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Comments

gifts

That's great news..

Crow550

Go Reed!

marco

There is a giant hole in fcc net neutrality regs for "managed services". Plus, usage based pricing and caps effectively mean the cable ISPs can extract money from companyies like netflix down the road through premium delivery...etc. hahahahahhaha

CordCutter

The biggest joke in the whole Net Neutrality debate was the choice argument. We don't need this because if your ISP is doing something you don't like simply leave and go to another one. Let the market decide what's a good idea and whats not and the companies will fall in line. DSL is a joke. It is not high speed and should not be counted towards those numbers. I read somewhere that 5 cable companies make up 80% of all cable internet connections in the US. What choice do we have? I have 2 ISP options to me, real options... cable and Fios. I live in a major city. If a duopoly is choice according to these politicians they're nuts.

Jamie

Amongst the many reasons I am glad I don't have Comcast anymore

Robert Emmerich

I must be reading this wrong b/c to me it sounds like a good thing if you're a Comcast customer. As in it's good to have Xfinity and not eat up your cap watching stuff on your Xbox. Sounds like Reed inn't complaining b/c he's a Comcast customer, it sounds like he's whining b/c he owns nf and Comcast is giving itself preferential treatment. But he knows that makes him sound like a money grubbing overpaid whiny CEO so he's pretending to be an outraged Comcast customer. Are any other current Comcast customers complaining about Comcast giving them a way to stay under the cap?

Gran

Robert, you missed the whole "Net Neutrality" point.

ScottZ

@CordCutter
DSL is a joke? Maybe in your area. I have been enjoying 15M/3M DSL for 5 years now, the 5 years before that I was enjoying 7M/1M DSL. Never lived with any caps either.

ScottZ

Reed should see if his CDN has servers on the Comcast network. I would think Akamia would have servers on the Comcast network, if so he has an extremely valid argument as the Netflix Media is being locally served also (at no cost to Comcast).

CordCutter

Scott - Yes DSL is a joke, even at 15mb down. 15mb down is not a big enough pipe for me nor would it be for the majority of most true cord cutters. You're lucky, I'm sure folks with DSL access that reach 15mb down are in a very small minority. My city's DSL offering maxes out at 5 and even that is only in select (small) areas.

ScottZ

@CordCutter
We are a cord cutting family of 4, we seem to be doing fine so far. All of our video, voice, data comes over the same DSL connection. The bandwidth is enough to cover 2HD streams and still have the overhead to cover other needs.

To get a comparable service from Charter I would have to use a business plan and my bill would go from $40/mo to $80/mo and I would lose my 8 static IPs. If I get to the point where my DSL isn't fast enough I would been to pay Charter over $130/mo to get faster speeds.

So no, DSL isn't a joke, Cable is the joke for me as caps dictate that I need a business plan to be an effective cord cutter.

sean mccoy

why just comcast reed and not other providers ? with lower caps

CordCutter

And again Scott, how many people have access to 15mbps down DSL? That was my original point, the overwhelming vast majority of DSL subs get 3mbps down... a handful more get 7 and even fewer get your 15. Thus the vast majority of DSL subs shouldn't qualify as "high speed" households. The only provider I've even heard offering 15mbps down DSL is Verizon and their coverage is miniscule. Couple that with Verizon going into a de-facto non compete agreement with ISPs (most recently TWC) and it even furthers my point there isn't any semblance of competition out there.

FearNo1

Glad that there is a competing cable company in my area, WOW.

Question for the cord cutters, do you watch sports? If yes, how do you deal with the lack of sports OTA? If only ESPN allowed their program sans cable.

WakkaWakka

The strangest part to me is the HBO Go part. I get HBO Go through comcast, and I'm using it over their network, but it still counts against my cap. Also makes no sense that xfinity app over my iPad counts against me, but xfinity over the Xbox doesn't.

Personally, if someone in my area offered the speed of comcast without a cap (25-30 mbps is just too awesome to give up), I would leave comcast in a heartbeat. Hell, if DSL would give me 15 mbps I would probably go with that, but when I had dsl before, it was only 3-4 mbps.

sportsfan1

in response to FearNo1 about sports, I use frontrowsports.eu...but only with firefox and Ad Block plus enabled!

michaelant

Glad to see Reed bringing wider attention to this.

