The Comcast Data Cap is Ruining My Life

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The Comcast Data Cap is Ruining My Life

The Comcast data cap that has been put in place within the last year is causing serious issues in my household. For the first time in forever (yes, I just quoted Frozen), I am forced to be conscious of my internet usage or else be forced to pay the price (literally). At $10 per extra 50gbs, it can add up fast. To make matters worse, it’s leading to disputes between my husband and I over who is entitled to watch Netflix, update our iPhones, or any other data-hogging activities. We are also frequently forced to have conversations with my son over whether or not he can watch another Youtube video.

It’s stress that I just don’t need in my life.

Comcast Data Cap?

From what I have been able to gather, before 2008 Comcast had no set data limits. There were some instances of throttling, but few “cut-offs” or limits prior to that. However, due to bittorrents and other bandwidth hogs, or so they claim, Comcast put data caps into place in 2008. Most customers were given grace bandwidth after that point, but many Comcast customers were actually cut off when reaching 500-800gbs of data usage. In some cases, customers were locked out of Comcast internet for months or even a year for failure to monitor their internet usage.

In 2008, Comcast made the data cap official.

We Didn’t Need As Much Data in 2008

Back in 2008 we didn’t use nearly as much internet as we do today. Comcast stated that the median average for their customer’s internet usage was between 2-3gb per month. A survey in 2007 reported that over half the respondents used less than 100gb per month.

People used the internet differently in 2008. Netflix only began streaming content to PCs in 2007. It would take several years for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other content to be readily available on smartphones, internet TVs, tablets, and other streaming devices.

The very first iPhone was released in 2007 and wasn’t widely adopted until Verizon began offering iPhones in 2011. They are now cemented into our way of lives, and it’s hard to imagine the world without them. Consider the data we use from these devices alone and you’ll agree that we consume way more data now than we did back in 2008.

Data Caps Suspended

In 2012, Comcast began testing a new data cap program in several markets and increased the data cap from 250gb to 300gb per month. If your data usage exceeded the 300gb allotment, you would automatically be charged an additional $10 per 50gb for data used. However this only applied to a few target markets, and the rest of Comcast customers had the data caps lifted and there were two glorious years of internet usage without the fear of exceeding the Comcast data cap.

These were the good years.

The Comcast Data Cap Return

In early 2014, Comcast began imposing a data cap in certain markets. The new capped plans include 300gb of data regardless of what your broadband speed might be. If you exceed the allotted 300gb, $10 will be charged for each increment of 50gb. Except for Tucson, Arizona, who is somehow blessed with 600gb of data on the Extreme 105 plan.

The markets affected include:

  • Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia
  • Central Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee
  • Charleston, South Carolina

I was fortunate enough to be included in the Atlanta market. You don’t be too jealous of me, however. Apparently Comcast plans to reimpose it’s data limits on all customers within the next 5 years.

But for now, I will bear the burden for you.

We Like Our Internet and Lots of It

We’re a connected family.

My husband plays online games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and several other Xbox One titles. He has also recently developed an obsession with the show Parks and Recreation. Before that, he was in love with The Office.

My son watches Youtube and Netflix. He’s used an iPad since he was 2. He’s been reading since he was 3. Consequently, he has a larger vocabulary at 5 than many adults I know. So I don’t buy the argument that technology stunts a child’s ability to learn. If anything, it has amplified his knowledge.

I work from home and spend 8-12 hours a day online. Occasionally I stream music and have been known to watch an episode or two of the Gilmore Girls since it became available to stream on Netflix.

We have no less 3 computers, 2 tablets, 3 smartphones, 1 Roku, 1 Apple TV, 1 Chromecast, and 1 smart TV in our home. At any given time at least 3 of these devices are being used concurrently.

We like our internet, and we like it a lot.

Making a Choice About What Data is Important

Thanks to Comcast’s recently imposed data limit, I know have to make a choice about the data I consume. I can no longer switch on the Gilmore Girls for a quick pick me up. I can’t listen to something that is not at all age appropriate on Pandora to get me motivated to clean the house. I can’t let my son watch another Minecraft video on youtube without fearing we’ll meet our data cap more quickly. Because it’s not a matter of if, but when.

The funny thing is that according to the Comcast data calculator I should not be exceeding the 300gb limit, but somehow I am. They also state they cannot give an itemized list of usage stating “We don’t track that information,” but we all know they do.

Comcast Data Calculator
We get to this amount by the 15th of the month.

What About Business Class Internet?

