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More cable users are consuming 1TB of data per month, face fines for exceeding caps

By midian182 · 44 replies
Jan 28, 2019
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  1. Vendor OpenVault has found that US cable internet customers now use 268.7GB per month on average. That’s up from 226.4GB at the end of June 2018 and a 33.3 percent increase over the 2017 year average. The number of power users—households that use 1TB of data or more each month—also saw a significant increase, more than doubling from 2.11 percent in 2017 to 4.12 percent in 2018.

    With the rise in 4K content and the number of devices that support the resolution, along with the increasing popularity of video streaming sites, it’s no surprise to see homes using more data.

    Households whose ISPs impose data cap limits, such as Comcast, use 8.5 percent less data than uncapped customers as they try to avoid being fined for overuse—many are charged around $10 for every 50GB over 1TB. Those without caps are also the ones most likely to exceed one terabyte.

    It had been claimed that the caps were necessary to prevent congestion, but we know this isn’t true. Comcast says the limits are there in the interests of “fairness,” while OpenVault, says they help cable companies avoid major network upgrades.

    "Our analysis makes it clear that usage-based billing is among the most effective tools the industry has in managing consumption and reducing the need for massive capital expenditures," writes OpenVault Executive VP Josh Barstow.

    OpenVault told Ars Technica that the data from December 2018 comes entirely from cable networks, so it does not include any fiber, DSL, or wireless Internet services.

    Cisco’s 2018 Visual Networking Index predicts that global IP traffic will increase to 396 exabytes per month by 2022— more than has crossed global networks throughout the entire history of the internet to date—which means many users on data-capped plans will likely start paying more for their online services.

    Permalink to story.

  2. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Guru Posts: 394   +462

    This is more of an ISP problem than a User problem. ISP's need to adapt to user needs, not the other way around.

    Which of course just means we get charged more.
  3. R00sT3R

    R00sT3R TS Guru Posts: 155   +336

    This only seems to be a problem in the US, which lets be honest, is a place where businesses would charge by the cubic meter for oxygen consumption, if they were allowed to...
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,397   +2,934

    A top-quality 1080p x264 movie in MKV format is about 10Gb on average, while 2160p x265 MKV movie, using high-quality compression cannot be less than 30Gb, or else the loss of quality is noticeable. So that's at least 3 times increase in the download volume.
  5. Robertrogue

    Robertrogue TS Booster Posts: 71   +29

    I use a cable provider who has me use their app to watch tv, so I use only the data for all my needs. If they decide to cap the data, they will shut down half the viewers they have at least. I would just fire them and find a different supplier. I agree with gusticles41, the providers need to adapt to the consumer and not the other way around. You want people to spend $100 plus a month consistently, you need to provide better and better support for the product. Ask Blockbuster how not adapting worked.
  6. Mithan

    Mithan TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +44

    I work for a TelCo, the idea that nobody sees this coming is stupid. I suspect we will be looking at metered internet in 10 years perhaps, but ultimately, fiber to the prem being rolled out is going to increase these transfer rates enormously.
  7. btfsttg

    btfsttg TS Rookie Posts: 27   +17

    ISPs would really like to charge us by the teaspoon for data.
  8. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 684   +511

    Advertisment spamming has increased as well. I know a high portion of my cell usage is just for apps spamming me with video advertisements now instead of just pictures or text. Advertisements are now even longer. Facebook now, by default, makes advertisements play videos immediately. They made sure they buried the setting to disable this deep into the settings menu. Scumbags. Do these companies not know I boycott their products who pay to do this to us? They also directly raise our internet costs because of the extra data usage. I'm sure ISPs love the additional revenue. I doubt it, but I can see companies getting kickbacks for the extra bandwidth charges. ;)
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. Toju Mikie

    Toju Mikie TS Booster Posts: 88   +86

    4k on YouTube uses around 15-30 GB/hour, depending on the frame rate of the videos.
    game streaming is also on the rise. GeForce Now recommends 50 Mbps speed, which is around 23GB/hour. Data usage will keep going up as more people migrate to 4K, and yet Comcast is also still saying that less than 99% are staying under 1TB! How is that possible?!
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +288

    This is a spot where some good ole government regulations would be sweet. Make it a law that there cannot be data caps on broadband. Really simple.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  11. Vollezar

    Vollezar TS Booster Posts: 103

    Hardly surprising that people use so much. Videos on site like Amazon's Prime Video are at over 6 GB per an hour long episode. Sooner or later ISPs will have to start upgrading. Sooner if their customers start raising hell about this nonsense. I don't think they are putting off the upgrade, it's just more profitable for them to charge people excessive rates for "over usage".
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  12. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +288

    Downloaded a game the other day. 80 gigs. Most games nowadays are north of 30 gigs.

