Supposedly that affects only one percent of its customers.
It's the thin edge of the wedge, however; the big providers have long wanted to capitalize on people's expanding usage of the Net:
On the Internet, consumer behavior does not stand still. As the technology company Cisco stated in a report last winter, “today’s ‘bandwidth hog’ is tomorrow’s average user.”Rico says he doesn't watch video on-line, and he sure as hell won't start now...
Om Malik, the founder of the technology Web site GigaOm, called the cap “the end of the Internet as we know it.”
DSLReports.com, a Web site about consumer broadband information, said it indicated “a significant shift in the U.S. broadband market that won’t be reversible.”
Comcast’s cap does not amount to Internet metering, the charging of different prices for different broadband speeds or usage, but the change to Comcast’s policy does not rule out metering in the future.
In June, Time Warner Cable began a metering trial in one Texas city by offering various monthly plans and charging extra when consumers exceeded their bandwidth limit. AT&T has said that it is considering a similar pricing plan. The concept is not a foreign one; consumers already pay by usage for water and electricity. But broadband access has seemed unlimited, and any stifling of that is sure to concern some customers.
According to Comcast, a customer would have to download 62,500 songs or 125 standard-definition movies a month to exceed the caps. But high-definition video and video gaming require a higher amount of bandwidth. Derek Turner, the research director for the nonpartisan media policy group Free Press, said broadband caps could create a disincentive to view online video.