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.
Recently, Comcast began introducing 300 GB data caps for Internet subscribers across various markets in the U.S. If you go over your allotted bandwidth limit, you’ll be charged $10 for every 50GB of data you use. Or, you can opt to pay Comcast an extra $30/month to eliminate the cap completely. We should note, though, that Comcast won’t bill users the first three times they exceed the 300GB threshold.
While Comcast might have you believe that its data caps are for the good of the overall network, that’s not entirely true. Not too long ago, we highlighted a comment from Comcast’s VP of Internet services Jason Livingood who intimated that the Company’s data caps have nothing to do with technical issues but were rather borne of business considerations.
And now, thanks to a treasure trove of leaked Comcast documents, we have rock solid proof that Comcast’s data caps have absolutely nothing to do with preventing network congestion. Just like we said yesterday.
The following document is part of a training manual provided to Comcast call center employees. There are a few interesting things to note here. For starters, employees are cautioned against saying the word ‘Data Cap’; after all, it’s not a cap when Comcast will charge you for going over. If anything, Comcast probably wants users to go over.
Second, we see here in black and white that the 300GB monthly limit has absolutely nothing to do with network congestion. The pertinent portion of the training document reads, Don’t Say: “The program is about congestion management.” (It is not.)
“That parenthetical was not added by us,” The Consumerist notes. “This is an admission by Comcast that its data cap has absolutely nothing to do with easing the load on its network. Instead, it’s — according to the script — about ‘Fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers.'”
Now Comcast claims that 98% of its subscriber base won’t even come close to going over the 300GB cap. Still, with bandwidth usage rising tremendously thanks to streaming services like Netflix, not to mention gaming and the impending onslaught of 4K content, it stands to reason that Comcast’s 300GB cap will quickly wear out its welcome.
When that happens, it’ll be interesting to see what type of excuse Comcast trots out to defend its seemingly arbitrary data cap.