CordCutter

FearNo1 - It depends a lot on your moral compass. You can get every sporting event on the planet if your compass is completely off. Firstrowsports, WiziWig, etc. I'm not knocking those who use them, just stating the obvious they're not exactly on the up and up.

A lot of sports are OTA. CBS/Fox will get you most NFL games. College football on ABC/CBS/NBC. Nascar/Golf on OTA.

If your ISP provides ESPN3 you're good to go. 80 to maybe even 90% of live sporting events on ESPN/ESPN2 are on ESPN3. Then you also have ESPN3 exclusive stuff which sometimes turns out to also be whats on your local Fox Sports feed. I have an HTPC set up in my main family room that pipes ESPN3 directly to the big screen, then I sling it to the bedroom TVs via Playon on our Rokus.

You can also purchase the many seasonal packages out there like MLB.tv or NHL Gamecenter Live. They black out locally but a VPN will quickly solve that.

ScottZ

FearNo1,
RE: Sports for Cable Cutters.
1. Over the air. I use HDHomeRun+Myth
2. Free Legal Streaming, espn3.com, snfallaccess.nbcsports.com, etc
3. Pay for streaming access available for NBA/MLB/NHL
4. PPV is easily available

I admit, it is frustrating when you pay $30/mo for NBA League Pass and you can't stream the Video because because it is being broadcast on a regional cable-only Sports network.

It is also frustrating that the NFL sells an Internet streaming package for people outside the US but the NFL does not allow (due to TV Contract I assume) streaming within the US. I can get the local team with my over the air setup currently.

Netflix is the #1 reason I feel comfortable cutting the cable. I still haven't run out of content to watch =)

S

Oh please!

Where is Hastings to blast Netflix when they screw customers? Answer: Nowhere because he's not an neutral party. His attack on Comcast may be right but it's completely self-serving and neglects to mention that Netflix uses the majority of internet bandwidth in the United States.

Note: I do not work for Comcast. I just don't like how Hastings acts like he is speaking for the "public at large" when he is anything but...

S

With all due respect, a discussion of the mode by which the data reaches home is not relevant to the ultimate issue.

If you've got DSL with good speed, that's just because you happen to live nearer (in cable feet) to the switches, and you've got no caps on DSL, because it's not YET profitable for your provider to attempt to put a tiered system in place or hit you with overages. On the Cable side, there is good speed and as has been pointed out, at least a plurality if not an overwhelming majority of High Speed Homes are using cable. Thus there IS a profit motive involved in applying differential pricing to Cable because the pool is so big and quite limited in their other options for High Speed access.

To demonstrate, I turn your attention to the recent moves by Verizon and AT&T Wireless to implement draconian data caps on new subscribers to their smart phone markets. What's the bottom line with this move?

Best case scenario (for AT&T and VZW):

1) it limits the need for future capital expenditures by constraining bandwidth needs to what either they've already implemented, or what they've already budgeted for (which would include their customary huge profit margin), for anything significantly above the budget, they take in revenue to the tune of many thousands of times the actual cost of providing the service.

2) It ties existing customers to their current service provider, you can't up and switch to AT&T from VZW, if you're using more than what either of them are offering data wise, and

3) it softens the market and gets consumers used to the idea that they are just profit centers, so that when the per-GB charges start hitting the Home DSL/Cable market, they won't complain as much (the old turn up the heat to boiling slowly so no one will notice).

I've seen #1 argued here on this blog before as something that the ISPs should be allowed to do in our 'capitalist' society. However, if you pay attention to the nations in the world that are doing better than the US on education, jobs, economy, etc., you'll find that they have a much higher penetration of High Speed Internet in homes than here in the US. ISPs should be pushed to provide better and CHEAPER service, not to sit tight and jack-up prices for Wall Street. To change this we may need a frank discussion about internet access becoming a 'life-line' type service, like the land line telephone. I hate to say it, but heavily regulated. Try getting a job or working with your local or State Government without internet access these days. It has become very, very hard to use the 'old' system.

#2 in the list is great, but only if it makes the smaller wireless companies bigger (sprint, T-Mobil, etc.), as people choose the 'unlimited' plans over the AT&T/Verizon cripple-ware. I applaud the denial of the AT&T/T-Mobil merger. This stuff drives me nuts, bigger is very, very rarely better, (see Banks and Financial Firms if you have any questions), but at least with the current administration, the anti-trust folks at Justice feel they have a freer hand to put the consumer first.

