Comcast's consumer usage meter still in the labs

Not ready for prime time, the online bandwidth meter is undergoing further employee trials. The tool that would help customers keep an eye on their usage was expected back in January.

Comcast's Web-based broadband meter, which was rumored to be released back in January, is still not available to consumers. According to a Comcast representative whom I spoke with earlier Tuesday, it's still not ready for prime time, and is undergoing further employee trials before being released to the public.

Once released, the meter will let customers of Comcast's high-speed Internet service monitor how much of their 250GB monthly bandwidth quota has been used. This will help keep them from going over that limit--something that results in a termination of their service upon the second offense.

Comcast imposed the monthly usage limits back in October as a way to keep network hogs from slowing down speeds for other customers. However, the only tool that was provided to help customers keep an eye on how much they were using was McAfee's Security Suite. While free, the software tool could only track bandwidth use on the machine it was installed on, and not from networked mobile phones, game consoles, or other household computers.

Comcast's monthly bandwidth cap for consumers is 250GB. CNET

Back in December, DSL Reports posted leaked screenshots of what the online meter looked like at the time, along with specifics on how often the reports were being updated to reflect recent usage. Their sources noted that it not only tracked the past three months of use, but also let users break down where use was coming from, right down to the device. This could be used to help track down devices that may be using more than their fair share, be it computers or other networked home electronics.

Comcast would not provide any further details on the unreleased utility, but given the fast-approaching one-year anniversary of the cap, it's fair to expect its release sometime this fall. In the meantime, there are several ways to keep an eye on household bandwidth using a variety of software tools, which we've listed in this handy guide.

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