After years of complaints from users who claimed they were being booted from the Comcast network for excessive use (without Comcast saying what they deemed "excessive") Comcast in 2008 implemented a 250 gigabyte usage cap for all of the company's residential service tiers. Comcast today posted a statement to the company's Comcast Voices blog
stating that the company will be eliminating their universal 250 GB usage cap, instead replacing it with "improved data management approaches." What are those changes going to be? Overage fees.
Comcast says they're exploring two options:
The first new approach will offer multi-tier usage allowances that incrementally increase usage allotments for each tier of high-speed data service from the current threshold. Thus, we'd start with a 300 GB usage allotment for our Internet Essentials, Economy, and Performance Tiers, and then we would have increasing data allotments for each successive tier of high speed data service (e.g., Blast and Extreme). The very few customers who use more data at each tier can buy additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 for 50 GB).
The second new approach will increase our data usage thresholds for all tiers to 300 GB per month and also offer additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 per 50 GB). In both approaches, we'll be increasing the initial data usage threshold for our customers from today's 250 GB per month to at least 300 GB per month. In markets where we are not trialing a new data usage management approach, we will suspend enforcement of our current usage cap as we transition to a new data usage management approach, although we will continue to contact the very small number of excessive users about their usage.
Though they've likely been itching to impose overages for some time, Comcast claims the company was influenced, in part, by the recent coverage exploring how the company's Xfinity content on the Xbox 360 doesn't count against the usage cap
"...For the last six months we have been analyzing the market and our process and think that now is the time to begin to move to a new plan. This conclusion was only reinforced when, in recent weeks, some of the conversation around our new product introductions focused on our data usage threshold, rather than on the exciting opportunities we are offering our customers.
So the good news is that your caps are going up, but the bad news is that the company is now joining the growing list of U.S. ISPs that are charging overages, despite the fact that just last December Comcast had expressed concerns
that they didn't want to "nickel and dime customers" or "disrupt the consumer experience" by imposing usage fees. Your thoughts?