Imagine a world where America’s interstate highway and local road systems work a bit differently than it does today. They look the same, but the governing bodies that oversee our nation’s highways have cut deals with certain car makers. If you own a Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Kia or Hyundai, you’re free to travel the highways whenever you like. If you own a car from any other brand you can still travel from state to state, but you’ll have to stick only to smaller roads and side streets.
Would you ever consider buying a car made by a company other than the five listed above? Would new startups like Tesla even bother trying to enter the market?
In less than two weeks, Comcast will roll out its home broadband data cap program in eight additional cities, bringing its total up to 27 different markets across the United States. Under the terms of the program, Xfinity broadband subscribers may use up to 300GB of data per billing period. If they use more data for any reason, Comcast will charge an additional $10 for each 50GB used until the next billing cycle begins.
For Comcast customers, this is obviously bad news. People in the U.S. are used to treading lightly with wireless data, aggravating though it may be, but home broadband services have historically offered unlimited data. Now, Comcast subscribers in 27 markets will have the same thoughts creep into the back of their minds each time they sit down to use a service like YouTube or Netflix: How much data does this use, and am I close to my cap?
But Comcast’s data cap program isn’t just bad news for the company’s own subscribers, it’s bad news for all of us. More →
So we already know from Comcast’s own internal documents that its data caps have nothing to do with managing congested networks. Instead, the company is insisting that these new caps are all about “fairness” — that is, customers who use less data shouldn’t have to pay more per month to subsidize all the “data hogs” and their fancy-pants BitTorrent streams. It’s just like Comcast to always look out for the little guy, isn’t it?
Well, no, it’s not. And you won’t be surprised to know that its data cap policies have absolutely nothing to do with fairness.
Picking apart Comcast’s business and policies has become an Internet pastime as subscribers blow off steam following years of poor customer support, but the recent document leak has taken things to an entirely new level. We discussed the leaked Comcast document a few times last week, and one of the biggest revelations to come of it was the upsetting admission that Comcast’s 300GB data caps have absolutely nothing to do with network congestion.
But the leaked Comcast documents have more information to offer, including an interesting tidbit that discusses how the company responds to customer inquiries covering touchy subjects like Netflix and net neutrality. More →
One of the inherent problems with Internet providers is that the largest among them also happen to be cable providers. So as consumers increasingly look to cut the cord, it’s far too easy for a company, like, oh I don’t know, say Comcast, to roll out data caps with overage fees in an effort to restore some balance to their bottom line.
Comcast can be counted among a number of large Internet service providers in the United States that are consistently listed among the least liked companies in the country by their customers, and the ISP’s latest move will do little to change that. In a quiet update earlier this week, Comcast changed a frequently asked questions page on its website to list eight new cities where subscribers will see their home Internet service capped at 300GB lest they want to pay overages. More →
Oh, Comcast. When will you learn that your customers just don’t like you, no matter how much rival ISPs screw up? Comcast recently tried to bash Google Fiber on Facebook after Google Fiber’s services went down in Kansas City during the first game of the World Series featuring the hometown Kansas City Royals. Although it looks like the post has since been removed (I sadly couldn’t find it on Xfinity’s Facebook page this morning), it has been preserved for all time on this Imgur page and it is glorious. In short, Comcast’s post was flooded by people who defended Google Fiber while giving Comcast an earful on customer complaints. More →
If you’re a cord cutter who lives in an area where Comcast has implemented its data caps and you constantly find yourself running up against your monthly limit, there may be a good reason for that. The Associated Press recently published an interesting report on Comcast’s plan to meter the Internet through data caps and what really stuck out for me was a quote from one Comcast customer who pointed out that these caps are just the right size to discourage people from getting all their television through streaming services instead of through a traditional cable TV package. More →
Comcast is a bit of a wounded beast right now. It’s still smarting from a pair of embarrassing defeats over net neutrality and its failed Time Warner Cable merger. Not to mention, its reputation remains in the gutter after several instances of its poor customer service went viral thanks to customers who recorded their phone calls with the cable giant. But you can’t keep a good corporate super villain down, which is why I’m not surprised to hear speculation that Comcast will make a big splash in the wireless market by buying T-Mobile. More →
Comcast has a problem: It wants to implement data caps but it knows customers hate data caps. Its solution: Call them something other than “data caps.” As DSLReports points out, Comcast is bringing its capped data plans to lucky customers in Florida while simultaneously insisting that it isn’t implementing data caps. More →
Google Fiber is hardly the only threat to ISP mainstays like Comcast and Time Warner Cable these days. There are three times as many wireless accounts as there are cable broadband accounts in the United States, and wireless growth is seen continuing at a much more rapid pace than land-based broadband growth. What’s more, usage patterns are continuing to shift toward mobile devices and away from traditional computers.
The nation’s top cable companies have spent quite a bit of money of late building out large Wi-Fi networks across the country, and they have spent even more money marketing their networks of Wi-Fi hotspots. Some ISPs are even launching their own Wi-Fi only mobile phone services. Why? Because mobile is the battleground of the future and ISPs need to do everything they can to keep customers connected while they’re on the go.
But a new technology is emerging that may threaten to weaken the quality of ISPs’ Wi-Fi networks while strengthening their competitors’ cellular services, and Big Cable has no plans to take things lying down. More →
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged this week that you can’t keep raising prices forever… but that doesn’t mean prices can’t go up next month! Ars Technica flags a report from The Hollywood Reporter that reveals Roberts told a Goldman Sachs telecom conference this week that “you can’t keep raising the price [of cable bundles] forever” because “these things have a way of correcting and balancing out before something draconian happens.” However, Ars notes that Comcast is set to unleash a major round of price hikes in several markets across the U.S., including in Oregon and New Mexico. More →