Comcast gearing up to impose data limits on hardline connections [updated] | Connectedly

Comcast gearing up to impose data limits on hardline connections [updated]

By Chuong H Nguyen on 15 May 2014 02:27 pm

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.

Via: CNET, Ars Technica

Related: Comcast News

Reader comments

Comcast gearing up to impose data limits on hardline connections [updated]


Notice how they always want to charge more if you use over a certain amount, but you never get a discount for using less...

At this point, let them treat customers as terribly as they want. I would love to see all Comcast's customers so fed up with their business model that it opens the market for more carriers. It's going to happen - when is the only question now.

These companies would have to lay fiber down first to compete. ISP's are not like telephone providers in the US. I can't switch to another service unless they have the infrastructure for me to do so. And right now, there's only one game in town.

This has been running in my area as a pilot for a while now. The cap is very doable and I am a very heavy user but I am still not a fan. It might be fine now but what about 5-10 years from now when we are looking at 4k streaming (assuming we have speed improvements.) On top of that they don't give any usable tools so that you can keep up with your network usage. I was ready to leave comcast but oops, couldn't because I only have one other option and what do you know. They have the same cap limit in place and lower speeds. I'm sure it's a coincidence they have the same cap.

Unfortunately, Verizon has put its FiOS buildout on hold indefinitely. We remain screwed here in Philly.

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Hey Comcast. Use some of that cash to hire software engineers to create better data compression algorithms. And switch to more fiber optics.

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This isn't surprising. If a company feels like it's losing money through an old policy, they'll come up with something new to rectify the loss. I'm pretty sure once the policy becomes implemented, people will initially be incensed, but they'll get over it and we'll all move on.

Didn't Time Warner try this a few years ago as a test and cancelled those plans after many subscribers left?

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Wow, this blows. I can use terabytes of data on Verizon legacy unlimited data but hard-line is limited to only 300gb in the base?

I agree that the only way to hurt Comcast for this is for people to get so fed up they demand alternatives.

If my home network started being capped (at least below my current 180 Gb / month usage patterns) I would start to look for an alternative for internet... though if there was another option I wouldn't have Comcast now would I?