We have actually been so concerned about our internet usage and the potential for it to cost us greatly that we’ve looked into business class internet. Of course, Comcast is the only thing available in our area. The plans start at $70 a month and go from there. To get a plan with speed comparable to what we currently have, it would be $200 a month. We’d also be forced to sign a contract for a minimum of 12 months. If we moved, we’d have the choice of transferring our service to our new address, the new homeowner or paying a hefty fee. In fact, recently a man was faced with a $3,000 fee after signing a Comcast business class internet contract and then moving out of their service area. It was only dropped after the story began hitting the media. That’s a gamble I don’t want to take.

Check Your Comcast Data Usage

Comcast has been thoughtful enough to give us a handy tool to check our data usage. You may do so here.

Comcast Data Usage
Graph of How Much Comcast Ruined My Life By Month

Nearly every time I check I am reminded of the restrictions that have been placed on our lives and the arguments that occur when I ask my husband to stop binge-watching Parks and Recreation or Trailer Park Boys. Every episode cuts into my child’s college education and at this rate he’s probably going to have to settle for community college or forgo the experience altogether.

Having an an argument about how watching a TV show may or may not prevent your child from growing up to become a software engineer is not exactly the way I thought I’d be spending the Friday nights in my late 20’s.

Comcast Data Cap Pop Up

Comcast Data Usage Notification

Starting in May, I began noticing a pop-up notifications alerting me that I was approaching the data limit. This is in addition to the email and phone call I had already been receiving. I’m thinking this notification is a bit much, and it almost seems like it is mocking me. The phone call almost always comes first and this pop up usually just results in putting me a bad mood.

Is Comcast Removing the Data Cap?

Since writing this article, I’ve heard increasing rumors that Comcast will be removing the data cap. These have come from Comcast technicians, Twitter friends who have roommates and friends that work for Comcast, and other sources. I have called myself to ask if the data cap will be lifted, but I have been told “no” by every representative. I frequently speak with the @ComcastCares representative on tTwitterand nearly everyone of my tweets is replied to with a link to their policy referencing the data cap. So while I’d like to give hope that the data cap will be coming to an end in the near future, I haven’t heard or read anything that clearly indicates this is the case.

What Can You Do to Get Rid of the Comcast Data Cap?

Nothing.

We’ll, probably nothing.

Data caps themselves are a funny thing, and it’s worth examining how they work. Even though extra data used costs Comcast nothing, or practically nothing, there’s enormous profit to be made in enforcing it, and Comcast uses its lobbyists to give millions of dollars to politicians making it nearly impossible to get legislature against the media giant. In fact, in 2014 Comcast spent $17,020,000 on special interest lobbying activity.

Comcast is the biggest provider of home internet service in the United States and has been given the lowest customer service rating in a recent survey. So customers already hate them, and I’m sure they get an earful about how terrible they are on a regular basis. Even so, I’m sure they just cry all the way to the bank and wipe their tears with wads of money because in 2013 Comcast brought in $64.657 billion in revenue.

But we shouldn’t go silently into the night and accept our data-altered lifestyles just because Comcast says so. So here are a few things you can do about the Comcast data cap:

File a Complaint with the FCC

News reports state that the FCC may look into Comcast’s data caps if they are implemented nationwide. However, those of us are in test markets will need to act now if we want to get something done sooner. You cane file what is called an “informal complaint” (which just means without paying a fee) online at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us. A Reddit post event suggests that if you file a complaint with the FCC about the data cap that it will be forwarded to Comcast and a high-ranking customer service representative called an ESL will likely suspend the cap for you.

Monitor Your Data Usage and Argue for the Fees to be Removed

One of the most frustrating things about the Comcast data cap is that they don’t tell you what content, activities or devices are hogging all the data. In many cases (myself included) data continues to be consumed even when you are not in the home. This leaves many to question the validity of the data use stated by Comcast.

To fight them directly on your data overages you need to be able to support your claims with facts. One of the best ways to do this is to monitor the data in your household with your own wireless router. In order to do this, you will need to make sure your router supports 3rd-party firmware and can use DD-WRT, or another firmware, to monitor the data usage of all you devices in your household.

Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router

The Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router is a good choice, but there more routers available and many other types of firmware that support data monitoring and a ton of routers that support the firmware.

Find out more details on How to Monitor Your Internet Bandwidth Usage and Avoid Exceeding Data Caps

Stop Using Comcast’s Modem

Most people are using the modem that Comcast provides. Unfortunately, modems they typically provide are unreliable, have terrible wifi, and cost you $10 a month! I’ve had multiple Comcast technicians tell me how bad their modems are and how frequently they have to be replaced. Also, many have reported that once they replaced the Comcast-provided modem with their own, their data usage was sliced in half. If you are using Comcast’s modem, replace it today. You can pick up a Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem for around $80 and a basic wireless router for $20. They will pay for themselves in less than 10 months because you’ll be saving that $10 a month and potentially overage fees.Motorola ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Move to a Place With More Internet Options

If relocation is an option, then you can perhaps find another internet provider without a ridiculous and unadjusted data cap. Google Fiber is ever-expanding, and if fast and limitless data is important to you, it might be worth relocating to one of the current or emerging Google Fiber markets. This is an option I am seriously considering. When Google Fiber actually exists in Atlanta, I will begin the hunt for my Google-Fiber-accessible dream house.

