At least that’s how it came for Andre Vrignaud, a 39-year-old gaming consultant in Seattle, when Comcast shut him off from the internet Monday for using too much data.
Vrignaud, it seems, committed the foul of using more than 250 GB of data on Comcast two months in a row, triggering the company’s overage policy that results in a year-long ban from using its services.
“It’s one of those things I never thought would hit me,” Vrignaud said. “They didn’t even call. I just got double blinking lights on my modem.”
“If I’d been foolish enough to depend on something like Skype or some other VOIP service for 911, I would have been hosed,” Vrignaud said, arguing that internet service has become a utility much like water and electricity — services that can’t easily be turned off, due to regulations.
It was the second month in a row that Vrignaud got those blinking lights. The first time he called in and tried to figure out what the problem was. So he turned off the router he had that was open to the public, and asked his roommate to go a bit lighter on data usage, since his household is heavy on streaming media, including YouTube, NetFlix and Pandora.
What he didn’t count on, Vrignaud said, was that Comcast, who he was paying $60 a month for a 15Mbps download speed, was counting uploads against the quota as well.
Just recently he’d switched his online backup system from Mozy to Carbonite, after Mozy put an end to its unlimited back-up service. Carbonite has no such limit, but does throttle users’ uploads once it hits a high level.