE   BLMN

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:11 AM

Comcast had a 250gb cap but they suspended the cap a couple months ago.

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#10 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:27 AM

Comcast had a 250gb cap but they suspended the cap a couple months ago.

Comcast hasn't 'suspended' the cap, but rather, is not 'enforcing' it for the present. C is testing a 300gB cap in two markets, one with with a US$10 surcharge for each 10 50gB of overage, and the other, subscribed tiers of up to 650gB. See more about this here.

I expect Comcast wiill eventually adopt the 300/50 model throughout their system.

Edited by Nick, 02 October 2012 - 12:36 PM.

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#11 OFFLINE   BLMN

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:35 AM

Comcast hasn't 'suspended' the cap, but rather, is not 'enforcing' it for the present. C is testing a 300gB cap in two markets, one with with a US$10 surcharge for each 10gB of overage, and the other, subscribed tiers of up to 650gB. See more about this here.

I expect Comcast wiill eventually adopt the 300/50 model throughout their system.


I just said suspended because that's what it says in my account when you check the usage. :)

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#12 ONLINE   maartena

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:50 PM

I disagree as it directly (and potentially substantially) affects Directv's ability to deliver VOD to its customers, something it has to do to compete with cable providers.


It does not affect DirecTV's ability to DELIVER VOD, it affects the user's ability by the amount of VOD he/she can use without paying overages. There is a difference.

I haven't really measured the amount of data 1 hour of HD would take, but if I look at what is being delivered over the internet through x.264 codec and MPEG4, it is roughly 1 GB per 1 hour, so 3 hours of VOD each night in HD (or say.... 4 TV episodes of 45 minutes each), would run you about 90 GB. The same is true for Netflix HD, which I think runs at about the same.

From what I can see in the field, data caps on LANDLINE type internet connections (I am not counting satellite or 4G type connections) are usually somewhere around 250 GB. Obviously people use other internet services, and if you use online backup services, lots of video streaming, etc, it is very easy to get to that number.

You are by the way not limited in data.... you just start paying for more data after that, generally speaking at the rate of about $10 per 50 GB. From a VOD point of view, $10 would get you about 50 hours of VOD.

The true reason behind bandwidth caps has of course nothing to do with their inability to deliver data because of networks supposedly at capacity, but their fear of services like Netflix and Amazon taking away viewers from their traditional television services.

There really isn't much that DirecTV (or Dish) could do about this, they don't own the internet providers in question, and it is not in the internet provider's interest to make a "bundle deal" with DirecTV that includes a "capless" form of internet.

The only way to really "beat the cap", is to find a 3d party DSL provider (such as DSL Extreme) that does not impose any caps. If you are a HEAVY VOD user, you might just want to get a $15 or $20 DSL provider on top of your "capped" connection, and use that exclusively for DirecTV VOD and perhaps Netflix. A 6 Mbps plan should be enough to get a VOD download going on DirecTV, wait about 2 minutes, and then play it. Of course this isn't an option to everyone.

I agree though that this isn't a DirecTV issue and should not be in the DirecTV (or Dish) forum. It doesn't change anything for them.
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#13 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:09 PM

I just said suspended because that's what it says in my account when you check the usage. :)

I think we're pretty much saying the same thing. Upon revisiting my account/current data usage page, it reads:

"Note: enforcement of the 250GB data consumption threshold is currently suspended."

So, I understand that to mean that the 250 gB cap is still in place, but it is the enforcement of the cap that has been suspended.

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#14 ONLINE   Diana C

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:23 PM

...The true reason behind bandwidth caps has of course nothing to do with their inability to deliver data because of networks supposedly at capacity, but their fear of services like Netflix and Amazon taking away viewers from their traditional television services...


Certainly true, at least today and for the near future. But if we ever get to the point where we have something like 50% of all subscribers to a given ISP service watching streaming video for 3 hours every evening they certainly will start to hit capacity constraints. Ironically, the "last mile" is not going to be so much of a problem...the routers in, and trunk lines to, your local CO will be the bottleneck.

From the MSO/ISP point of view, why should they make $40/month for delivery of the same content you are paying $100/month for now, just because you choose to watch it non-linearly?

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#15 OFFLINE   Beerstalker

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:25 PM

I haven't really measured the amount of data 1 hour of HD would take, but if I look at what is being delivered over the internet through x.264 codec and MPEG4, it is roughly 1 GB per 1 hour, so 3 hours of VOD each night in HD (or say.... 4 TV episodes of 45 minutes each), would run you about 90 GB. The same is true for Netflix HD, which I think runs at about the same.


