Comcast announced that it will roll out the second phase of data capping across 18 cities. This in addition to parts of 16 states that already have the cap enforced by the mass media conglomerate. As of November 1, 18 cities and states will be on the XFINITY Data Usage Plan, which essentially caps your plan usage amount at 1TB. Anything over that will be charged at $10 per 50 GB up to a total of $200.
The company says that 99% of its users don’t use more than 1TB, but the decision is bound to affect serious online gamers and avid 4k video streamers/downloaders.
1 TB is quite a lot of data, actually. Comcast equates it to uploading or downloading more than 60,000 photos or watching up to 700 hours of HD video. But 4k movies can easily average 100 GB, so just ten 4k movies will take you over the limit.
Those who want to continue with their unlimited plan can pay an additional $50 to remove the 1TB cap. Though Comcast says that only 1% of its users tend to go over 1 TB a month, as 4k videos and online games get more popular, this may pose a problem for people who prefer streamed video and gaming content.
Why is Comcast Doing This?
It’s sort of contradictory to cap data usage when video consumption is on the rise, so Comcast obviously wants to control the amount of bandwidth that high-volume domestic customers use. But to be fair, Comcast also said that they will give a two-month grace period before they strictly enforce the data caps and overage charges. Users will also be able to see their usage online and even sign up for notifications when they reach a certain usage level.
The other side of that argument is that data capping discourages the use of video streaming services. That makes sense if you think about it, because cable companies (and Comcast is one of the biggest in the U.S.) are steadily losing customers to Hulu, Netflix and others. Is Comcast trying to discourage users from shifting to streaming services using their leverage as the top ISP in the country? After all, it stands to reason that the leading provider of both internet and cable television services in the United States can definitely influence the usage habits of its users. Is this what Comcast is doing?
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