Call or Tweet Comcast and Complain

1-800-COMCAST – @ComcastCares

With most companies if you call and complain enough they change their practices for fear of losing customers. Most companies don’t have a monopoly on a market, and the fear that you will leave and go to a competitor is a real and pressing danger to their bottom line. This is not usually the case with Comcast. In markets where Google Fiber or other competitors exist, however, customers can demand a lot more from Comcast, and they will often deliver. But in markets where there isn’t competition your have less bargaining power. However, you should still call and express your frustration and disappointment. You should make it clear that other companies do not have data caps and those that do usually don’t enforce them. Rolling over and taking it is the last thing you should do.

Stay Informed About Comcast Data Caps and Other Broadband Limits

Even if you’re not currently affected by a data cap, if you’re a Comcast customer you will be in the near future. Sites like Stop the Cap will keep you informed on broadband data caps and other internet restrictions. Make sure you stay up to date on these caps and take any opportunity you can to express your dissatisfaction. The moment you read that the is cap coming to your area call Comcast to complain and ask your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Adjust Your Netflix’s Setting

By default, Netflix is consuming a ton of data to give you the most beautiful picture possible. When you’re on a stingy broadband provider like Comcast, you have to conserve where you can. If being able to see the pores of skin of what we assume are flawless movies stars isn’t high on your priority list, then this might be a viable option to help shave off some bandwidth. By adjusting your Netflix data usage you can shave about 90%  (3gb per hour down to 0.3 gb) off your streaming video streaming bandwidth total.

Share This Article

I’ve called Comcast to complain until I am blue in the face. We need numbers to really make an impact on this issue. Comcast needs to know that the data caps that have only been adjusted 50gbs in the last 6 years are unrealistic and not conducive to modern lifestyles. They need to know that data caps are only adding to the disgust many of their customers already have for them. Comcast needs to be spending so much time and money on phone support for complaint calls about the data caps that the extra money they are trying to squeeze out of us for going over the data cap is just not worth it.

Sign This Petition

We need to come together in large numbers to let Comcast know that these arbitrary data caps are not okay. Sign this petition to get the data caps removed.

Call Comcast. Alert the Media. Get the Word Out.

Technology is evolving too fast to live in a world with data caps.

53 thoughts on “The Comcast Data Cap is Ruining My Life”

  1. I was caught one month by the usage limit. I’m in Memphis and it was 300Gb. They said that they forgave the first 3 instances of going over so I wasn’t charged. I found a very good app to track my usage. It’s called Glasswire and it’s free. It tracks data usage by day, week, month, device, app, hosts, etc. Very good. I checked the Comcast usage monitor today and saw this note.

    On June 1, we increased your data usage plan to 1 terabyte a month. As part of this plan change, you now have two courtesy months to exceed a terabyte of usage without charge. After using these two months, if you exceed a terabyte you will be charged $10.00 for each 50GB of additional data provided, but charges will not exceed $200 each month, no matter how much you use.

    They’re obviously catching a lot of heat about the limit. Keep up the good work people!

  2. Thanks for this! We signed up in January and weren’t told of data caps at all. I had never heard of it. In February, I get a notice that we are getting close to the cap. March, we went well over and I was furious! I checked today (the first of April) to verify that it had reset, and before 8am, the usage chart said we had already used 10 GB!!? I called comcast and they apparently looked at our modem and had to reset it to correctly determine usage. I really think this is a bunch of lies. I filed a complaint with the FCC. (Thanks for the link.) It’s defiantly a thorn in this Momma’s side. It’s bad enough having to stay on your teens about cellular data, but now at home? NO THANKS.

    1. Did they give you a refund? I never paid too close attention to my bill, but this is ridiculous, thanks for the heads up.

  3. Thank you for your great post. I feel exactly the same with my family. I don’t need this new stress. I find myself avoiding Netflix at the end of the month, and making sure my kid’s iPads are not running YouTube while they are not even watching anymore.
    In my test region (fort lauderdale) Comcast provides de option of having unlimited data for an extra $30 a month. I’m waiting to see my average over charge before deciding to enroll or not.
    I feel even worse because I just changed from ATT to Comcast to save money, and 3 months later they start enforcing the caps.

    My alternative in going back to the slower (but ok) AT&T but there is a fee to break my 2yr contract.

