Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The man is slowing your internet connection

This story opened my eyes. How many of you are reading this blog via a cable internet connection? Wow, that's alot of hands, you can put them down now.

The few big players who control cable television access (Comcast, Time Warner, Charter & Mediacom) sort of have the market cornered on internet access.

Now how many of you have read the fine print on your cable internet access contract? Yeah, not very many hands.

Did you know about the bandwidth caps Comcast and Time Warner have imposed? No? Well Comcast says they can essentially shut off your access if you go above the 250GB data cap. While that sounds like alot, it really isn't if you upload tons of photos and videos and stream TV shows from Hulu or purchase from iTunes. There are probably months when I get close to that magical cap myself because I stream or download TV shows I've missed and sometimes uploads gobs of photos to be printed or share those same photos on Facebook or Flickr.

How about people with a home office? My field handles especially large files. At my work office I routinely find myself downloading a hundred megabytes of files in a single day and if I ever took my freelance work seriously I'd likely dabble in somewhere close to that same amount of data per day with uploading and downloading files from FTP sites and so on.

The problem is that a handful of companies are trying to strangle the amount of data which a single household can upload/download all in the name of protecting the ass-rapingly large fees they charge for cable television. A few years ago their argument would have seemed ludicrous but with the advent of Hulu and the Apple TV box you no longer have to sit in front of your computer to watch that streaming television. It's now magically on your TV for those who care to invest a few hours and a couple hundred bucks. I've considered going that route myself.

The problem with the cable TV giants' argument is that relatively few people (currently) are crafty (or patient) enough to go the 100% streaming route and by capping data quantities the cable giants are stifling communication and business. They need to realize that they provide a lifeline and raping those who pay for it isn't good business. Telephone companies don't dictate how long I can talk on my landline with local calls so why should cable companies say how much use I can get out of my internet connection?

Don't worry about this tech-heavy post, the low-brow crap returns tomorrow and check out MinnPics because photos love to be looked at.


Hammer said...

This will come back to bite them in the ass when people enough people are shut down over the data cap.

Beth said...

Here, a company called Rogers is the equivalent to your Comcast and Warners. As far as I know, they haven’t threatened to cut off service if we go over a certain cap – but we’ve been warned that we’ll have to pay more if we do.
They’ve got us…Internet, TV, phones…

Balou said...

Since I'm out in the boonies and do not have DSL or Cable available to me, I have satellite internet service through HughesNet ($70/mo). They have very strict download limitations within a 24 hour period. If I go over this limit, they slow me down to pre-historic speeds for 24 hours. From 3am-6am I can download unlimited amounts so I have to do my software updates in that time period or on the weekends. Streaming music and watching long shows on hulu is not an option for me. Well, unless I want to watch/listen from 3am-6am. I think there needs to be more competition out there.