Comcast 250GB Cap? Avoid Dropbox or Online Backup!

Recently, I “downgraded” my Comcast service from Business to Residential – largely because I got more speed for less money, and I wasn’t anticipating coming anywhere near the 250GB cap. I hate artificial ceilings, but that’s the price I pay for paying less of a price?

I know I don’t knowingly download 250GB worth of data every month – I’m not THAT hardcore.

However, that 250GB cap is for all transfers (upload AND download) – and it’s not just for email and Web browsing, but everything. EVERYTHING. I was reminded of this when I read the article by another local boy about how Comcast is totally screwing him. Completely.

Since I record a TON of videos for YouTube, and most of my production is remote, I rely on Dropbox to better facilitate content for the channel. I connect to Dropbox from more than one machine (and, yes, LAN sync is always on). Either way, I push a lot of bits down the pike (before editing) – and a lot of bits get pushed back to me (after editing).

Tonight, as I was recording more videos for the YouTube, someone suggested that Dropbox was causing me to push my limit:

I’m guessing that user is 100% correct. I immediately disconnected Dropbox from one of my computers and cleared out certain folders (without realizing ramifications, causing further consternation). Video is bandwidth intensive – and not just when you’re wanting to watch it. I know I have likely pushed and pulled extraneous gigabytes of video data in these two weeks on Comcast’s Residential Class service.

Thank goodness my offsite “online backup” option stopped working a while back, or I’d have been in twice as much trouble by now. Could you imagine? I mean, how frequently do you see online backup services advertised everywhere? I wouldn’t recommend an online backup service if you’re dealing with a data cap, that’s for sure. No way in hell.

So, to put a finer point on my alarmist headline: be forewarned about using ANY KIND OF data-intensive service (like Dropbox or any online backup option).

Comcast – ease up there, dude. You’re screwing some of us out of very useful services.

I realize I’m probably more of a business user at this point, but your new Business Class prices are nowhere within the realm of reasonable – that’s why I “downgraded” (and got better speed in the process). Y’all need to set up some kind of in-between “Producer” or “Prosumer” level. We don’t want your Exchange or email crap – we just want no data caps for us to push legitimate traffic around.

I’m obviously willing to spend money – we all are. But you have to match our needs better (especially if we have “no choice” but to go through you as a broadband provider for home).

Now, I should also take this time to tell you that Comcast really isn’t horrible – at least, not the people I’ve dealt with. They accidentally turned off my service for 24 hours this week. A technician saw me flagged as a former Business subscriber and he accidentally killed all of my services (TV, Internet) – until I tracked someone down later that day to get to the bottom of the problem. By the following afternoon, they realized it was their issue (since my business connection existed at the same place as my residence). Comcast is now going to offer me a refund for some outstanding charges. It was their mistake, but they cleaned it up – with a good degree of speed and candor.

Seems like they’ve got another mistake on their hands, here, by ignoring power producers who aren’t pirating anything. I doubt anybody at corporate is going to pay attention to my plight – and they’ve obviously done their best to ignore Andre’s. If you’d like to read more about what happened to another Seattle-area Comcast subscriber, he’s detailed the literal post mortem in a complete ‘Day After’ blog entry.

There is no competition with Comcast – they’re pretty much the only game in town in certain areas of Seattle, and that sucks (for consumers and power users, at least). I don’t even want to get into the headaches my neighbors have had with the problematic Netgear routers Comcast keeps passing off for them to use. That’s another battle for another day.

*knock knock* Anybody there?

29 thoughts on “Comcast 250GB Cap? Avoid Dropbox or Online Backup!”

  1. yes the netgear customized router with DDWRT isnt really DDWRT comcast has a nice web interface so you can limit your bandwidth usage using the router so you can stop yourself from going over their cap.  This is bullshit!  my 3~5mb DSL connection consumed 1600GB more than once for just downloads where as my comcast connection would max out around 235gb a month total.  they never tell you how much of the 250gb is down or up so a power user that streams could consume it all in upload which is really 125gb not 250 since you take 250/up-down would be 125 gb down, 125gb up

  2. Unfortunately, I live in the middle of no where and the only ISP that reaches out to here is Century Link, the speeds are pretty slow. I’m talking the highest you can go here is 6mbps. Terrible from what I’m used to. I haven’t had to deal with the customer service ever, but when I get out of the country I’m gunna have to switch to Comcast. I’m pumped for the speeds but if I have a cap I will be beyond pissed. Plus the customer service always sucked for me. Comcast might as well be a damn monopoly…

  3. They’re the only real game anywhere. Even Verizon’s FIOS can barely keep up with Comcast’s top offerings.  I just upgraded from their slightly-expensive 50mbit residential to the crazy-expensive 100mbit business. The speed upgrade was because I just found out they offered more speed, of course; the business because I had exceeded my 250GB limit at least three months in a row. I couldn’t see farther back than three months.

    Not to sound trollish or anything, but if I can afford it, surely you can. 

