Media giant Comcast is expecting that within the next five years, it will be instituting data caps for home users subscribed to its broadband service. Executive VP David Cohen revealed that his company could be migrating to the usage-based model, charging users for how much data they consume.
"If you made me predict today, I would predict that in five years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint," Cohen said at the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit.
Defending the company's controversial move, Cohen says that the base tier would still be high enough for "the vast majority" of Comcast's customers and that they won't be affected by the shift in policy.
The cable giant had begun testing a policy where users who exceeded a 300 GB monthly policy that was instituted in 2012 would have to pay $10 per 50 GB of overage. At this point, though, it looks like specifics on data caps are not yet finalized.
"And that number may be 350, that may be 350 gig a month today, it might be 500 gig a month in five years," Cohen said.
The tiered usage model echoes what wireless companies have been doing with mobile broadband, switching away from an unlimited model and charging consumers based on how much data they consume. With more apps and services, especially with more things becoming connected to the Internet as we're discovering on sister site Connectedly, consumers will be using more data. 4K video streaming in the future and cord cutting will also contribute to increased bandwidth usage as well.
Concast has said that Cohen's were taken out of context and that the company has "no plans" to implement data caps that would restrict the user experience of its home broadband service. That said, Comcast already implements data caps in some cities and markets, and it is contradicting itself through some of its comments.
In his clarification, EVP David Cohen said that the company is looking at adding back unlimited plans in markets that now are trialing capped plans.
Comcast may be softening its approach to mobile broadband as to appease regulators in trying to acquire Time Warner Cable.
You can read more about Comcast's clarification on its website.