Comcast quietly deactivates congestion management system

By Shawn Knight · 17 replies
Jun 14, 2018
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  1. Comcast this week quietly announced it has deactivated a controversial congestion management system deployed in 2008 to slow down heavy Internet users. The change went into effect on June 11 and was likely made in order to comply with recent FCC transparency rules that were updated when net neutrality regulations ended.

    In a separate statement issued to Ars Technica, Comcast said its network and consumer devices have evolved to the point that the old congestion management system is no longer necessary. In fact, the company claims it has essentially been inactive for more than a year.

    With well over 99 percent of our Internet customers using more modern DOCSIS gateways and modems, congestion on individual channels is no longer an issue that needs to be managed. We took the opportunity to formalize this change while we were updating our other customer disclosures.

    While the congestion management system may no longer be in place, Comcast’s data caps and overage fees still exist. Most users are provided with 1TB of data each month; going over this limit will automatically add blocks of 50GB to your account at $10 each (not to exceed $200 per month). Comcast offers two “courtesy” months so you won’t be billed the first two times you go over.

    For those that regularly exceed the limit, the unlimited data option for an additional $50 may be worth exploring.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,989   +1,312

    the DOCSIS reference implies Cable ISP users (just in case you didn't connect with Comcast)
     
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  3. Shegunna_Blow

    Shegunna_Blow TS Rookie

    But, muh net neutrality!
     
    Stark likes this.
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    "Most users are provided with 1TB of data each month; going over this limit will automatically add blocks of 50GB to your account at $10 each (not to exceed $200 per month). Comcast offers two “courtesy” months so you won’t be billed the first two times you go over."

    So they constitute 1TB as heavy? No, my guess is they just want to squeeze more out of families and everyday internet users, most of whom will likely be unwitting to comcast's data cap policy. These people will be paying $10 for every 50GBs.

    A single person who gets all their content online will average about 566 GBs/month (calculated from netflix's estimated data usage). That's just considering this person only does netflix and internet browsing. Not gaming or anything else and that's for only 1 person. It also doesn't consider the impact of future content or speed increases. Typically when bandwidth increase so too does content bandwidth requirements and data consumption. In households of 2 people or more, which is the vast majority of America, you are going over your cap.
     
    Stark, veLa, SirChocula and 3 others like this.
  5. Shegunna_Blow

    Shegunna_Blow TS Rookie

    Caps are a whole different subject. You know what your limits are and you are getting the service you purchased with them at the expected rate.

    Also, use doesn't increase at a 1:1 rate with multiple users in a household.
     
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    How exactly are you getting the 100 MB/s you paid for when you literally can't use it when you hit your cap? You aren't getting what you paid for, your being forced to pay more.

    Ever take a look on Comcast's website?

    https://www.xfinity.com/learn/internet-service

    Notice the lack of the words "data cap"? So how is that knowing what you are getting again?

    "Also, use doesn't increase at a 1:1 rate with multiple users in a household."

    Nope but that's what we call an estimate. You must really be in a hair splitting mood to argue semantics like this but I'll humor you because it illustrates an important point. Fact is your kids and teens will use more data then you, simply because they have more free time and the younger generation prefers digital consumption. Not to mention many schools have turned to online services for homework and reports, which just means they are spending even more time on their device. So yeah, data use may not always increase at a 1:1 rate, it may increase much greater than that varying of course based on many factors.
     
  7. BadThad

    BadThad TS Booster Posts: 176   +87

    Comcast sucks! My poor brother has been stuck with them as the only choice for close to 20 years, he can't stand them across the board.
     
    jobeard, wiyosaya and Evernessince like this.
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    Unfortunately a majority of people in the US only have one choice for high speed Internet. The recent merger of Time Warner and Spectrum hasn't helped people in my area either :(
     
    SirChocula, Silvernine and wiyosaya like this.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,738   +1,308

    Will be costing you more - in complete compliance with Pai's new rules.
     
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  10. Shegunna_Blow

    Shegunna_Blow TS Rookie

    https://dataplan.xfinity.com/ is linked one-click in the "Offer Details" on the link you provided, but it's not even hidden in the fine-print. You are clearly paying for "up to 100 Mbps" (not 100 MB/s, more like 12.5 MB/s) on 1 TB of data, assuming you do indeed fall under that specific limited plan.

    To me this seems like you can drink your coffee at the advertised rate until your mug is empty, at which time you must buy more. At least now you can be sure they don't switch out your straw for one with a smaller diameter during peak usage times.
     
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,738   +1,308

    Sounds similar to me and Spectrum. No competition in my area, and my past experiences with them indicate they are total scum taking advantage of everyone they can with that monopoly.

    If a small, local fiber provider gets into my neighborhood, I am instantly on them even though I will be paying more - but for better speed.
     
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    There is no "Offer Details" on the page at all. Ctrl + F finds zero results.

    [​IMG]

    You have to click "View Plan Details" then "An XFINITY Internet Data Usage Plan may apply."

    And guess what? That still doesn't tell you whether or not you have a data plan. And yes that most certainly is fine print. It isn't stated on the initial plan page. They lure you in with all the juicy details and hide the data cap behind 2 clicks. I expect something so important to be listed up front.


