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Comcast executives predict all broadband users data capped by 2019

updated 07:54 pm EDT, Wed May 14, 2014

Service testing 300GB limits in certain markets, with $10 per additional 50GB

Comcast seems to have a plan in place to have all users on a data cap on its broadband service within five years. Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen told investors earlier today that "in five years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint."

Comcast is already testing caps. Two similar systems are being piloted. The first offers a 300GB ceiling for all data tiers, above which a fee will apply per each "block" of data consumed. The example given by Comcast is 50GB for $10. The second keeps the 300GB soft ceiling for the "Internet Essentials", "Economy", and "Performance" tiers with the "Blast" and "Extreme" plans having an unspecified additional amount. The block data charge remains unaffected.

It would take some time for a single user to reach a 300GB cap. Streaming movie service Netflix consumes approximately 1.5GB per hour of high definition video watched. Gaming products like World of Warcraft or Xbox Live take between 150 and 300MB per hour. A single user would have to watch 50 movies per month to approach the ceiling before additional charges are assessed. Two gamers on the same connection would have to play online games nearly 24 hours a day to clear the 300GB limit.

At the investor's meeting, Cohen claimed to not want a scenario where "80 percent of our customers are implicated by usage-based billing and are all buying different packets of usage. I don't think that's the model that we are heading toward, but five years ago I don't know that I would have heard of something called an iPad. So very difficult to make predictions."

Comcast David Cohen at Moffet Nathanson



By Electronista Staff
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  1. cashxx

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-13-09

    People need to start revolting now! This crap has got to stop.....will probably happen earlier if they get their hands on Time Warner!!

  1. Stuke

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-11-05

    Just what they know...cable packages are crafted with just enough 'good' content in the next level tier to make you pay more. Guess what the 'soft cap' experiment running now is doing...collecting their data to establish the thresholds...

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-09-04

    Their plans may well not include charging the average user any extra money. It's about instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of users who may be thinking about cord cutting. It's about preserving the existing business model of cable television at the expense of this new-fangled, independent and low-margin internet thingie.

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-13-09

    Not a hard prediction...we predict we will cap all our customers within 3 years....

  1. nouser

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-29-12

    So much for a future of streaming video and music via the internet. Guess its back to building my own large media server. With the TWC / Comcast / Charter merger in progress there will be even less choice going forward.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Yup, that's what you'd expect from a company that won't expand infrastructure. Just charge content companies a toll and cap your customers. Suck it, Comcrap. So glad that I'm on Charter now.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    Yup, that's what you'd expect from a company that won't expand infrastructure. Just charge content companies a toll and cap your customers. Suck it, Comcrap. So glad that I'm on Charter now.



    Where do you live? You may get shuffled to a Comcast/Charter combined company...

    Industry maven Michael Willner to run Comcast/Charter joint venture | Electronista

  1. BLAZE_MkIV

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 02-23-00

    Its probably because they predict they'll have a complete monopoly of broadband by 2018.

  1. NapMan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-12-07

    Remember when cellphones were first introduced, the plans had caps on the minutes you could talk. Then, as they became more widespread the carriers basically started offering unlimited minutes, including long distance.

    The broadband ISPs started with unlimited bandwidth but, as usage increases, they want to go backwards.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    I predict they'll loose a lot of customers by 2019.
    The missing info is all the other data one might use, such as OS updates on multiple machines, OS reinstalls (also potentially on multiple machines), social media, email, video conferencing, VPN,... I don't know that all these things would push someone over the top of their data cap now, but in the not too distant future (probably around 2019 ;) it might easily.
    There won't be a corresponding increase in a "standard" data cap evaluated at any time. Ever. Well, until they start hemorrhaging customers at least.

  1. jdonahoe

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    You only need one kid watching youtube and netflix in HD and you go over the 300GB cap in 2 1/2 weeks. Talking from experience, we are in one of those test markets and last month we used 410GB. I can state with extreme pain, that that represents an additional $30 for last month's bill. It pays to set all viewing down to the lowest setting for resolution and you might get it down to about 6GB a day, which puts you under the 10GB max with a 300GB limit.

    I would rather Comcast treat it like some phone companies work data plans. Give us 300GB, but throttle us down to a slower rate for the rest of the month if we go over instead of charging overages. Technically, if you used 301GB in a month, that extra GB is not worth $10. To say I hate the Comcast monopoly we're under would be an understatement.

  1. chimaera

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 04-08-07

    The cap problem is simple to solve. Force ISPs to apply them to all traffic they deliver. ie - their cable channels content. It's all digital streaming today. The reason for the caps is to inconvenience competing video services.

    With customers dropping cable channels to stop the over-cap fees, the caps would all be eliminated within a month.

  1. BLAZE_MkIV

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 02-23-00

    "It would take some time for a single user to reach a 300GB cap. Streaming movie service Netflix consumes approximately 1.5GB per hour of high definition video watched. "

    300/1.5 = 150/~30 = 5
    5 hrs of video per day per household? Easily accomplished.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIVView Post

    "It would take some time for a single user to reach a 300GB cap. Streaming movie service Netflix consumes approximately 1.5GB per hour of high definition video watched. "

    300/1.5 = 150/~30 = 5
    5 hrs of video per day per household? Easily accomplished.



    Yeah, we didn't say it was impossible. It is accomplishable, and we wanted to give a sense of scale on it.

  1. BLAZE_MkIV

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 02-23-00

    "take some time" doesn't map to "common occurrence"

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIVView Post

    "take some time" doesn't map to "common occurrence"



    300/1.5 = 200
    200/30 = 6.7 (close to 5, still, though)

    Still obtainable by us here on the forums, which is probably less than 10 percent of Comcast's numbers. It still takes time to get to the cap, this kind of use isn't being blown through in a week.

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