  4. Yea that is pretty crazy. I am not a fan of Comcast and I am also not a fan of no competition. I bet if there were another player in town they would not be caping you.

  5. After all of these years of internet providers promoting their service to users, they now want to limit the very use of their service as more and more product is available for streaming and downloading. Are they concerned that the very limits they impose may make some consumers not signup for services like Netflix for fear of outrageous bills at the end of the month? I think limiting use is a bad idea and one that will eventually will hurt the very people that provide internet service to begin with.

  6. You think a 250GB cap is bad… Here in the Uk on my ISP there are two options:

    1. 40GB Download Cap…2. Unlimited Download… (Fair usage policy prob apply’s)
    The difference in cost is £5 and at the moment i am on the 40GB as i did not norm use that much like i norm used like 10-35GB as i was not online much but i think i will upgrade as last month i used 76GB and this month i am well over 50% of my usage and it is only 14 days in to the month… And worse it is a 24MB/S top speed and they told me the other week something i never knew… My line has a max of 5.5MB/S because of the age and quality of the copper in the wire… Fiber optic needs to get to my area… 
    My new is fast enough for web surfing but i norm am on skype vid call and net and with 5.5MB/P max… That is not good… 

    1. I get your point, right up to the bit where you say 5.5MB/sec is not good for Skype… Firstly you are talking Megabytes there, but presuming it was a typo and you meant 5.5Mb/sec (megabits), even then it is more than enough for Skype video. Perhaps this kind of dilutes your very legitimate point about ISP’s not being transparent enough about what you are getting for your money, but thought it was still worth mentioning

      1. Yes is mean megabits and did pit 5.5MB/sec which is the same as 5.5Mb/sec, isn’t it? but yes i know that 5.5Mb/sec is enough for skype video on it’s own but when i am trying to surf the net and run skype the connection quality on skype drops so much that i can hardly make out what the other person is saying, for e.g norm they could say “Hello, what are you doing today?” but in this situation i would hear “He-l-, W-a-t ar- you do-i-g t-d-y?” (the – meaning the connection would not let me hear the words full, that is how it would sound as the connection is bad (you get what i mean)). Sometimes this does not happen but that is only when i am getting the higher end of the 5.5Mb/sec speed but most of the time i am getting lower than that because the bandwidth does changes depending on how many people are online connected to the same telephone exchange as i am and there for the connection speed is slower than 5.5Mb/sec and i get the bad connection, sometimes even if i am not net surfing and i am only on a voice call (voice call being the only thing using the net in my house) i will still have this bad connection because the bandwidth is so low. I know a lot of people who find the same thing but then on the other hand, one of the people i often chat to on skype has a 10Mb/sec fiber optic line which does have bandwidth that changes as with any connection but even at the lowest point that are still getting a high speed and the connection is still fast when they have a low end speed. ISP’s need to tell people exactly what speed they are able to get on there line and what average speed they should expect… And i really want the ISP’s to hurry and get fiber optic lines in my are or do something. One of the people i chat to has the same 5.5Mb/sec max on the line and is paying for an up to 24mb line and did a speed test at a quiet time and got 0.93Mb/sec… ISP’s need to change…

  7. I think of it from the point of view of the ISPs. All these bandwidth-intensive services, especially Netflix and the cellphone services (that let you use local wifi and micro-cells for calls) are raking in a fair amount of money while burdening someone else’s system. Sure, many companies/services pay for bandwidth on their end, but the ISPs have been bearing the burden of the consumer-end. As more and more people subscribe to cloud and streaming services, ISPs are going to have to raise their prices for consumers, or strike deals with those services for a share of the profits–which would result in the need to begin charging consumers and/or increase prices for their services.

    1. I think it is reasonable as a customer/consumer to expect that when you
      subscribe to a higher level of internet service than most people (i.e.
      50mbps and upwards) you should not have a bandwidth cap. ISP’s have the
      right and responsibility to provide good service and keep up their
      network. If cost and/or conditions have to be put in place to provide
      good service that’s fine. But, if a customer subscribes to a service
      that’s premium by it’s nature and cost you should not be capped. Their
      is almost no point in getting a 105 mbps internet service if you are
      going to have a 250G cap whether it’s residential or not.

    2. Yeah, I have a friend who routinely hits the 250gb cap with nothing other than email and Netflix (his family all uses the Netflix account and there’s a 10-year-old involved :P). It’s pretty ridiculous to consider that if you maxed your bandwidth on some of their speeds you could use your entire traffic allotment in a little over 3 days.

    3. It’s rarely mentioned, but all of the ISP’s and carriers are ridiculously and greedily oversubscribed for their infrastructure. 
      For instance, Comcast’s model assumes one HDTV per household, which I find a bit naive. I use Clear here in Seattle and even with full signal bars there’s no bandwidth because of oversubscription.If massive tax breaks and record profits had been put into infrastructure instead of executive pay and cheesy tech bandaids, there would not be a bandwidth issue. The carriers ignored the trends to favor payouts.

