Google Stadia Is On A Collision Course With Broadband Caps, Study Shows

With game streaming service Google Stadia dropping next month, a new study suggests that six million gamers are about to get a crash course on the problems with broadband usage caps.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


gamers, rise up

Gamers: Rise Up

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Thanks, I hate it.

You don’t say…

“ISPs have a strong history of staying ahead of consumer trends and if you look at the history of data caps in those small number of markets…the trend over time, when music streaming and download became popular, especially in the early days when it was not necessarily legitimate, data caps moved up,” he said. “Then with the evolution of TV and film streaming, data caps moved up, and we expect that will continue to be the case.”

Whenever business types refer to the logic of “if everyone in this corporate ecosystem behaves like rational actors” when that has never been the case, I have to wonder if they’re being intentionally dishonest or just naive.


hides in his corner with his physical media


It’s not just the data caps that will be a problem. I’m a reformed ISP tech from a rural area and there’s a bigger issue no one is talking about. Almost every ISP has been sold to a larger company over the past couple decades and the tiers of internet providing has become complicated.

When an ISP is acquired by another ISP, they never run a new physical route for it, they plop a router down in a collocation that turns that old ISPs traffic to the new ISP. That’s why if most Americans with a cable internet connection do a trace route it will still come back with hops with the names of their previous ISP/s. Now traffic doesn’t always go through all that rerouting but tons of it will.

The next issue is the different tiers of bandwidth providers not being accessible in all places. There are instances where an ISP will have to buy bandwidth from Hurricane Electric (tier 2) for example and in that area HE is getting bandwidth from Verizon (tier 1). Throw on top of another tier 2 like Comcast buying your suburb’s ISP at some point and your local Comcast is your tier 3, and it’s getting bandwidth from a competing tier 2 and who is purchasing it from one of the tier 1’s major backbones which may or may not be routing back to the new tier 3/2 provider’s before going out to the net… and then all that has to come back the same way to you before you see it.

None of this affects latency all that much, internet is light moving back and forth at that level, but, just one of those routers has to get congested for a second or two for your game to be affected.


Interesting to note how Google’s data cap position has shifted from “If you don’t like caps just ask your provider to get rid of them.” to “ISP’s will do the right thing and voluntarily choose to raise them as demand increases.” Neither option is even remotely plausible, but I guess if Google says it with enough confidence someone will believe them.

The Stadia marketing has such a shady used car salesman vibe to it. Presumably the target audience is people who don’t already have consoles or a gaming PC and who don’t follow gaming or tech news, or in other words people who might not be able to see through these ridiculous claims. This gives Google the chance to just make things up and say that internet providers have always acted responsibly (they haven’t) or that Stadia will have negative latency (it won’t). It comes off as a joke to us but there’s this predatory aspect when it’s being sold to the mass market.