Report: Comcast usage monitor coming in January

Word on the street says Comcast will be introducing a bandwidth monitoring tool on its support site next month, giving subscribers a way to see if they're close to the 250GB monthly limit.

DSL Reports has gotten word that Comcast will soon be offering its Internet subscribers a bandwidth usage meter as early as the first week of January. With the new system users would presumably be able to see how much bandwidth they've used, akin to cellular service providers offering estimates to keep customers from going over their allotted limit. Such a tool for Internet bandwidth would let customers adjust their usage habits accordingly.

Back in October the communications company imposed a limit on user downloads to 250 GB a month without providing any monitoring tools of its own short of installing special software. Additionally, customers are only given one verbal warning before a one-year service suspension if they go over that limit.

Oddly enough when the cap was first announced, we had gotten a confirmation that Comcast would indeed be offering a bandwidth tracking tool of its own. This was later recanted by a Comcast spokesperson who said "there are numerous free or fee-based meters that are widely available on the Internet to anyone who wants one." Comcast's excessive use FAQ still urges people to use McAfee's security suite, but now notes that "we are in the process of creating a usage meter that will measure consumption for the Comcast account which will be available in the coming months."

Comcast spokesperson Charlie Douglas tells us the meter must first undergo an employee trial: "When that testing is complete, we plan to launch the meter to all of our high-speed Internet customers. It will be available for free via a customer's account and it will enable them to very easily keep track of their aggregate data usage each month."

Also, if you're looking to track your usage, worth checking out is my CNET colleague Seth Rosenblatt's look at half a dozen different bandwidth monitoring tools.

Related: Comcast's 50 Mbps service comes to OR, WA next month