Monday, November 8, 2010

An Important Note on Bandwidth Usage

The way that I was able to save money on my cable bill was to drop my cable service down to the lowest level. I didn't think I would miss the programming because I had other means to get the shows and other things my family would want to see. Leveraging my internet service to get those things has helped fill the gap. However, I want to make you aware of some restrictions that may impact your decision to go the route I went.

Cable and Satellite providers that also offer internet access may have limits on how much data can be consumed by a customer. The measurement of this is considered bandwidth. Some providers have very low limits, others are more generous. Those that have limits, charge a fee for going over the limit. I strongly suggest you talk to your internet service provider to understand what your limits are and ask how much are the overage fees, if any. Comcast is my internet service provider and they offer a 250 GB limit per month. They say that over 90 percent of their customers don't come close to the limit. My family consumes on average 50GB a month; this includes downloading files and playing online games as well as streaming video. Verizon FIOS does not have any limits on bandwidth, however the service is only available in limited areas.

In addition to bandwidth limits, you will want to consider the speed of your connection. The faster the connection, the better the video quality. If you have a DSL connection, you may run into issues with smooth playback of high definition streams.

For information, visit the New America Foundation website for an August 2009 article that identifies the bandwidth caps that are in place at the largest US cable internet providers.


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