  4. On Comcast there are two places to get an ‘estimate’ of your data usage.
    1) Log in to your account, go to My Services, them go to My Internet
    or
    2) Data Usage Monitor app

    The current version of the ‘app’ is quite amusing — it doesn’t remember who you are so you need to put in both your user name and password whenever you start it and it never updates once it is started so you need to close it and re-open and (you guessed it) re-enter your …

    The discrepancies between the estimates are rather breathtaking – not that I believe either at this point.

    The best part for the data usage app is that estimates don’t just go up — they often go down by amazing amounts!
    However, by the end of the day the app tends to jump to whatever the ‘My Internet’ version claims.

    The past two weeks the My Internet version has gone berserk and is claiming that our usage has tripled from about 10gb/day to about 30gb/day for no apparent reason.

    I’m looking at other options and hopefully will change to another provider sometime this month – I just do not have the energy anymore to argue with Comcast anymore about their impossible data usage claims.

      1. It confuses me when every one’s first reaction to any problem is “Lets sue !” I MISS the good ol’ 90’s when we as people were not so self entitled and tried to help each other. Even businesses would work with with people, bu twhy any more saying the average person will jump the gun to sue for free pay checks….

        sad really….But again this is America so its all the Corporations fault……sad really

        1. Tim….you can’t be serious! Comcast is truly hated and for good reason. I would love for someone or something to sue them into bankruptcy. They have a government imposed monopoly on their cable lines and rape their customers over and over…..

          1. Comcast will and can get away with it. It’s like drug dealers that give the addict small doses to keep them coming back. If you truly hate comcast just unsubscibe and use the public library if not well your cries will go on deaf ears until you submit like loyal dogs or worst other company’s jump on the band wagon. Jesus these aholes won’t stop until they get net nutrality and some form of legislation past to spy on us.

        2. Tim Martin, what are you talking about? Nobody said the first reaction should be to sue Comcast (and good luck with that by the way, the only winners in class action are the lawyers. And they win BIG).

          If you paid any attention at all (as in read the posts, here and elsewhere), you’d see that the vast majority advocate things like switching to a different provider, expressing your displeasure with Comcast, or filing a complaint with the FCC. Unfortunately, none of those options are effective. Comcast has a monopoly or near monopoly in most markets, they are clearly not interested in how their customers feel about their service or their pricing, and the FCC is in their pocket (along with much of congress).

          This is a serious issue, and you are on the wrong side of it.

  5. I had Comcast when I lived in Utah in 2011, but I had Time Warner Cable when I moved to San Antonio from 2012 until last week. Fortunately for San Antonio, Google Fiber has announced that they’re coming here next, so Time Warner had to upgrade San Antonio to their “MAXX” network, maxing out at 300mbps down / 20mbps up. I used that speed for a while, but even being an electronics geek, I still only needed 50/5, so we downgraded and only paid $35/month.

    The nice thing about TWC is that they don’t have data caps (at least not in SA), so I used 1.6TB last month. However, I’ll soon be living full-time in an RV, which means I’ll have to shift my usage drastically to fit a cellular LTE data plan, or spend $1,000 on eBay assuming a Verizon contract with unlimited data (yes, an AOL is still possible).

    I think 300GB per month is ridiculous in this day and age, and it seems like the only way these ISP’s will learn is when Google comes into every city, and offers gigabit speeds for $70 everywhere. I really hope we see some radical change in not only ISP’s, but also content providers very soon.

  6. I actually went and had AT&T install their crappy slow U-Verse internet in my house as a second internet connection, and I use that for anything that is data heavy but not time sensitive. It also is fast enough for streaming Netflix or HBO Go as long as only one device is on at a time. This allows me to stay under the 300GB data cap on Comcast (I still come in at around 200GB even with virtually all of my video streaming offloaded to AT&T). AT&T states they have a data cap but they don’t seem to enforce it and there is no way to track your usage. I know I’ve used well over 250GB in a month and haven’t had any issues. I use a Dual WAN router to decide what traffic goes to Comcast and what goes to AT&T.

  7. Comcast data cap solution –

    I was having this same problem after canceled cable but kept internet through comcast (only option). I Regularly went over the 300gb limit because I was streaming more video. I ended up buying a cable modem to replace the one I was renting from comcast and suddenly I don’t come anywhere near the 300gb limit. Before I would severely limit how much I was streaming and still go over, now I stream all I want (even accidentally left a stream going for about 12 hours) and never even get close enough to be warned. Ditch the comcast modem and get your own.

    I’ll let you make your own assumptions about why comcast’s modem uses and/or reports so much more data…

    1. That is interesting…..I too have my own model. On 12/1 it supposedly kicked in for my city….I checked and the usage is no where near what I am using. November showed my at 22 gigs. I used well over 500 according to my router.

