Some Internet Providers Implementing Bandwidth Caps

Posted on April 20, 2009

The Internet keeps getting better and more useful. Services like YouTube and Hulu have made it easy to find entertaining videos and tv shows online, free of charge. There are also lots of downloadable games, music and other content available online. Nielsen Wire reports that some Internet access providers have decided they need to cap the amount of bandwidth some its customers are using. Comcast has a 250-gigabye cap and and Time Warner Cable has been looking closely at consumption based billing plans.
Comcast has levied a 250-gigabyte cap on its users, (that's about 120 full-length standard definition movies or 65,000 songs). Time Warner Cable has a program of bandwidth caps that lets customers choose from several levels, ranging from 5GB to 40GB at prices that range from $29.95 to $54.90 a month, with the possibility of a 100GB tier in the future. Verizon's FiOS service has said it has no immediate plan to cap bandwidth usage.

This boom in video streaming is just getting started. Case in point: the uber-growth of Hulu. Unique viewers to that site alone have increased just over five-fold from February 2008 to February 2009. From September 2008 through February 2009, unique viewers have grown 49%, while the time spent viewing has risen 54% (from 114.7 minutes to 176.9 minutes).
You can read about Comcast's cap here and Time Warner Cable's consumption based billing plans here.

Bandwidth usage by customers is likely to continue growing as people are still just learning about service like Hulu. YouTube has also started offering shows at youtube.com/shows. With caps in place some consumers may have to get more selective about their downloads or pay more money to the Internet providers.