Internet usage caps

by Spencer Leuning

We regret to inform you that your Internet is now, well, a little more limited. Charter Communications is the newest Internet service provider (ISP) to implement Internet usage caps or limits on monthly downloading on its users. The company plans to cap monthly downloading at 100 gigabytes (GB) a month for its 15 mbps Internet service and 250 GB for its 25 mbps service. Charter now joins the likes of Times Warner and Comcast in imposing a monthly cap for its service. To the regular consumer, or 99 percent of customers as Charter claims, this will not matter as the limit is supposedly set at high standards. But when looking at today’s downloading trends, 100 GB and 250 GB caps are a start to an looming plague that will limit users. Indeed, today’s Internet applications and digital media are requiring more and more bandwidth from users. A growing majority of people are turning to the Internet for their movies, saving that dreadful trip to the nearest video rental store or the horrid wait of getting the movie through the mail. This is when downloading caps start becoming problematic. When a two-hour movie can range anywhere from .5 GB to 4 GB in size, and you have a 100GB cap on your connection, that limits you to about thirty movies a month if you plan on only downloading movies, and doing nothing else with your connection. Now pair that with your habits of downloading other large files off the net, and you have a serious problem. This move by Internet service providers contravenes Internet users’ demand. Also concerning is the future of ISPs plans in controlling users bandwidth. If monthly caps are lowered anymore, large problems could arise.