  8. Just sign up for Comcats Business – you can have a home business account and their are no data caps with that.. You might pay the premium but it works.

  9. If you’re in the Atlanta and within the perimeter, keep checking the Google Fiber website and sign up for updates. It might humble Comcast when they start losing subscriptions and it creeps on their bottom line. Even if Google Fiber is not available to the wider Metro Atlanta area initially, its adoption will likely affect pricing and policy in the entire Atlanta market. That’s really all anyone can hope for, I guess.

    I’ve complained to the FCC in the past because their business practices are atrocious and enter a grey area. Customer service representatives would say one thing and do another. It felt like bargaining with individuals rather than a company at times. Send people to my house without notice and for no reason and charge me service visits. One time, a technician came without notice, called in the driveway saying he was there, and then sped off within a minute. Phone rang, heard an engine, opened my blinds, and this Comcast Xfinity truck booked it in reverse. You bet I was charged for that visit! Every time I’ve had a problem with service, it’s been something on their end.

    There would also be random charges, upselling me into bundles, and so on.

    I think the way they handle FCC complaints is a little weird. I had an executive rep (either Comcast or AT&T) who called no earlier than 9PM (and they were calling from the same timezone). It doesn’t surprise me that they get complaints that would keep them burning the midnight oil but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one of their wear down tactics either.

    I did get a letter once from Comcast saying that they would upgrade my service free of charge (around the time Google announced Fiber was coming to Atlanta) … but never got the upgrade even though I was holding a letter in my hand about it. It seemed like a slap in the face since they started enforcing caps. Why give faster service when it’s eaten up in a blink of an eye.

    I just started getting pop-up warnings in my browser when I reach certain data cap thresholds. I find them intrusive and it’s appalling that they’re being injected into web pages. They probably have some ironclad, water tight defense for this and many of their other practices. I don’t think that there’s an implied consent where Comcast can inject the warning on anyone’s device that’s attached to my network or can see my Comcast account’s bandwidth usage.

    Anyways, I don’t see this as anything different from an intrusive advert and they’re manipulating data.

    At least U-Verse is available in my area. I’ll switch from using Comcast in the near future … and I don’t intend on signing a long-term contract with AT&T for wired service either. Take everything I just said about Comcast’s wired service and apply it to AT&T’s wireless service. They collectively wear you down. It’s exhausting and abusive.

    Lastly … know who you’re voting for. Can’t stress it enough because who you vote for affects the FCC’s budget and enforcement ability. Some of them would like to cut enough of their budget or introduce laws that will keep the FCC from doing anything.

  10. I just filed my second complaint with the FCC, the first was a general complaint that they have implemented this arbitrarily to discourage use of streaming video in order to protect their monopoly on cable TV and that they don’t provide a reasonable means of tracking or controlling usage. They did contact me because they are required to respond to FCC complaints. But they offered no solution, basically just said “we can get away with screwing you all day long so we’re going to continue to do so”.

    After that call I installed TomatoUSB firmware on my router so I can track where all the data is going, and it is helpful, but not a full solution. It’s also way beyond most people’s interest or ability to go installing a custom operating system on their router.

    My current FCC complaint is more substantive now that I have some data. Yesterday (last day of the month) I had 70GB remaining on my cap according to the Comcast “Guess-O-Meter” so I gave my kid permission to download a 30 GB game. I also had my kids update their laptops to Windows 10 a 2.7 GB download for each of them. This was in the afternoon.

    This morning Comcast says I ended July with almost 50 GB unused (should have been more like 30 after the downloads), and that I’ve used 26 GB today (we’ve actually used 441.51 MB, and I have the logs to prove it).

    After an hour on the phone, 3 transfers and being cut off, I sent my logs to the FCC.

    I’m sure it will be no more than a minor annoyance to Comcast, but we all need to let the FCC know that this is not only wrong, but Comcast is not even competent to meter our data accurately.

      1. After my post, I remembered that they left me a number for “Security Assurance” to call back if I had questions, so I called it.

        I spoke “Javon” ID: 52704

        Javon said “there is nothing I can do” and “ the data usage meter is always delayed 24 hrs.”.

        When I explained that the data usage meter was reporting that I had used 26 GB of data during the past 9 hours so that clearly either his 24 hour delay premise was incorrect or they had actually started tracking my August data usage before the month had started, he just grunted and repeated his previous, ridiculous assertion that my router logs are incorrect and their usage meter is correct even though August is not yet 24 hours old.

        It’s a joke at this point and if the FCC allows them to continue, we need a new FCC.