    "To me this seems like you can drink your coffee at the advertised rate until your mug is empty"

    First, Comcast isn't providing the Coffee, Netflix is. Comcast provides the fricking Cup to transport the coffee, that's it. Second, Coffee is a consumable that's gone after you use it. Data is not and can be copied infinite number of times. Third, Companies like Netflix also pay on their end to have their data sent to you. Stop treating the internet like a finite resource that should be charged per quantity, it isn't and never will be.
     
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  13. oberonqa

    oberonqa TS Rookie

    You'll likely be waiting a long time. Fiber costs a lot of money in terms of infrastructure deployment and installation. There's a reason why Google Fiber is only available in select areas and the areas it is available in are areas with a high disposable income. There really is no such thing as "small" when it comes to fiber due to the sheer cost of the infrastructure behind it.
     
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    I think that has more to do with the cable monopolies blocking access to the poles. Google obviously has the money. Not to mention, Comcast and Verizon have received a ton of public money to pay for their infrastructure.
     
  15. oberonqa

    oberonqa TS Rookie

    It's not about the cable monopolies blocking access... it's about making money. Google Fiber is only available in areas where Google deemed the cost of building the infrastructure would be warranted by the potential for making money off of that infrastructure. Hence why it's available only in areas where there is high disposable income. Google is no different than big cable or anyone else for that matter when it comes to making money. Of course there are subsidies provided in order to assist in building up that infrastructure, but the primary decision factor is how much money can be made off of that infrastructure. How many years will it take for that infrastructure to not only pay back it's cost, but generate positive revenue? Or rather... how many months?
     
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    Oh what do I know, what I said was only widely reported on....

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...bers-access-to-utility-poles-california.shtml
    https://consumerist.com/2016/09/20/...lle-by-writing-law-to-slow-it-down/index.html
    https://billfixers.com/blog/comcast-sues-nashville
    https://www.tennessean.com/story/mo...ked-utility-line-policy-at-t-poles/889313001/

    Unless you can provide a link to where cost was the driving factor behind google fiber's slowdown, that's purely an opinion. What I said was fact and these companies have been in court over the very issue I mentioned.
     
  17. oberonqa

    oberonqa TS Rookie

    What I said is just an opinion... and that opinion is based off of the observation that Google Fiber is not available in any area where there isn't a high presence of disposable income. That opinion is also based off of the general principle that businesses are in the business of making money.

    Since you seem to like links so much, here is a link to Google Fiber's current serviceability map:
    https://fiber.google.com/newcities/

    Isn't it a bit interesting that the cities where Google is either currently available or planning to expand into are all cities with a rather high cost of living and that cost of living is balanced by the presence of high paying jobs? If I was to look at census information for those cities, I'm willing to bet I'd find a higher than normal average for median per-capita income than in cities where Google isn't available. But just for sake of conversation, here's some links for you to contemplate (since you again like links so much):

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/california/san-diego/ **Current Google Fiber City**
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sandiegocountycalifornia,CA/PST045216
    Median household income: $70,824 ($13,207 higher than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 43.6%

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/california/san-francisco/ **Current Google Fiber City**
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sanfranciscocitycalifornia,CA/PST045216
    Median household income: $96,677 ($39,060 higher than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 54.8%

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/washington/seattle/ **Current Google Fiber City**
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/seattlecitywashington,WA/PST045216
    Median household income: $78,612 ($20,995 higher than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 60.4%

    Now compare that with these links, all of which are NOT either Current Google Fiber cities or Potential Google Fiber cities:

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/nevada/las-vegas/
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/lasvegascitynevada,NV/PST045216
    Median household income: $54,384 ($3,233 less than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 22.4%

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/kansas/wichita/
    Median household income: $53,663 ($3,954 less than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 28.9%

    https://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/michigan/detroit/
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/detroitcitymichigan,MI/PST045216
    Median household income: $56,142 ($1,475 less than US median income per household)
    % of population with a College Degree: 13.8%

    In fact, if you check the median household income for every city that Google Fiber is in, all but two cities (Lewisville, KY and San Antonio, TX) has a median household income that is higher than the US median income per household. Coincidence? I didn't check the census information for all the cities Google is in right now, but I'm sure if you looked, you will likely see the % of population with a college degree follows a similar trend where every city where Google currently holds or plans to hold a presence has a high % of college graduates. So is that also a coincidence? Or is this an indicator of conscious decision making based on factors that are well known indicators of potential profitability?
     
  18. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    Correlation does not equal causation. All you are doing at this point is citing random statistics to support your pre-conceived notions Not only are 3 cities not indicative of any pattern, as you seem to claim it is, but you have zero official word from anyone from google to support it. In addition, you completely fail to take into consideration cost of living, which ironically is much higher in the 3 cities you cited as google fiber cities compared to the ones that are not.

    All you did is lump 3 cities together, a statistically insignificant number, to support a narrative that google doesn't official support. You would think that if you were right, Google would have cited incomes in their financial report with investors, but nope. Fact is, income of an area isn't an issue unless it's a very poor area. The fact that most American already pay $70+ for their internet means that they can already foot the google fiber bill. In effect, Google is making just as much money from a medium-poor income area than a rich one as the price of their service is fixed. Population density plays a larger role in the decision of where to outlay fiber than income does. Your observation is neither informed of the dynamics of the ISP business nor correct.
     

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