Earlier this month Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett lustfully predicted that one of the major U.S. cable operators would implement per-byte overages in 2012. While Time Warner Cable, Cox and Charter are either interested -- or have tried and failed to implement overage charges -- one company that won't be joining the push any time soon is Comcast. Speaking at an investor conference this week, Comcast Cable president Neil Smit said the nation's largest cable operator isn't interested in "nickel and diming" customers at this point:
At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference on Monday, Comcast Cable president Neil Smit and CFO Michael Angelakis implied that such plans probably wouldn’t be good for the company’s growing broadband business...Comcast sees the approach as antithetical to its subscriber growth plans. Smit was blunt in his assessment of the pricing model: “We don’t want to nickel-and-dime customers at this point,” he said.
That obviously leaves the door wide open to nickel and diming customers down the road, but Comcast makes it clear users are safe for now. For one thing they compete with Verizon FiOS in more markets than other cable operators. FiOS has yet to implement caps and would use such a Comcast move as marketing fodder. Comcast also was aggressive in deploying DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades and -- when combined with their 250GB cap and de-prioritization systems, makes shifting to such a model completely unnecessary from a network perspective.
On the financial front, most operators are imposing overages not because of network congestion or financial necessity, but because they want to cash in on -- or deter -- the use of Internet video while protecting TV revenues. Except with broadband now replacing TV as the anchor product, Comcast doesn't believe that driving broadband customers to uncapped competitors by imposing a complicated new rate hike structure is good business. Comcast may also be well aware that those who've tried to implement overages -- have struggled to meter usage accurately, something that might ultimately invite regulatory attention.
Really? They actually have less nickel and diming than most companies I have seen.
That's cause it's not nickels and dimes ... it's dollars ... twice a year now. The percentage of increase is many times from 4% to 10%, much more than any other companies providing comparable services.
The Comcast usage meter has been accurate enough for me. It's comparable to (even less than in some case) the numbers that I pull from my DD-WRT equipped router.
Whether 250GB is enough in this day and age is a whole other discussion (for me it is...most months) however their meter *is* accurate so if they did UBB the billing would be correct, if not particularly pleasant for heavy users.
The "heavy user" of today is the normal user of tomorrow. Caps do nothing but cause more trouble than what their worth for the users, avoid the actual problem (network upgrades), trying their best at keeping their current TV subs, if not get more, and putting more money in their EXECs pockets
Correction: heavy users of today are normal users three or four years from now. Then again, Comcast hasn't increased their caps since they've instituted them...though they still offer competitively-priced Business Class service so that's reasonable.
The only reason most ISP's can't goto a usage based system is because nobody can seem to get the usage meters to display actual and true usage.
Having a cap=usage based billing IMO.
AT&T's iPhone data is metered billing with an initial prepaid bundle of data. Comcast has a cap - exceed it twice, no internet for you from comcast for a year. See the difference? -- My place : »www.schettino.us
Thank you for making me feel better about the normal usage at my household...
Netflix, a couple of PS3's, a X360, quite a bit justin.tv and Revision3.. No direct download sites (RS,MU,etc), BT , or usenet traffic to speak of, unless the kids got super smart and hacked into my dd-wrt restrictions.
I watch mostly Netflix, but also stream through Hulu and other browser based sites...everyday. Netflix is watched sometimes via the browser but mostly Windows Media Center. Is your family watching via Wii or Playstation?
The reason I ask is because on of my friends had to buy Comcast's business service because Netflix (using his Playstation) was sucking up over 350GB per month. My guess is that certain Netflix-ready devices don't have as efficient bandwidth usage as others. I never come close to that...i use about 150GB/mo.
Re: so go over 250GB and get cut off when others bill you for go
I'd certainly rather stay with a (in my opinion) very fairly enforced 250 GB soft cap than usage based billing, but that's just me. I've gone over a bit a few times and there was no complaints from Comcast.
These days we're not talking about a few innocent cents to make a couple of million off of customers, several dollar increases rake in several million dollars which is multiplied by how many MILLIONS of customers that will fall for a price increase.
However, if several thousand can move their money from big banks to a credit union.. there's no reason why in Comcast land (DEFINITELY IN CENTURY-TEL LAND) there can't be more muni-seeded competition ISPs.
On the other hand, there are market reasons why their speed tiers have boosted higher.. and it's not about hitting the 250gb cap faster. It's about keeping the customer happy and paying their monthly bill rather than leaving. If customers wanted to bathe in a thousand paper cuts of death, they'd subscribe to cellular wireless data post paid plans for AT&T and VERIZON.
Competition is illegal. Companies had government set them up with monopolies, and when people try to fund upgrades to decades-old technology that ISPs won't a corrupt legislator submits a bill written by the monopolists outlawing that too.