Comcast’s New Data Caps are ‘Low Enough to Punish Streaming’?

comcastComcast, a wireless cable network known largely for their cable providers, hit a milestone this year: its number of Internet customers has well exceeded its cable purchasers. In its third quarter, the company lost 48,000 cable customers and added 320,000 Internet customers.

While their market value begins to rise and their numbers remain profitable, there is an inevitable discrepancy due to their shift in business. Internet costs far less than cable, so despite their increase in Internet customers, the company is nevertheless making less money.

In an attempt to make up for its losses, Comcast recently announced a plan that would charge its Internet customers for the amount of data used, similar to how mobile service providers charge their wireless customers.

While this may seem like a sucker punch to Comcast’s current customer base, metering their internet usage would bolster the company’s revenue. And considering the amount of data used monthly in video streaming alone, setting a data cap may prove to be a profitable venture indeed.

According to CBS News, the average household watches an average of 240 hours of television a month. Due to online video and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, fewer and fewer families are turning to cable to satisfy their TV fixes. 

Comcast has previously tested the cap in various states across the country with varying results. In December 2013, for example, the company rolled out a cap system that offered a base 300 GB plan with $10 for every 50 GB used. For more, customers could buy a 600GB plan, that provided a faster connection and more data.

This month, Comcast expanded its cap into Florida, offering customers the option of unlimited data for $30 a month. The 300 GB cap would afford an avid video streamer around 575 hours of video per month, and ample data for surfing the web. And considering 97% of individuals use the internet to research local products and services, this data is much needed.

Not everyone is as thrilled as Comcast about the data cap. Matthew Pulsipher, a 23-year-old from Atlanta, decided to purchase the $30 extra for unlimited data in order to support his family’s streaming habits. While he did so out of necessity, he doesn’t necessarily think it’s fair.

“I think the idea of limiting your usage is absolutely insane,” Pulsipher said.

“It would make sense if the cap was 2 terabytes, but 300 is just low enough to punish streaming.”

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