updated 02:45 pm EDT, Wed September 24, 2008
Comcast Data Caps Flexible
Comcast on Wednesday told GigaOM that the company will adjust its Internet bandwidth caps if it becomes clear that overall use is increasing. Although not explaining any specific corporate policy, provider spokesman Charlie Douglas says the company's 250GB threshold isn't fixed and that the cap is liable to change over time either as the average use goes up. A large number of complaints is also likely to trigger changes.
The monthly cap, which goes into effect at the beginning of next month, has drawn mixed reactions for its effect on Internet use. Although the set limit addresses earlier problems with Comcast instituting varying, secret caps, the company so far has not provided any means for customers to buy more bandwidth or outlined a specific point at which it would change the cap. Other providers, such as Rogers in Canada, have already instituted clear limits but also allow overage charges with their own cap to prevent excessive fees.
Critics have likewise charged that the very existence of a cap discourages the use of Apple TV and other media devices and services that would otherwise challenge Comcast's legacy cable TV business. Although Douglas claims the average user depends on just one hundredth the amount of data used in the cap, a single online HD movie often consumes between 4GB and 6GB of data by itself.