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Netflix explains why broadband data caps are dumb

Published Sep 12th, 2016 10:00PM EDT
Netflix Data Caps
Image: Netflix

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For most of us, data caps are just annoying. But for Netflix, they pose an existential threat to its way of doing business. If people have to pay extra to watch internet TV, it gives Comcast and TWC the edge.

So it’s not surprising that Netflix feels strongly about the emerging trend of data caps, but the company really pulled no punches in a letter to the FCC.

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“Data caps on fixed ­line networks do not appear to serve a legitimate purpose: they are an ineffective network management tool,” notes the company. (ISPs) have stated that data caps on fixed line networks do not serve a traffic management function….the Commission should recognize that data caps and UBP on fixed line networks are an unnecessary constraint on advanced telecommunications capability,” Netflix explained.

Although 1TB data caps, which are being introduced by the likes of Comcast and TWC, might be sufficient for now, they may well become woefully inadequate in the future. “A data cap or allotment of 300 GB of data per month or higher is required just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American,” the letter states. “An above average television watcher, a multi-occupant household, or a consumer wishing to watch in 4K requires a much higher cap.”

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.

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