Bandwidth for February

We're getting closer. February's data usage clocked in at 213.98GB (196GB according to Comcast's meter). In addition to more and more shows on Netflix being delivered in HD, I did rebuild my laptop because of issues related to attempting to install the Internet Explorer 9 beta. Since I rebuilt and tried the IE9 beta again (to determine if my issues were in fact related to the new browser — they were), I ended up rebuilding twice. This meant downloading drivers twice. In addition to the software I downloaded for installation, I also had to download the games I had purchased on Steam, Games for Windows Live, and Impulse. (They were on a good enough sale for me to purchase them this way, but one of the reasons I dislike digital downloads is I am stuck with a long download process instead of just inserting a disc.)

February's usage may have been a little high due to an unusual circumstance (rebuilding a laptop and re-downloading software), but according to the online meter, I've already used 50GB for the first six days of March. (vnstat on my server is projecting a monthly usage of 244.46GB based on use so far.)

So I burned through a lot of monthly bandwidth. And I still haven't reinstalled everything.

On Comcast's data usage page is the following text:

Your Comcast High-Speed Internet service has a monthly data usage allowance of 250 gigabytes (GB). If you are wondering whether you are at risk of exceeding this 250GB threshold, you should know that the vast majority - around 99% - of Comcast customers use significantly less than 250GB per month.

I have to wonder if that is still true (since this was implemented back in 2008), and how long it will hold. I also wonder how long it'll be before I hit that cap myself. At least I know what to expect if and when that happens, from their FAQ:

What will happen if I exceed 250 GB of data usage in a month?

The vast majority - more than 99% - of our customers will not be impacted by a 250 GB monthly data usage threshold. If you exceed more than 250 GB, you may receive a call from the Customer Security Assurance ("CSA") team to notify you of excessive use. At that time, we will tell you exactly how much data you used. When we call you, we try to help you identify the source of excessive use and ask you to moderate your usage, which the vast majority of our customers do voluntarily. If you exceed 250GB again within six months of the first contact, your service will be subject to termination and you will not be eligible for either residential or commercial internet service for twelve (12) months. We know from experience that most customers curb their usage after our first call. If your account is terminated, after the twelve (12) month period expires, you may resume service by subscribing to a service plan appropriate to your needs.

Our practice for the past several years has been to call only our heaviest data users, and this practice remains the same now that the 250GB data usage threshold is in effect. We may change our practice but will, of course, provide notice to you of any change.

Will Comcast change? Well, there is this noncommittal statement in the FAQ:

Will Comcast ever revisit the 250 GB threshold and raise it in the future as bandwidth intensive activities become more and more popular?

We recognize that the Internet is constantly changing and we are committed to continuous improvement. We will continue to evaluate our policies to ensure we provide the best online experience possible. It seems reasonable to assume that this will change over time, as the Internet and our service offerings evolve, though we have not committed to doing so.

Considering Comcast's actions against Level 3 that are suspiciously harmful to Netflix, I would be surprised if they adjust their policy when most of my data usage does happen to be Netflix.

As much as I am loathe to suggest it, it may be time to look at Qwest's offerings.…

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