updated 02:25 pm EST, Tue December 1, 2009
Comcast lets users track bandwidth
Nearly a year later than originally planned, Comcast today launched a test version of its data usage meter for its Internet subscribers. The gauge, currently found only in Portland, Oregon, gives cable modem users a rough benchmark for the amount of data transferred in a given month as well as their use history. It should theoretically be more reliable than computer- or router-based trackers as it checks all Internet use, including consoles, phones and other devices that aren't always covered.
The results are being independently monitored by NetForecast to allay concerns that Comcast might skew the results in its favor. No mention has been made of when the meter will be available to other regions.
The Internet provider's move addresses a longstanding complaint regarding Comcast's official bandwidth cap, which was set at 250GB in August of last year but had no official, reliable means of verifying how close customers might come to breaking that limit. Unlike some providers, Comcast doesn't allow for overage fees and has warned it will cut off subscribers that exceed the cap more than once.
Caps of the sort arrive just as Comcast is seen as increasingly likely to acquire NBC and will have a vested interest in monitoring use of its Internet access for downloading and streaming TV shows.