You sure about that? I thought it was more like 4 or 5 GB per hour on HD stuff. That's why the 500GB hard drives in the DVRs can hold around 100hours of HD. 500GB hard drive - 100GB for DirecTV's stuff = 400GB for recordings. That means 400GB/100HRs = 4GB/Hr. And I believe we have been told the On Demand stuff uses less compression/has higher bandwidth than the live stuff so it might take up even more.
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#16 ONLINE   Diana C

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:46 PM

Netflix, Amazon and similar services don't stream in anything close to real HD, and use a different codec (x.264) anyway, so you can't really compare that to what your DVR records (and which has to be compressed by DirecTV in realtime). I haven't measured anything either, but I wouldn't be surprised if the VOD downloads from DirecTV are smaller than the equivalent broadcast content, since they can be "pre-compressed."

I know when I download some HD VOD content from DirecTV I'm asked if I want to download a "standard quality" feed that I can watch instantly or a "highest quality" feed that will take longer to download and which I would have to watch later. So, at least some of it exists in smaller size files that would be more comparable to the Netflix/Hulu/Amazon feeds.

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#17 OFFLINE   davring

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:30 PM

Under settings in your Netflix account you can set the download quality as well.
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#18 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:26 PM

Though most of the caps are fairly realistic. I don't have one with Cincinnati Bell FiOptics, but when my parents moved to Tennessee into Frontier land, they issued a terms of service for DSL that said acceptable use was 5gb a month. Enforcement was coming.

Now, I think it would not have impacted Dish customers, or if you used Carbonite for online backup, as they were partners. Using a competitor though, it wold have counted. The negative feedback was swift. I even talked to a tech, and he said that they were laughing about it when they first heard of it.

After seeing a company try for that cap, 250 just doesn't seem as bad.

#19 OFFLINE   inf0z

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:28 PM

Comcast is already punishing the "1% of high bandwidth users". I pay $80+ a month to get 20MBPs service. None of these so-called "average users" that use 8 - 10 gigs a month would ever use the potential of a 20MBPs service and should be using cheaper services, however you don't see Comcast blowing the whistle on this and recommending their customers to go with the cheaper package. My usage last moth give or take was 500 Gigs, I feel that $80+ a month is more than fair for this usage.

This is nothing more than a ploy by Comcast to dig more money out of their customers without offering any thing additional in exchange for this additional money they are going to collect. Directv raised their monthly DVR fees awhile back but at least I have additional features(Pandora, Youtube, watch instantly) to account for the additional money I am paying for the DVR service.

#20 ONLINE   maartena

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:31 PM

Certainly true, at least today and for the near future. But if we ever get to the point where we have something like 50% of all subscribers to a given ISP service watching streaming video for 3 hours every evening they certainly will start to hit capacity constraints. Ironically, the "last mile" is not going to be so much of a problem...the routers in, and trunk lines to, your local CO will be the bottleneck.


I think that has been changing in recent years.... The big providers are already deploying 100 Gbps optical carrier lines between states and cross country, as well as across oceans. And not just one line, but a web of them.

The amount of traffic on the internet in general has doubled over the last 5 years, and the announced crash of the internet because of too much data has never happened. In 2005-2007 there were repeated "we are all going to die" scenarios announced in all sorts of reports.... bittorrent was going to destroy the internet, then youtube was going to destroy it, now maybe whatever streaming they will come up with next.... it hasn't happened, and the internet capacity has grown with demand.

The only thing holding internet development further back is the relatively low speeds for relatively high prices in this country. My mother gave me a call from her village in the Dutch countryside of 10.000 - she had been given a flier that announced fiberoptic service: Phone, 80 TV channels, and 30, 50 or 100 Mbps internet to my parents house.... and she called my to ask whether she needed 100 for her internet, and I told her that 30 (with 30 upload!) was going to be enough for her. Total price of that all wasn't even 60 Euro.

Granted, it is "only" 80 channels of television, but they simply don't have that many in The Netherlands, it is a small country. More than half of the channels are from other European countries as well. It included about 20 HD channels.

And no.... no data caps of any kind. Most European providers STARTED with data caps for the right reason: Investment was expensive. In the last 5 years however, most providers have dropped their caps, as they had recouped their investment and their networks were able to handle oodles of traffic. Here in the U.S. its the other way around.... and not for the same reason.
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