May 17, 2012

Comcast Sides With Users - Finally Updates Datacaps

If you can remember back to 2008, Comcast started to enforce a bandwidth cap of 250GBs. At this time, many popular "tech stars" like Chris Pirillo even revolted against the cap. Due to all the video stream we have done these past four years, a 250GB cap is ridiculous for all.

Comcast mentioned in their blog post a nice statement that they basically messed up:

So as the market and technology have evolved, we've decided to change our approach and replace our static 250 GB usage threshold with more flexible data usage management approaches that benefit consumers and support innovation and that will continue to ensure that all of our customers enjoy the best possible Internet experience over our high-speed data service.

However, like in any business, Comcast is out there to make money. And boy, does Comcast try to snag your money for any overages:

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).

But luckily, Comcast has some sense and has decided to bump all plans up to at least a 300GB cap:

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.


Comcast may still be doing it wrong, but this still won't make people happy, especially Netflix. Realistically, I would set the low-end plan to a cap of 500GBs and all other higher-end plans to a full 1TB. Capping might help to prevent users downloading too much via torrents, but to cap at 300GBs is too low; I sometimes go through 100GBs+ in one day!

What do you think of Comcast's move? They're on the better track, but keep in mind it's been four years since a change!

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