seanvail99

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Some Thoughts on Internet Usage Caps - International Perspective

First off, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m motivated to post this blog because of the quest system. I’m not proud to say that, but these are the facts. 

  

From following Ryan Davis on twitter I have been really interested to hear his comments regarding Comcast’s Internet usage caps. Ryan was expressing concerns about a 250 GB cap limiting his Internet experience. I understand that when you have unlimited usage and all of a sudden your provider imposes a cap, you’re going to be upset. Nobody likes having a service that is taken away or scaled back. Ever. But it did kind of make me chuckle when I considered it from a different perspective.

Although I'm not an expert in global bandwidth charges, I really believe that many users outside of the United States have a rather different set of expectations for their high-speed internet. Even in Canada, we have had much greater restrictions in my experience.

I had been using a 1 Mbps connection for years through Rogers (the major cable/internet/mobile provider here in Canada). Now this was never the fastest package they offered, but it always suited my needs and for 35 bucks a month I could deal. Now I don’t remember the exact moment, but at some point a 60 GB download cap was put in place for the package. I dealt with this for the most part, with small overages from time to time. But as the years passed and more and more content became available online, this cap became a larger concern.

Rogers then proceeds to “adjust their product offerings” and takes the speed from 1 to 3 Mbps on my package. Bonus right? Well, not when they also brought a usage cap decrease from 60GB to 25GB. Yeah, 25 gigabytes. Totally unacceptable you say? You’re damn right.

After some strategic retention department phone calls, I was able to upgrade to a 10Mbps 95 GB usage cap package for nearly the same price (normally this is a $60/month package). This 95 GB is still nowhere near the 250 GB cap in place from Comcast.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that outside of the USA, bandwidth is a major issue. It’s just not always available at the speeds, quantity and value that many are accustomed to. This is very important to consider whenever you start talking about digital distribution of content. Often when the subject of digital vs. retail copies of games or music comes up, the issues that are talked about are issues with DRM or the satisfaction of having a physical thing on your shelf in your collection (although I agree that these are both legitimate concerns).  

When the digital pipeline is being throttled so badly that it affects how you are using the internet, there is a major problem. No end user should have to look at their “account usage to date” when they make a decision about what they will visit, stream or download online. Until this problem is fixed for the wider global audience, there will be a major obstacle in the widespread adoption of digital content. 

 

I’d be interested to hear perspectives from other users, especially as it relates to your local options. Thanks for checking in.

  

   
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