Comcast is currently testing “data caps” in select locations across the United States. Customers can use up to 300GB per month, and must pay $10 for each additional 50GB (after a short grace period). The 300GB cap is quite low, considering that a customer can exceed it in less than a day.
Yet Comcast’s VP of Internet Services, Jason Livingood, tweeted that he has “no idea” why Comcast enacted this policy. That’s no surprise to us at David.
These data caps are not an engineering necessity, but a jab at cord cutters—folks who have ditched their TV subscription in favor of an internet-only plan. A Netflix user can reach the 300GB threshold while on a House of Cards binge, and the rollout of data-hungry 4K streaming options will only make matters worse.
For years, ISPs maintained that usage caps were necessary to prevent network congestion. However, once networks improved and experts learned that data caps were not an effective way to manage network load, ISPs ultimately abandoned that claim. The Comcast VP’s tweet is the most recent evidence that these caps serve business—not engineering—needs.
As frustrating as these data caps and overage fees may be, they’re still perfectly legal. Comcast customers should check their internet plan for a data cap so that they might avoid unexpected overage fees.
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