Sunday, December 30, 2018

Getting Capped

Isn’t that life bro? - Owen JJ Stone
I'm moving my iPhoto library to iCloud and it is a insanely massive amount of data that burst me right through the Xfinity cap which is extremely expensive in overages. Comcast probably wants to solve this through zero rating and they've set things up to give them extreme power in the upcoming streaming battles if they remain free from consumer protections.
I can choose between AT&T (U-Verse) and Comcast (Xfinity) for home broadband and there is no fiber running to my door so it's either ADSL or Cable modem. A few years ago, I gave up AT&T because ADSL has an upstream pretty much capped by the technical spec to be slow and I couldn't get past 1.5 mbps upstream which saturates in a moment running a couple of internet cameras. Once your upstream is totally used, the downstream is broken.
When I moved Mrs. off her old 1TB SSD into the new MacBook Air with 256GB, the cost calculation for the 700 GB Photo library was to put into iCloud for her. I had not consider this bandwidth math:
  • 700 GBs uploaded to iCloud from old laptop
  • 700 GBs downloaded from iCloud to the desktop computer with Drobo
  • 700 GBs uploaded from desktop to Backblaze backup
During this first upload process is when I learned that Xfinity has a 1TB monthly cap and then you pay overages. They do give you a warning the first 2 months you hit your cap, but after that, the charges are intense: $10 per 50GB. So for just my iCloud Photo Library it would cost me $200 in overages to go through that upload/download/upload process.
While Xfinity proudly says, "99% of our customers do not use 1 terabyte of data" - Xfinity is estimated to have 25 million internet customers, which means there are 250k customers (a quarter million) who are going over this cap. On my average month I am going between 600GB-800GB so I'm dancing under the cap as well and I suspect that is where most modern family households are that are jamming with a couple adults, young adults, and a lot of Netflix (YouTube).
There are two clear Comcast strategies here with the demise of net neutrality. Xfinity television (e.g. Comcast) is zero rated and doesn't count against the limit. The second is to get Netflix, Hulu, etc. to pay Comcast to have their service zero rated (not count towards this limit) because without a zero rating for streaming video, if you were watching 4K content on Netflix, you'd fly right past this and you'd be paying an extra $200 a month.
Anyway, I finished out the month at around 2TB *AND* I'm not even close to be done with the whole process. So to avoid overages I'm going to need to more aggressively manage and probably complete this whole process over the next... 6 months? Alternatively, I'll just take my server to Starbucks and do the sync there?