Comcast's Internet Usage Meter Should Drive The OCD Insane

In August of 2008, cable internet provider Comcast imposed a 250GB limit on bandwidth, scaring many of their internet gaming customers. Now the company is rolling out an internet usage meter, so customers can obsessively track every single megabyte. Great!

As a Comcast customer who regularly downloads four to five games off of Steam a month, not to mention large amounts of high resolution screenshots and uncompressed video, news of the bandwidth cap in 2008 hit me like a ton of bricks. So far I've managed to avoid going over, but there have been times where I've seriously sweated it out. Once I went out of town for the weekend and left a game patch torrent running in the background, only to return and discover I had uploaded 120GB of data while I was out. Not a good feeling.

So in a way, Comcast's new usage meter feature, currently being rolled out in select coverage areas, including Crecente's Colorado home, is a godsend. If you fear you've used too much internet, simply log into your account and take a peek. Then quickly unplug your cable model and huddle in the corner, waiting for the internet withdrawal to pass.

On the other hand, some people, given the ability to check and see how much bandwidth they are using on a regular basis, will completely freak the f*** out. People like me.

When Crecente passed along his notification email, I immediately logged into my Comcast account to see if the feature was available to me. Luckily, it is not. If it were, I would keep it open on my secondary monitor, watching it out of the corner of my eye every second of every moment I spent on the internet.

Believe me, that's a lot of moments.

Those interested in seeing how the usage meter works can visit Comcast's information page on the new feature.

You can also see that it initially rolled out to Portland, Oregon in December, and now it's reached Colorado. I can feel it slowly creeping towards Atlanta. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck raise. Perhaps I should set up a spam filter for Comcast mail now, so the announcement never reaches me.


Comments

    I get 50 gigs a month

      I get 3 gig a month and have to pay $40 for the privilidge - yeah I could do better - I could pay $70 for 6 gig. This is the reality of Tesltra and the slap in the face service you get if you live just out of the metro area :'(

        I'm not sure I understand. You hate Telstra yet you're with them. Is that because no one else built infrastructure where you are?

          There is A LOT of black spots.

    I'm sorry but I'm a little surprised this is news... in Australia we've had usage meters for every internet company for as long as I can remember. Mine is even integrated into Firefox so I can glance up at the top right corner and see it at any time.

    Did I miss something, or is this totally whack that you had to wait this long to get one?

    It just seems so backwards. But perhaps it's because you have never really needed them before?

      Generally internet providers in the US dont have download limits. So there really was not much need for usage meters. Comcast suddenly imposing a 250 gig limit, while huge, is a step backwards in my eyes. Here I was hoping Australia would follow the US and get rid of limits, but instead they are following us.

      Is there a plugin you use for that, or is it provided by your ISP?

    Anyone want to moan that 250GB is too little? Anyone?

      No, but I'll be the first to say GIMME GIMME!!

      And I thought I was bad sweating it out over 25Gb a month..

      I would never use 250GB/month. It is only about 5 times the quota I get now...

      I t5hink any cap is unfair. I just got the email from comcast. i am over 500gig used, i only have 1 computer hard wired to my modem, i use utorrent. who is comcast to tell me how much information i can download and share with others? this makes me sick. next thing they will cut me off for downloading movies.

    Crazy American's thinking they're hard done by. Try 50GB a month with half the providers counting uploads.

      I get 12gb a month. uploads included. id happily swap with you :P

    Yeah, Q-freaking-Q Americans. We get as little as 10GB here in Australia, and I guarantee it costs three or four times per GB to have a connection. Sorry, but I have no sympathy whatsoever at this point.

    America might be taking a step backwards by imposing download limits, but some areas of Australian Internet are moving forward, by providing unmetered content.

    In the article you mention downloading several games off steam a month. I'm on a 55gig cap, however that isn't an issue as through my ISP all steam content is unmetered (as long as the server I connect to is in Australia). I'm fine with a 55gig limit, I rarely go over, as I picked an ISP which gives most of what I need for free.

    ISP's are the real reason for piracy!! lol. Kidding. That bandwidth is insane. I barely use all my bandwidth in a month and I could survive on probably 30gig and I'm always on the net.

    ah you can all quit your complaining i run on 12 gigabytes a month and thats with 2 computers generally running some sort of online game. I have to stop myself from clicking on youtube links in fear of losing that 40-50 mb's of usage.

    Oh boo hoo america. Try surviving as a gamer/IT tech with a crappy 10GB, upload counted, 1Mbps, high latency, often dropping out NextG internet connection.

    "QUOTE: We get as little as 10GB here in Australia"
    We get as little as 200MB here! And its like 30 bucks a month. Its taken us like 6 years to get some sort of unmetered internet connection.

    WHOA MIKE! You sure must have A LOT of independant music, free to the net docs, and other things that ARENT ILLEGAL to be upping that much while you are out!
    Arent torrents great for the transfer of legitimate files such as Linux and.. uhm... Linux?

    ..looks nervously for ACTA..

      Not sure you understand how torrents work. Not like a P2P program like Kazaa at all. That upload figure is just for the game patch.

    Aww poor babies only get 250 gig.

    I get 5 gig a month, to be shared between 3 people and it costs $90 a month.

    Well this article sure appeared in the wrong spot to get any sympathy.

    As much as I hate limits, I can see the reason for ISP's having them. What I'm amazed at is how Comcast can impose a limit years ago but provide no way for users to see how much Comcast believe they've used. Sort of thing the telecommunication ombudsman here would have a field day with.

    And if there was ever any proof that this "Australian" version of Kotaku was just an Australian server, as opposed to a website dedicated to Australian games news...

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