Comcast rethinks bandwidth caps, trials two new policies that involve higher 300GB monthly limits
Comcast's bandwidth policy has come under fire from several directions lately, and today it's announced plans to test two new systems for managing capacity. In a company blog post, VP Cathy Avgiris describes the new "flexible" approaches it will be testing out in certain markets that start off by raising the limit to 300GB (from 250GB where it's been since 2008) per month. One of the plans involves offering 300GB as a base on its Essentials, Economy, and Performance internet packages, and higher limits on its Blast and Extreme tiers, with extra data available as an add-on, possibly $10 for 50GB or so. The other plan simply bumps all tiers to 300GB per month and offers the additional blocks of data as needed. For markets where it's not testing the new plans, it's suspending enforcement of the 250GB cap entirely for now, although it says it will still contact "excessive" users about their usage.
We're currently on a conference call concerning the changes and Comcast is reaffirming its belief that the FCC has decided it can "manage" data usage on its network, and that it will continue to do so in a "non-discriminatory" way. Particularly since the launch of its Xfinity TV Xbox 360 app others like Netflix and some consumer and networking watchdogs would beg to differ, it will be interesting to see if these approaches change anything. Executives on the call noted "noise" around the Xbox 360 app in making the change, but also pointed to an "ongoing internal discussion" and simply that times have changed from four years ago. The words that keep coming up so far are choice and flexibility, as well as mentioning that even today, very few customers approach the previous 250GB limit. In response to a question, Avgiris indicated the median usage for customers is still around 8-10GB per month.We'll find out more like where the test markets are later, for now hit the source link for all the information currently available.
Update: Netflix has responded to the move, and it's about what you'd expect. In other words, it appreciates the notion, but it's still mad.
Update 2: ArsTechnica got Comcast to open up about today's news, and while it's nothing too shocking, it's a good read.