#3 is the most distressing. I've been trying to find the source article regarding the telecom/banking conference back in '10 or early '11, where one of the European investment banks was pushing for greater profit from Telecom firms through tired pricing. I can't seem to string the right search words together in Google, but I did find this... Which I would recommend for everyone's consumption.

It's a new world: Three Tectonic Shifts are reshaping our industry ..."

If anyone has seen the new Don Cheadle series "House of Lies", you'll love reading this brochure about how 'Service Providers' need to find new ways to 'monetize bandwidth'. It's full of 'screw the consumer' jargon and is a road map for what has just happened to wireless and what WILL happen to wired internet access.

So... If we're on the same page, wired and wireless companies are looking to squeeze more dollars out of each consumer. They're starting slow and small. We're hearing from wireless customers, 'that caps don’t affect me, I don't use that much data.’ From talking to everyone I can about this, I find that the fact is that they DO use a lot of data on their iphone/android/Win devices, but they consume more ‘data’ that’s hidden on wi-fi (i.e., someone’s wired network) than OTA from VZW or AT&T. So these folks are just clueless about their usage and the overall strategy that’s in the works and they’ll find out just how may bits and bytes they use, but too late to have any impact on the changes.

As far as Reed complaining about Comcast, you need to start with someone, might as well be the ‘boss’ character, Gorillas can go down too (plus Comcast wants to be vertically integrated [w/NBC], which again, worked out REALLY well for all of us with the Banking Sector). Win that fight and you'll get more XP that way for the fight with the minions. And yes, is the argument RE: Comcast/Net Neutrality self serving for Netflix?

Yes.

But you have to remember, that for Netflix, Amazon, etc. this fight is THE WHOLE FIGHT. If Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, etc. can’t get stuff to your house at a reasonable cost (for you AND them), it won’t matter if it’s $9.95 for streaming of $19.95 or $109.95, you won’t be able to afford it because of the middle man standing in the way with their hand out, who’s looking for more than their fair share of the cut.

Please excuse the rant, but I feel a bit helpless watching a train wreck about to happen because people can’t see the forest for the trees.

Kale Barton

@S, AT&T DSL does have caps on their tiers.

S

@Kale Barton
Thanks for the info. I've not had DSL for years and cut the cord from Comcast back in 2010. I use VZW 4G for all my internet these days. While I rant and rave about the evils of the on-coming pricing structure, I will give VZW credit over AT&T for being reasonable about going through the motions on their claim of 'network management'. When you piss-off VZW by using too much 4G bandwidth, they just slow you down to 3G for a couple of hours, then when peak traffic load drops off, they give you back full-ish speed. From what people tell me about AT&T, once you are ID'd as a 'problem' customer, you're on 1X or EDGE forever! That's partly why I feel that the phrase Draconian is an apt description. At Midnight, even a heavy user shouldn't be slowed to a crawl when no one is on-line taxing the local servers/cell sites. Shame on AT&T.

ScottZ

@S
With all due respect, when considering wireless, as you did, the mode by which data reaches the home is EVERYTHING!

In wired scenarios; the cable, GPON, DSL, the provider has direct control over the (over) subscription ratio.

In a wireless scenario; the wireless provider has little control over the (over) subscription ratio.

When dealing with wireless, the spectrum has a finite amount of bandwidth for each radio at the tower to support the number of subscribers currently in that area. Caps are needed in a wireless network in attempts to ensure reliable service for subscribers. Caps are bad in the wired network (electrons or photons) because it is an arbitrary limit with the sole purpose of squeezing revenues.

You will notice, in general, telcos (LECs) will not have caps, while cable and wireless providers will. You will also notice the telco networks are much more reliable as they have a 100 year history of being required to deliver lifeline service.

I my case, it is false when you say "DSL with good speed, that's just because you happen to live nearer (in cable feet) to the switches". I get good DSL speeds because my telco built their network with the conscious effort to deliver VDSL to 95% of their coverage area. My phone wires are actually capable of >30Mbps and has been since my house was built in 2003.

Klass Klown

"When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap."

So use the Xfinity app, dumb ass.

CordCutter

Caps for 'network management' is a lie. Cell phone companies manage their networks during peak times. You get free nights and weekends, they cap you during peak times. Somehow though the same principles don't apply to home internet connections, because it matters so much how much bandwidth you use at 2 AM or 11 AM, etc. I *might* believe the argument if they were throttling during peak times for cable internet connections, but I will never buy the "need" for caps.