  11. Great article, Just found it because I spent an hour on the phone arguing with Comcast about the internet usage. I have the Asus router that has the Traffic Manager and it reports exactly 3 times less usage than Comcast. The rep I spoke with started to tell me that the router is not reporting all internet activity, however, I work in the IT industry and when a log tells me that I used X amount of resources, I believe the log, it not an estimate. There is no way to see the activity on the actual modem, Comcast only has the graphical usage meter on their website and it does not report daily usage nor bytes used. All of my devices are behind the router even their home security, that they insisted must be in front of my router. I know that the router its tracking my individual usage behind the router. Furthermore we were out of town for two weeks in the month of July and my usage is 3 time more this month than in the previous 3 months according to the Comcast data tracker I average about 100 gb and that is consistent with my router. Something is very fishy and although I can check the stats and numbers on my router and some of the TABLETS that the kids use I cannot check Comcast. This is absolutely ridiculous! I have signed the petition and sent a complaint. I will post again if they call me back. Atlanta GA

    1. I 100% agree with you. My data usage cannot at all be accurate. Unfortunately my FFC complaint was left with Comcast calling me back and basically saying they could do what they wanted and they were the higher authority I could talk to.

      1. UPDATE! Our community has a Facebook page and I shared my experience, this is apparently an overwhelming issue i had over 30 replies and comments. Similar situations mostly starting around early 2015 sudden jump in usage and overages.
        Comcast Called me back regarding the FCC complaint i spent another 30 minutes with Jamie, going over the usage day by day comparing what Comcast was reporting and what my router is reporting. Basically I noticed a pattern that about every 3-4 days Comcast is reports approximately 4GB down more that my router, he could not explain why this is happening. Concerning the days we were on vacation Comcast was consistently reporting excessive usage the first week and then the second week it showed about 2gb down to my router’s 500mb. In the end i did not get an explanation or any suggestion from him regarding limiting usage, he said i can set the notifications and be aware of my usage sooner. I told him that Verizon has an option to shut down all internet usage once you reach a certain usage percentage, Comcast does not have that. Long story short, as Britney said no resolution to the complaint. I told him that my complaint is not resolved and i want to know what i can do to analyze my usage so that i can make adjustments before its a problem, he said there is nothing he can do. Comcast cannot look at my usage due to privacy laws, and they cannot say what they use to track the usage either. What a JOKE! Google Fiber please come to Atlanta GA.

  12. I followed the process of submitting the FCC complaint and Comcast did contact me. They told me they had no ability to remove my threshold despite other customers reporting this. I’m also skeptical because it is unlikely that they would not have that feature to placate some consumers.

    I would gladly pay a different rate each month if that was an option. Now I have no choice but to cancel my service and get a different ISP. I’m not going to keep giving them my money with this horrible threshold system even if I have to downgrade.

  13. You should be happy with what you get. 300gbs would be heaven to me since all we can get is 25gbs sho just deal with it

  14. Great post. I agree with everything you say here about Comcast. I’m in the same market as you and am enduring the same pain, in the interest of Comcast trying (successfully) to use their Monopoly in Internet access to protect their other monopoly in cable TV (which is dying a death of a thousand cuts). The whole set up should be illegal, or at least better regulated, but of course Comcast is using buckets of (our) money to payoff politicians to protect them (from us).

    But, please, proofread your post.

  15. 300gb is a pretty good amount. I am very limited where I am at. I could get At&t dsl but that gives me only 6gb speed-that is painfully slow. I got verizon home broadband-I got the jetpack and then the Home broadband with the external antenna-one comes with 10gb of data for 100 a month the other one 30gb of data for 100 a month. I was going way over my data at about 80gb per month and spending about 800 per month with Verizon. I finally laid out 3000 to lay comcast cables at my house and now I pay 100 for 300gb so for me it was a huge savings and a huge increase in speeds and not having to worry about data caps as excessive as Verizon wireless internet. 10gb for an extra $50.00 seems like a dream compared to what I had.

    That being said there should be no data caps. That is ridiculous but from a business standpoint I do understand why they do it. For people using 800gb plus per month it really hurts the rest of us. I don’t think they had a choice.
    It is sad though in this day and age we need the internet and content resolution at HD and now 4k 300gb just doesn’t cut it.

    It’s sad that technology is moving so fast but the telecoms are so slow and limiting people so much.
    Cell phone data plans are pathetic. Only 2gb of data? They seriously have to be joking.

    I honestly don’t think 300gb is that much to worry about but you are right-if you are streaming everything then it could be a problem. I would suggest going with DirecTV DVR or Comcast DVR and you get all those channels and it’s great and you don’t have to worry about streaming so much TV content.
    I honestly don’t know how people rely on TV just through the internet.

