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.
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Houma, LaPlace and Shreveport, Louisiana
- Chattanooga, Greenville and Johnson City/Gray, Tennessee
- Galax, Virginia
Beginning in less than four weeks on December 1st, Comcast Xfinity subscribers in these cities will have their monthly home Internet service capped at 300GB per billing period. Overages will be charged at $10 per 50GB, or users can opt to pay an extra $30 each month to eliminate the cap completely.
Here is a copy of the email being sent to subscribers in those markets:
An important update about your XFINITY Internet service
We’re writing to let you know that we will be trialing a new XFINITY Internet data plan in your area. Starting December 1, 2015, your monthly data plan will include 300 GB. We will also trial a new “Unlimited Data” option that will give you the choice to purchase unlimited data for $35 per month in addition to your monthly Internet service fee.
The median usage for XFINITY Internet customers is 40 GB of data in a month. And based on your recent usage history, it appears this new 300 GB data plan will not impact you. If you are not sure of your monthly data usage, please refer to the Track and Manage Your Usage section below.
Here are the details of the plan:
While we believe that 300 GB is more than enough to meet your Internet usage needs, if for any reason you exceed the 300 GB included in your plan in a month, we will automatically add blocks of 50 GB to your account for an additional fee of $10 each. We’re also implementing a three-month courtesy program. That means you will not be billed for the first three times you exceed the 300 GB included in the monthly data plan.
Here are the details of the Unlimited Data option:
If you don’t want a 300 GB data plan, the new Unlimited Data option is an alternative that provides additional choice and flexibility, especially for customers who use lots of data. You can choose to enroll in the Unlimited Data option at any time for an additional fee of $35 a month, regardless of how much data you use. Enrollment in this option goes into effect on the first day of the subsequent calendar month. For additional information, click here.
Here are a few tools for you to easily track and manage your usage:
Usage meter – Track how much data you have used each month with our usage meter.
Data Usage Calculator – Estimate your data usage with our calculator tool. Simply enter information on how often and how much you typically use the Internet, and the calculator will estimate your monthly data usage.
Notifications – If you are on the 300 GB plan, we will send you a courtesy “in-browser” notice and an email letting you know when you reach 90%, 100%, 110%, and 125% of your monthly data usage plan amount. You can also elect to receive notifications at additional thresholds as well as set up mobile text notifications. Learn more about notifications here. Notices will not be sent to customers who enroll in the Unlimited Data option.
If you have any additional questions about the new data usage plan, please see our FAQs.
Thank you for being an XFINITY Internet Customer.
Your XFINITY Team
Please note that this is a consumer trial. Comcast may modify or discontinue this trial at any time. However, we will notify you in advance of any such change.
There are obviously plenty of problems with the data cap model, especially when it comes to land-based Internet service. In Comcast’s case, however, there is one problem in particular that is making Comcast’s new caps even more difficult to swallow than they would be otherwise.
Companies’ rationale when it comes to data caps is at least somewhat logical, even if you disagree with it. The heaviest users are said to be causing too much strain on a service provider’s network, so said users must be either throttled or capped in order to ensure that service to other users is not impacted. Regardless of whether or not this argument is always based in reality, there is at least some logic to it.
Here’s the problem with Comcast’s data caps: Comcast is happy to keep letting you use as much data as you want, as long as you pay extra.
In other words, Comcast isn’t even trying to hide its motivation with this data cap program. Customers who use excessive amounts of data pose no threat to Comcast’s network or the quality of service experienced by other customers. Instead, these data-heavy subscribers are simply getting too much for bang for their buck.
The company has even admitted that its data caps serve no technical purpose. They exist solely to milk subscribers for more money.
If you’re a Comcast customer and you live in one of the markets listed above, complaining to the FCC is one way to make your disapproval known. In fact, you don’t even need to live in one of those markets to complain. The FCC’s consumer help center includes a page for filing complaints involving Internet service, and Comcast subscribers certainly haven’t been afraid to use it.
If you’d like to make your feelings known to lawmakers, here is a link to the FCC’s Internet complaint page.