As pretty much everyone who isn’t on Comcast’s payroll knows, its data caps aren’t about ensuring “fairness” but about slowing the growth of cord cutters. The Wall Street Journal has a good new report that shows how much data caps are already making people think twice about how much they watch Netflix, and one user says he’s already cancelled Netflix because he doesn’t want to pay Comcast’s overage fees.
“I love Netflix…but it makes no sense for me to pay for Netflix when I’m going to get charged by Comcast two or three times that as a result,” former Netflix user Scott Jones tells the Journal.
The article isn’t just about anecdotal stories from random users, either — Jeff Blum, deputy general counsel at Dish, tells the Journal that Dish’s Sling TV service has lost lots of customers who are worried about paying hefty overages for watching too much TV.
“[Comcast’s] incentive is to sabotage over-the-top services, and data caps is a primary tool in order to accomplish that,” Blum says. “It’s competing with their bundle.”
Comcast, of course, denies that it’s trying to squelch the online video market and it says it’s the world’s biggest proponent of innovation and the open Internet… but who actually buys that?
A Comcast executive tells the Journal that the company is “now actively considering substantially increasing” monthly data limits for users since the current 250GB tiers are causing customers to howl until their faces turn blue. What’s more likely, though, is Comcast will try to work out special deals with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon to have their services exempted from data caps in exchange for payola.
Does that sound like monopolistic rent seeking to you? It may or may not be, but it certainly is Comcastic.