      1. I agree. Not very forward-thinking of them to neglect to invest in getting ahead of the technology demand curve. I’d venture to say those high-paid execs weren’t doing their jobs well after all, if they didn’t see this coming. But, all that said, the facts are that all these new cloud and streaming services are piggy-backing on user bandwidth, and that is straining an over-burdened broadband infrastructure. As with gas/oil usage, if the price goes high enough you’ll either throttle your demand, or pay-up, because you’re the consumer.

  8. I think it is reasonable as a customer/consumer to expect that when you subscribe to a higher level of internet service than most people (i.e. 50mbps and upwards) you should not have a bandwidth cap. ISP’s have the right and responsibility to provide good service and keep up their network. If cost and/or conditions have to be put in place to provide good service that’s fine. But, if a customer subscribes to a service that’s premium by it’s nature and cost you should not be capped. Their is almost no point in getting a 105 mbps internet service if you are going to have a 250G cap whether it’s residential or not.

  9. What about a completely independent broadband service. I have a 4G Wifi hotspot that allows up to 8 devices. I know this won’t help you with TV, but the internet problem would be solved and the 4G is pretty fast. The service I use (Clear) is unlimited – $50/month

  10. I am aghast and angry at th eso called ‘Fair Usage policy’ being adopted by the ISP’s around the world.. what are these companies gonna do at th eend of the line ??
    May some Govt or activist group give them some sanity..
    I used to go overboard on my pittance of a 1mbps connection.. 
    there is only one ISP left for me to migrate and I will change for sure !!

  11. I noticed that my Wifi frame that was pulling from (now defunct) FrameChannel was the cause for approaching the cap.  I 1.) changed the frequency of updates and 2.) made sure the photos weren’t bigger than the maximum viewable quality of the frame and the usage dropped by over 50%.  One VERY helpful tool that Comcast COULD provide is a way to see which sites you push and pull from the most.

  12. I understand that the vast majority if customers use less than the 250 Gig cap, but 1% still use more.  Does that mean that every month 1% of their customers go over and then get disconnect for a month or perpetually?

  13. Come to New Jersey, Chris! 😉

    When I was considering a move to Seattle, I was blown away by the lack of broadband options in most of the area. It was either Comcast or Qwest with small pockets of FiOS. 
    In New Jersey we have a bunch of options including FiOS, various DSL providers and Comcast. I ran screaming from Comcast as soon as FiOS was available in my area and haven’t looked back.

    I upgraded to their 25 mbps up/down service and it’s been great for audio and video.

    Of course, it’s not reason to move to the East Coast….

    1. I bet NJ has the best Comcast service. I moved from NJ to PA (Comcast HQ) and the service has dropped. Losing internet, boxes where crapping out, employees coming out to the house had no clue what they where doing…ect 

    2. I bet NJ has the best Comcast service. I moved from NJ to PA (Comcast HQ) and the service has dropped. Losing internet, boxes where crapping out, employees coming out to the house had no clue what they where doing…ect 

  14. I’ve been angry with TIme Warner Business Class’s terrible customer service now for a year or more. They keep screwing things up and are hostile when I talk on the phone. Now they dredged up an alleged 2-year-old overdue balance from my residential service. I’m stuck with a 3-year business contract. I’ll cut out cable tv to reduce my monthly charges. When my contract is done, I will NOT renew

  15. You also need to be carefull with your anti-virus settings. If a network drive from the cloud get scan every day or week… all the files are downloaded by the AV using a lot of bandwidth. If those files are backups, you don’t need to scan them anyway, because they are scan localy.

  16. That is a very hefty Internet Connection that you have, at 105Mbps. I’ve never heard of such a thing, the highest here is at&t’s 24Mbps. 

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  18. omeone down later that day to get to the bottom of the problem. By the
    following afternoon, they realized it was their issue (since my
    business connection existed at the same place as my residence). Comcast
    is now going to offer me a refund for some outstanding charges. It was
    their mistake, but they cleaned it up – with a good degree of speed and
    candor.

  19.  Hey cool blog you have here with an awesome following!  It’s also good to find coupons. I am enjoying your video about volatile market.

  20. here in Lawrence Kansas, there is an ISP named Knology, they have the most draconian bandwidth limit ever, for high speed cable. Half a gig a month total for their cheapest plan, with 5 gigs a month total for the most expensive plan. Needless to say, I despise all caps by now. I switched to Lawrence Freenet, which, though spotty, is more reasonable. I need AT&T Uverse soon.

  21. Thank the gods my ISP does not have data caps!
    But I’m in the UK with speeds that makes a dead snail super-glued to a rock seem fast!!! (Lucky if i get 1024KiB/s download)
    But I do pay for the unlimited data (roughly $30 monthly) but worth it for my on-line backup service!

    But we have loads of ISP’s to choose from ^__^

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