Comcast 'Clarifies' Comments on Usage Caps
The other day Comcast top lobbyist David Cohen told attendees at an investor conference that it's likely that all Comcast users will face some kind of usage cap within five years
, though he also declared that cap would be so high as to not impact most users. With Cohen trying to push a $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable through, his comments weren't received particularly well, and Cohen has since written a blog post
"clarifying" Comcast's position on usage caps.
To be clear, we have no plans to announce a new data usage policy. In 2012, we suspended our 250 GB data cap in order to conduct a few pilot programs that were more customer friendly than a static cap. Since then, we’ve had no data caps for any of our customers anywhere in the country.
Right, well except for the millions of Comcast users facing mandatory caps in numerous, ever-expanding uncompetitive Southern markets
. Also by "customer friendly," Cohen actually means "profitable." The company's top lobbyist and policy man continues:
We have been trialing a few flexible data consumption plans, including a plan that enables customers who wanted to use more data be given the option to pay more to do so, and a plan for those who use less data the option to save some money. We decided to implement these trials to learn what our customers’ reaction is to what we think are reasonable data consumption plans.
Except as we noted the other day
, Comcast knows full well what the consumer reaction to these plans is: they hate them. The company's 300 GB offer simply puts pricey overage fees on top of already-steep flat-rate pricing, and their other plan offers users a small $5 discount off flat-rate pricing if they agree to a 5 GB usage cap. Comcast isn't testing whether consumers like caps, they're testing how they can market usage caps in such a way that sees the minimal amount of user revolt
. Cohen continues, again insisting that consumers have nothing to worry about because Comcast's policies will "evolve":
It’s important to note that we remain in trial mode only. We're now also looking at adding some unlimited data plans to our trials. We have always said that as the Internet, and our customers’ use of it, continues to evolve, so will Comcast and our policies.
That capped users in Atlanta, Mobile, Savannah and other Southern markets
are in "trial mode only" probably doesn't comfort them. Comcast (and nearly every other broadband ISP) has made it perfectly clear, repeatedly, that their interest is in getting everybody on metered usage sooner or later. The only thing that isn't clear is precisely what these kinds of caps will look like when finally and fully implemented, though you can be certain that if an unlimited option remains, you'll need to pay a premium for it.
What the final caps look like depends in large part on what kind of competitive pressure Comcast sees, as perfectly evident by Comcast's choice of the least competitive market trial locations (surely said "consumer friendly" trials will arrive in Google Fiber markets soon, right?). As AT&T and Verizon back out of more and more Comcast markets
they don't want to pay to upgrade, there's going to be less and less competitive repercussions for imposing usage penalties.
Faced with the option of charging you more or less, which do you
think Comcast is going to take?
60 comments .. click to read
|reply to hello123454 |
Re: You can always cancel your service with Comcast
said by hello123454:
It absolutely is a valid choice. Internet is not a necessity for one thing.
Ummm for some of us who do make a living using the internet, it is! Not everyone is Facebooking and watching cat videos, some us actually use it for work! Makes as much sense as "if you hate the electric company, cancel your service"
|reply to Suntop |
Re: Comcast always been evil to it's users
said by Suntop:
DSL providers have no limit that I know of either unless this has changed. So WHY do CC cap?
Two words: Internet Video.
They (and other cable ISPs) are seeing people using Internet Video more and traditional TV less. This scares them so they're attempting to cut off Internet Video at the knees by implementing caps. This way, Internet Video becomes very expensive (thanks to overage fees) and people either stop using it (go back to cable products) or pay more for it (the "more" going to cable companies). Either way, the cable company profits without having to do anything so foolish and risky as innovating.--
|reply to maartena |
Re: If they want to be metered..... become a utility.
I'm all for usage based billing if they become a utility or title 2 and are then limited to a double digit markup for the cost of transporting that data. I want to see the color leave their faces when they can't do a 5+ digit markup over the cost as they are doing in their 'overage' costs.
|reply to DigitalManny |
Re: You can always cancel your service with Comcast
And go with who, exactly? If broadband Internet is essential to you for whatever reason (and it is becoming a necessity in modern life), then going without Internet isn't a valid choice. If Comcast is the only option in your area, then they know that customers can't vote with their wallets by leaving.
|reply to DigitalManny | said by DigitalManny:
Look no Netflix customers want to pay a $1 more for a Internet Service they do not get because that is not their ISP. Stop your whining Comcast customers and just cancel your service with them the best way to hurt them show them who is the boss.
and if my only other choice is AT&T.... ?
who can only give me 8mbps down... ?
If they want to be metered..... become a utility.
If they really want to meter your bandwidth, it should be priced as such. Utilities do not charge a $60 dollar "base charge", they charge you $0, at the most a few $ if you don't use any water, electricity or gas. If they really do want to meter, give me a $1 "basic" plan, a $3 "turbo" plan and a $5 "extreme" plan, and then meter everything above 5 GB. They'd stand to lose a lot of money of course, because MOST people really DON'T use an awful lot of data.
Also, ISP meters should be checked and sealed by a state commissioner. Everything that is slightly metered, is currently sealed by the state. Utility meters. Gas pumps. Scales in stores/post office. Everywhere where you pay "by the amount", the device and/or the way the correct amount is determined, is correctly sealed by a state official, guaranteeing that the device or pump used, is correct and accurate.
Also, I want to pay for the data that actually arrives at my house. I don't pay for gas that escaped from the main line somewhere, I don't pay for water from a leaky water main in my street, and I don't pay for electrons flying off the wires in the street as electricity gets lost along the transfer. No, I pay exactly what arrives at my house.
Internet metering is a crap shoot. Comcast will COUNT the lost packets that are lost between their facility and your house. So if there is a problem on your line which e.g. causes 20% packet loss on your line because the cable line near your house is damaged a bit, and has trouble keeping the connection, your data bill is going to be 20% higher during the period the line was not repaired.
Also, who pays for some taiwanese hacker that you just pwned in an online game, and is getting back to you by using his university line to bombard your ip address with data? (its not incredibly hard to get your ip address with a little social engineering and friending people on e.g. skype) You go to sleep, and the next morning it turns out someone is choking your line, and 30 GB has already been sent.....
And as the cable industry has admitted themselves: caps are not about capacity. They never were. And with technology implemented over the last few years, capacity has become less and less of an issue. It's all about their fear of internet video competition. They want to curb how much you can watch online, in fear of people cutting the cord.
Caps are all about money, nothing more. It's about ensuring the CEO can grab his 10 million dollar bonus, because he appeased the shareholders with more profit then projected by charging us users for data and signing up more people for cable TV instead. THAT is what it is all about, pure greed.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own!"