CordCutter

Klass Klown - I might be wrong, but someone said HBOGo content through Xfinity is scaled back. The Offical HBO Go App/Channel has everything.

JT

Thank God here in the Bronx cablevision really cornered the cable/internet market. I get 30 down with no caps for around 45 dollars a month. Satisfies my Xbox gaming and movie/TV watching, my lady watching movies on the kindle and both bour phones that use wifi when in the house. Not only that but my ladies mother who lives next door in the adjacent apt with her son has an AP connected to my router and they enjoy the benefits as well. We're also all cordcutters. I just wish cablevision would offer ESPN3 access on the Xbox. I had Verizon DSL previously and the 1 good thing I got from them was espn3 access on the xbox.(actually 2. After I canceled there service the DSL modem/router I change some settings and just used it as a wireless router, pretty good 1 at that too.) Anyway, DSL sucked. Connection was always getting dropped and online gaming was fucking pathetic!!!

Kale Barton

From the Comcast Blog
The Xfinity On Demand content that we will deliver to Xbox 360 will not travel over the public Internet and is delivered in much the same way as we deliver your video service to your set top box. Your Xbox 360 essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service. As a result, our data usage threshold does not apply.
Now here's what's confusing me. Are we to assume that all On Demand content resides on servers located at EACH ComCast system, in EACH city? If that's the case, then I can't complain about what there are doing. But if On Demand programs are stored elsewhere and are being delivered to local customers then it really is no different than Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, Data requested by a customer isn't confined to some internal closed system at the local level.
So this just doesn't make sense...

ScottZ

Kale Barton,
Comcast has Akamai servers onsite which means subsequent streamings of Netflix viewings "will not travel over the public Internet and is delivered in much the same way as we deliver your video service to your set top box. Your Xbox 360 essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service."

The question is, why doesn't the "As a result, our data usage threshold does not apply." rule apply to Netflix.

moviegeek

I understand Reeds frustration and I hate caps but to be fair 250GB per month is a lot of data, I stream almost everyday and I only use 35GB. I wish they had tiers so I would be charged less since I don't use that much bandwidth.

S

@CordCutter RE:'Network Management' Caps

You are absolutely correct. All networks from road, rail & air to telecommunications must be designed for PEAK demand. In the current wireless market this means that some/all customers get slower speeds during peak times. I have no problems with dealing with true network congestion. However, the idea that a cap on total usage in a month has anything to do with network management (from a true architecture point of view) is false. It's a clearly just a way to make more money as they try to divide customers into more market segments, a scheme I noted yesterday.

@ScottZ

I think you might have missed the point, which ties back to overall monthly bandwidth caps. CordCutter points out (and I note in my second post RE: AT&T throttling), the limiting factor should not be overall consumption, unless it is a decision based on charging a higher cost for more consumption.

All of the moves (wired and wireless) boil down to money. AT&T hugely throttles customers because they haven't been able to deploy their network at an appropriate rate compared to VZW. Bandwidth caps also serve to (hopefully) cover holes in their service by limiting the burden that new customers will have on the infrastructure. This allows bigger profits from customers who will have to live with a network that isn't perhaps being upgraded at a rate commensurate with the fees they are being charged.

Same with wired. EXACTLY the same. What's even worse (as pointed out by both respondents) is that wired has more bandwidth to play with.

Also @ScottZ, your comment that you live in a newer home answers many questions that I had regarding the type of service that you're receiving and the inference in the comments that this is typical. If you live in an area with a newer backbone then you're lucky to get better service than others who live in older neighborhoods that haven't seen the investment in the infrastructure they deserve. I work in construction/estimating and it's much easier (and cheaper) to layout infrastructure like underground cables before the neighborhood goes in than after. You can also make sure the stubs to the individual homes are of good quality too. Those of us in older neighborhoods rarely see telco/comcast, etc. doing anything but repairs and installs. I'm only aware of Surewest (here in N.CA), who has put effort into upgrades to existing residential areas (i.e., fiber direct to the home).

But back to the overall point of the original Facebook rant. The Comcast assertion that it is 'just like another cable box' is a false premise. When the FCC/Justice Department looks at this they (should) focus on the content that's being delivered and the clear abuse that is taking place by limiting access to a consumer for one vendor and forcing the customer to use the Comcast service though an unfair and monopolistic business practice.

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