    1. i would rather watch tv on my computer than in the living room i pay them for internet and cable but still get charged to stream there ads commercials updates etc these are things they are forcing my computer to download yet charging me for it , its lame 300 might be good for a single person but a family paying over 110 a month for there cable and internet and then being charged anywhere from 10 to 30 or more is a scam there stealing if they cant accurately track what different devices and people are using how can they legally charge

  16. While I question the importance of the cap relative to your son’s future choice of college (and not feeling like community college, at least for the first two years, is a bad idea), I definitely agree that these low caps are outrageous and unnecessary other than as a way to get people to subscribe to higher tiers (when they offer a higher or no cap) and/or get them to use less bandwidth. Realistically, I think it’s just as much to stifle the cable cutting and move towards streaming. Many ISPs didn’t have caps in the late 90’s when DSL came out, nor in the 2000’s, and they shouldn’t have them now. What’s worse, they pay less for bandwidth than probably anybody, what with CHARGING for peering with content providers (peering, historically, is usually “free” between parties), the same providers where the majority of the average user’s traffic is going, and with the quantity discount they get with their upstream transit providers due to sheer size. They’re plenty profitable. Thing is, they’re making the cable cutting worse, as more people want to flee them.

    For those of you who still have caps, I highly recommend getting a router capable of monitoring bandwidth (since it will track usage for ALL devices, not just on one PC). There are affordable ones and it’s well worth it for the piece of mind and less chance of being charged for overuse.

    Something has got to give. Soon I hope we’ll have more choice. I’ve worked in IT for twenty years, including many stints with ISPs many years ago, and have lots of good ideas, but I don’t have the capital to do it. Municipal fiber to the home that is opened up to any ISP who wants to lease space would be a good option, I think (if the municipality could do it without massive corruption or failure), as is Ethernet over Copper (EOC) if the ILECs / telcos would let people use the dry copper pairs that are just sitting there and still plenty useful. Sometimes they do. We had wireless providers but for some reason most seem to have gone out of business. Eventually someone will come along and shake things up. We NEED competition! Monopolies are no good. We have very few choices here, though Google is contemplating coming here (Portland OR), and Century Tel, the phone company, is installing gigabit in our city. Ma Bell isn’t much better (amazing that I’m even saying that, given their history), but at least it’s competition. We don’t have caps here yet, and I hope things get shaken up before they try to attempt it again.

    Thing is, there are some who use way too much bandwidth, but they are far fewer than they admit. They could easily weed them out by having REASONABLE caps, perhaps a few gigs per month, that are higher with higher speed tiers. They could even just block P2P (torrents) and save a LOT of bandwidth. The big users don’t even cost them that much in additional bandwidth requirements. But they want to stifle streaming, pure and simple. Before Netflix paid for peering, it was so slow it didn’t even work. But eventually Comcast WILL either change or fail. Someday.

    I’ll try to find time to start tweeting at them. Hope for change!

    Rhiannon
    Portland, Oregon

  17. Patrick W Kelley

    I was not aware of a data cap until March of this year when a two year introductory offer from Comcast/Xfinity expired and significantly raising my monthly charges. When I contacted Comcast/Xfinity to explore options to reduce my charges I learned that my equipment had not been properly registered in their monitoring and management systems. When the service was established a Comcast/Xfinity technician did the initial installation, a follow-up visit from them was required in less than a month to replace/upgrade the cable modem.

    It has been two months and the internet data usage meter on my Comcast account web page is still not functional and nobody at Comcast can provide the utilization information. On a positive note there is a marked improvement of upload and down load throughput, Ookla speed test (http://www.speedtest.net/) download results has increased from 55-67 Mbs to 123-136 Mbs.

    Last week I escalated the matter to a Comcast/Xfinity Customer Account representative. Since my last communication with them I have had three unproductive conversations with Comcast support at 888 824 8988. To be fair to Comcast/Xfinity I have been out of town over the Memorial Day holidays and have not had a lot of time to devote to resolving an internet utilization issue. Since early April I have expended a not insignificant amount of time attempting to resolve what should be in my professional opinion a straight forward and simple set of statistics to obtain.

    I struggle with the legality of a vendor’s policy of billing a customer extra for exceeding a utilization threshold but is unable or unwilling to provide the customer how much of the service they are using so they can avoid exceeding that amount. Apparently I need to make an inquiry with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs if such a policy is legal.

    Patrick W Kelley
    Murfreesboro, TN

  18. First off I wanted to say I loved the blog, it was very entertaining and informative at the same time. I moved to Atlanta 2 years ago and we had Charter for a while which we never had any issues with, we decided to “cut the cord” and went to an all streaming format with our television which worked great with Charter. After moving to a new city a few months ago we have been shackled with using Comcast and restricted with their data caps. I feel like I’m back in the AOL days and fighting for time on the computer with my siblings.