    At some point the content creators themselves will push for changes as it limits the amount of games and movies people can buy.

    I've already used up my two courtesy months thanks to my kid downloading games.

    Imagine doing remote video editing work.

    This bs just isn't sustainable.
  13. Karbust

    Karbust TS Rookie

    At least in Portugal we have a really unlimited usage. If it was like in America I would be screwed, myself alone does more than 300GB per day in my building with 19 apartments...
  14. Vollezar

    Vollezar TS Booster Posts: 103

    That's exactly why I started to check how big the download is before I buy games. Anything bigger than about 30GB I just ignore, even if I really want to play them.
    Godel likes this.
  15. ZipperBoi

    ZipperBoi TS Member Posts: 19   +23

    No data cap from my ISP :) The only downside is they pretty much run a monopoly on the area so unless you are outside of city limits you HAVE to go through them. But paying $49.95 a month for 150mbs down and 15mbps up with no limits is nice.
    Toju Mikie likes this.
  16. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,246   +3,661

    If they found a way to exclude the data used for
    1. Forced ad and commercial watching
    2. click bait leaders
    3. ALL commercial apps

    Then we would never get close to the limits. Being forced over the limits by all this junk is sort of like taxation without representation .... Perhaps time for a Boston Data Party where we throw all the servers from our favorite ISP into the river .... but we need to dress like geeks rather than Indians ......
  17. fktech

    fktech TS Maniac Posts: 522   +136

    The greed comes out!
  18. redhat

    redhat TS Member Posts: 36   +24

    4k has more cons than pros. Just look at the terrible size of games and movies, just few of them plus some family memories and you are out of capacity. I think a powerful lossless compression would be the best solution for many of us
  19. Xabi Granja

    Xabi Granja TS Member Posts: 23   +19

    This sucks. Our household gets to 1TB every month, and we're careful not to be charged extra. It's a shameless situation. We own two 4K TVs, but have every service setup to 1080p because otherwise we'd go WAY over 1TB (we're getting to our cap at 1080p!).

    I don't even subscribe to 4K quality on services like Netflix, because the *****ic caps mean I cannot use it without paying exorbitant amounts.

    cliffordcooley and Toju Mikie like this.
  20. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 749   +366

    It was my happiest day on earth when I could stop being Comcast customer. Adios titty rubbing pervs!
  21. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Evangelist Posts: 321   +112

    The oil will really hit the anus when 5g come out.
  22. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,900   +3,344

    Who's going to bet that Comcast will keep the cap at 1TB for awhile?
    Toju Mikie likes this.
  23. BobHome

    BobHome TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +20

    Clarification needed, please.

    Through our provider, Wave, we have cable and internet. We dropped cable TV for Roku devices. We are watching the same shows on the same networks as we did with cable. BUT, our data usage has gone from under 100 MB a month to over 1 TB a month (1.77 TB this month an 4 days left in it). We also had to bump up to 100 MB from 10 MB service.

    The same TV shows are coming into our house over the same cable, only now they call it 'internet data' instead of 'Cable TV data'. I have the Roku's set to 720p to keep the 'internet data' down where we received many shows at 1080p on cable TV.

    So, since we are receiving the same 'data' does this mean when it was called Cable TV we were using more TBs since we had a lot of 1080p shows? Yet we're paying more for internet because of its supposedly higher data requirements?

    I'm confused....
    Thayios likes this.
  24. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +288

    I'd kill for this. I have nearly the same thing but pay almost triple and I have a datacap.
  25. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 684   +511

    A cap is stupid. Why even bother? Put everybody on dial-up and you won't every have to worry about caps. Oh yeah, because they wouldn't be able to reach into our wallets as far. Otherwise it's like giving everyone 10GB broadband with 100GB cap.

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