Video: Meet the Seattle geek who just got banned from Comcast

Andre Vrignaud, who just got banned from Comcast for a year for unknowingly exceeding a 250 gigabyte data cap, is taking his frustration to the airwaves.

The 39-year-old video game consultant chats with GeekWire news partner KING 5, telling reporter Eric Wilkinson that the year-long ban is impacting his ability to earn a paycheck.

Vrignaud, who wrote a detailed blog post about his frustration with the decision, including pointing out the irony that he’s not eligible for Comcast’s higher-priced unlimited bandwidth business service, also has been featured in GigaOmKOMO News and Wired (which we noted in yesterday’s Nerd Notes column).

Nonetheless, Vrignaud said he’d actually consider going back to Comcast if he were permitted to use the service. He writes:

“To sum up, I’d prefer to have truly competitive broadband offerings here in Seattle so I could pick and choose based on price and performance. And if Comcast won in a fair fight, I’d use them. But the sad reality is that today Comcast is the only game in down for >10 Mbps broadband service to the home. So depending on my experience with other competitors, there’s a reasonable chance I’d come back to them – irritated and grumpy – if only to just not worry about having fast and stable internet access.”

Here’s a look at the King 5 piece.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Long story short, the guy should have upgraded to the biz plan (since his paycheck depends on the internet) after he passed his data cap the first time. Doubt he was not notified.

    I mean 250gb is equal to 100 streamed HD movies (highest quality) on Netflix, 1K streamed TV shows on Hulu, 3K albums downloaded, 5K streamed YouTube videos 25K ebooks, 50K  downloaded songs and up to 100K downloaded photos.  That is around what the guy was consuming in a month, every month. Regardless of the upload/download dirt play and over reacting from comcast, common sense to they guy would have made him go with the biz plan since he was really going to make use of it.

    • Guest

      A family of five can easily watch 30 person-hours of television every day. That’s 900 hours of HD video a month. Who is Comcast to call my family a “business” and to force us to upgrade just so that we can watch television?!

      • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

        There is easy solution if it is Family of and that is 3-play. If it is a family of 5, it would be stupid to be using Hulu Plus and Netflix only. You get cable and get yourself a DVR if you are in that position, just because it makes a lot more economic sense there.

        • Guest

          I’ll thank you not to call my family “stupid.” Quite to the contrary, we’ve discovered that it is not necessary to spend $80 a month for cable plus several $10s a month for cable boxes and DVRs. Hulu+ and Netflix, at about $8 a month per person, are much more cost-effective.

          • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

            Never said the family. If anything you could argue i said you were stupid. But i didn’t, i said the decision was stupid. That gives me plausible deniability on that discussion. Meaning i don’t need to actually answer you anything beyond this reply.

            I am being a jerk? That one you could do argue on. Will not answer to either one.

            /c

    • Scottr1608

      “Vrignaud, who wrote a detailed blog post about his frustration with the decision, including pointing out the irony that he’s not eligible for Comcast’s higher-priced unlimited bandwidth business service”

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RHGLLOBJPFFJA7ZHBJ36G55CHY Forrest Corbett

        He isn’t eligible because he’s been banned for a year. He should have upgraded after his first month going over the cap.

      • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

        ouch. ok touche then. RWTA mea culpa.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RHGLLOBJPFFJA7ZHBJ36G55CHY Forrest Corbett

      The Wired article points out this happened because he was backing up his data to Carbonite. It mentions his music is ripped as FLAC, his photos are all RAW and about 10MB each…

      There are many things he could have done to know he was going over the cap:
      1. The fact Comcast shut him down the month before should have been a clear indicator
      2. Comcast updates your bandwidth usage daily on their site
      3. Routers with firmware such as dd-wrt or tomato can show you how much bandwidth you’ve used

      After #1, #2 &#3 should have been a priority.

      There are also many things he could have done to prevent going over the cap for the second month:
      1. Used a backups service such as CrashPlan which will send a seed drive
      2. Used a router to throttled the Carbonite connection so it wouldn’t push him over the cap
      3. Manually throttled his upload just by checking in on the Comcast site or his router every few days
      4. Upgraded to the unlimited tier when he got his first warning

      Last year I had bad luck. I uploaded all of my data over several months (manually stopping it so I didn’t go over the cap) to a provider who then disallowed their service for backups. Then I switched to Mozy and spent a few more months uploading. And about a month or two after I got it all up there, Mozy raised their rates through the roof.

      • Guest

        Forrest, let’s not blame the victim for being banned. Using Internet-based services is a basic right. When Apple announced iCloud, I didn’t have to ask my ISP whether I was allowed to use it. I assert that I am allowed to use any service on Internet whether my ISP likes it or not.

      • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

        Yes, now you are really on the right mind sir.

        If he was doing such a backup, then he could have thought it over well after receiving the first notice. That is mainly my point.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Ok, aftet this discussion heated up and i was e-mailed names (really) because i dind’t read the source articles well. Which is a fair enough of call out, as i am always someone talking about fact checking. So i do take the bullte on that one and admit i was careless with my first comment.

    The situation of this guy is special, he cannot go with the business plan now because he way banned. But it results that he cannot go with it anyway because of legality and burocratic issues either.

    So what would be the solution here for this case or other cases like it?:

    1.-Getting a 3-Play plan with Cable and DVR. Some will say that if he was already all digital this is a step backwards. It pretty much is. Total compromise but would end the woes and he would be able to stay with a single provider.

    2.-Having 2 providers, going with the cheapest high speed plans.. In Mexico this not illegal or frowned up. So i doubt that is the case in the USA (but could be wrong).

    You then just use one connection simply for the backup/syncing (i mean, it in cases like the households would have a single computer), for the Xbox Live connection, browsing, etc.

    And another for just the streaming of video services and audio. Cumbersome? a bit, but not really that complicated to set up. I have seen this being done here in Mexico.

    3.-Comcast backs down and accepts giving the business class service in this cases without such a drama.

    4.-Comcast ups the Data Cap to 300gb a month and calls it a day to avoid and seriously reduce of this cases coming up often.

    I let you decide on which is the most feasible of solutions here in these set of cases.