    I have installed an OTA antenna to mitigate some of our data usage, we get about 60 channels or so now. Turning down the Roku streaming speeds help somewhat. I too have become a “Data Cop” in our household and we have to save our binge watching till the end of the month if we’ve been good Comcastunists and conserved our data. They key has been to do whatever is possible to give them as little money as possible.

    I hope they pay attention.

  19. I spoke to an Xfinity installer this weekend and was asking about the rumors of higher speeds in Tucson to which he said we should be getting double speeds soon, and I replied oh great so we can reach our data caps even sooner and he said that Comcast was going to lift the data caps as well. Hoping it is true, I can’t even use my online backup that I pay for because of the data caps in place.

  20. Why cant we write to the FCC and at least force them to provide billing details of our usage, like mobile phone companie. Once we see where the most usage is, then we can see if they are actually telling the truth.

  21. Wow I am just now seeing this thread. I created a petition about this on Change.org sometime in 2015, but everybody I know that has Comcast is ignoring me because they don’t live in the affected regions and they think of me as some senile tin foil hat guy…

    If you can pass this on I would be thankful as I now live in Tennessee where I am affected and its sort of ruining my lifestyle as well. I don’t wish this on anybody in today’s society.

    https://www.change.org/p/comcast-remove-300gb-data-cap-limit-from-all-internet-plans

  22. My wife and I have recently decided to begin tweeting at @XFINITY and @ComcastCares and we plan to continue to do so. We’re using #freethedata in our tweets, so share this plan and let’s make a change!

    There is talk of a Gigabit Pro option without the data cap, but it’s sure to be VERY expensive and you need to be near fiber, which I am not. We are in metro-Atlanta and were also blessed as a test market, but are not quite in the Google Fiber area, nor are we in a U-verse network. I’m not sure what can be done, but rest assured, @XFINITY @ComcastCares will continue to hear from me!

  23. Thanks for taking the time to write this out. As a fellow Georgian who happens to live in a COMCAST data cap zone (Augusta) I can echo all of your observations. We’ve switched to streaming in my household to avoid commercials for my two sons (6yrs and 4yrs old). That combined with binge watching yields similar results to your graph (see above). I tried to talk with COMCAST about providing a better mechanism for tracking and correlating usage so that consumers could determine the specific root cause of their data usage. I was literally told to log into the COMCAST site nightly (at midnight no less) to pull the daily summary. Since they provide no way to validate or verify their figures and because they have implemented their caps in markets where competition is weak I’ve decided to start shedding services until my bill stabilizes at a price that is reasonable. The first thing to go is Blast+ next will be cable itself. I have also downloaded software that monitors my usage at my house and can summarize the traffic based on time and type. Surprisingly my own monitoring always comes in a little less than what COMCAST reports. It’s close, but never the same.

    1. Mike,

      I called comcast the other day to complain about the data cap (and another fault on my bill) and the rep mentioned that she heard there were going to be some changes to the data cap coming to Georgia. I’m crossing my fingers!
      In the mean time, keep calling comcast and complaining. I’d like them to spend more money paying staff to answer my phone calls then they earn on data cap overages. 🙂

  24. Being a Father with 4 kids and a wife in today’s tech world apparently 300gbs gets consumed fast! I am constantly called the “Data Cop” as it seems like I am the constant preaching the message to limit data usage.
    To make matters worse from one day to the next (not month) I supposedly went over 3 months data cap….Looks like an accounting error or tracking malfunction. Their accounting of data I believe is not reliable. I want to dump them but no options.
    Now I no why everyone hates Comcast!

    Data Dad
    Tennessee

    1. Data Dad,

      Since I posted this article I’ve received many emails and comments from others who are in are same predicament.

      Call Comcast and complain. Get on twitter and complain.

      Something has got to change as the data caps have not adjusted for the changes in internet habit. It also does not cost Comcast any more money to deliver more data.

  25. I was forced to subscribe to Comcast cable of the cap. I have two Roku boxes, two tablets, two cell phones, and a p.c. which I was afraid to use due to the cap. Comcast has become a thorn in my side.

    1. It’s just absurd that we have to worry about how much data we consume with the types of internet speeds we have available today. I believe now that net neutrality has passed the data caps will only get worse.

  26. I smile whenever I hear about Comcast. It warms my heart, because I dumped them some time ago for Verizon Fios. Available only some places, it’s not only better, but it involves never having to deal with Comcast…

      1. Big Red Carpet Nurse

        Life is that way, often enough. I’m sure you get the best deal for yourself, Brittney, I have much confidence in you of course. I’m fortunate in that regard, as I too found AT&T quite unable to deliver bars. Of course I have to deal with own trials. We call them Massachusetts 🙂

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