The Comcast data cap ‘trial’ is starting to look less like a trial and more like a handy way to extract money: starting December 1st, markets from Arkansas to Virginia will see data capped to 300GB, with $10 per 50GB over. Comcast says this is about “fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers”.
The changes will affect customers in Little Rock, Arkansas; Houma, LaPlace and Shreveport, Louisiana; Chattanooga, Greenville, Johnson City/Gray, Tennessee; and Galax, Virginia. The company outlined the new ‘trial’ in an email, obtained by DSLReports:
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.
But Comcast isn’t pure evil! For the low, low price of $35 a month, you can continue to receive unlimited bandwidth:
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.
A series of alleged Comcast documents were leaked on Reddit, outlining the changes, and how Comcast reps should deal with angry customers complaining about the change. There’s a good list of Dos and Don’ts for phone reps, including instructions to not call it a Data Cap—because Comcast doesn’t limit data usage, just charges a bunch more money, it’s a ‘Data Usage Plan’.
Interestingly, any more difficult questions—like whether Comcast is breaking net neutrality laws by preferring Xfinity services, or how many people actually go over the limit—are to be transferred direction to the retentions department.
The most telling fact is that the 300GB limit is about ‘fairness and flexibility’, not dealing with an overloaded network. That’s normally the line trotted out by cellphone carriers throttling or capping their network; in Comcast’s case, it looks more and more like the network is just trying to make a big ‘ole pile of money.