This is the second article in a series aimed at analyzing the motive behind the various bandwidth caps that have recently been enacted by numerous Internet Service Providers.
In the preceding article, The Relative Cost of Internet Access, we looked at the differences in costs between various service tiers available from two Internet Service Providers. For those interested in a simple recap, here it is: the cost of a broadband Internet connection in Germany is (slightly) lower than the cost of comparable connection in the United States. But not only is the pricing more attractive in Germany, the speed of the connection is superior as well. Excluding special offers and discounts, customers in Germany have no trouble signing up for an uncapped connection of 32 Mbit/s down, while U.S. customers, looking to spend no more than their German counterparts, are limited to only 6 Mbit/s.
So now the question remains: why the hell is an Internet connection so darn expensive in the US, and why are so many ISPs now considering, or, worse yet, actually implementing, bandwidth caps?
In order to answer this question, let’s take a brief look at which ISPs are capping their customers and to what extent they are doing so:
- Comcast: 250GB cap on total bandwidth consumption per month.
- Time Warner Cable: Toying with the idea of total bandwidth caps at about 40 - 75GB per month.
- Cablevision: No explicitly stated cap; although some report that heavy usage is frowned upon.
- Verizon FIOS: No cap, whatsoever.
Notice anything interesting about the various caps that these four companies are imposing on their customers? Here’s a hint: look at what else they’re invested in.