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Comcast preps bandwidth usage meter

Thu, 12/04/2008 - 7:40am
Brian Santo

Comcast is preparing a broadband usage meter for its customers that would allow subscribers to monitor how close they might be coming to their 250 GB monthly allowance.

A Comcast FAQ (available here) says it has been testing a data usage meter for some time. A Comcast spokesman told CED that the company will soon run an employee trial.

When that testing is complete, he said, Comcast plans to launch the meter to all of its customers for free. It will be available via Comcast.net, and it will allow subscribers to very easily keep track of their aggregate data usage each month, he said.

Many of those suspicious of, or completely opposed to, usage caps have argued that service providers that impose caps do not make it clear how they meter usage. Service providers typically inform their customers if they are approaching their limits, but rarely do they make tools available for subscribers to monitor their own usage.

Usage monitors are available on the Web, however, that consumers can install on their own.

For the vast majority of Comcast users, the question is moot; Comcast estimates that less than 1 percent of its subscribers ever get anywhere near 250 GB per month.

The question does come up when usage caps are lower, however. Time Warner Cable, for instance, is testing a cap of 10 GB on one of its lower-priced tiers

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