Comcast Officially E-Mails Users About 250GB Download Cap

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has started warning users about the 250GB download cap that they have implemented to their customers.  This 250GB cap was added to their Acceptable Use Policy.  Comcast confirmed the cap on August 28, 2008 and it is officially going into effect on October 1, 2008.  Comcast reported that the median household downloads about 2 or 3GB per month. 

For a user to hit 250GB downloads, they’d have to send over 50 million plain text emails per month, download at least 62,500 songs, or download 125 2GB sized movies.  

Below is the full e-mail that Comcast sent to high speed Internet customers:

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer,

We appreciate your business and strive to provide you with the best online experience possible. One of the ways we do this is through our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP outlines acceptable use of our service as well as steps we take to protect our customers from things that can negatively impact their experience online. This policy has been in place for many years and we update it periodically to keep it current with our customers’ use of our service.

On October 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clarify that monthly data (or bandwidth) usage of more than 250 Gigabytes (GB) is the specific threshold that defines excessive use of our service. We have an excessive use policy because a fraction of one percent of our customers use such a disproportionate amount of bandwidth every month that they may degrade the online experience of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of bandwidth and it’s very likely that your monthly data usage doesn’t even come close to that amount. In fact, the threshold is approximately 100 times greater than the typical or median residential customer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in perspective, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 million plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Download 125 standard definition movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heaviest multi- or single-player gaming activity would not typically come close to this threshold over the course of a month.

In addition to modifying the excessive use policy, the updated AUP contains other clarifications of terms concerning reporting violations, newsgroups, and network management. To read some helpful FAQs, please visit

Thank you again for choosing Comcast as your high-speed Internet provider.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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