With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video, Comcast has felt a sharp decline in its cable subscriptions. In order to make up for that decline, Comcast will start charging heavy data users extra. If you’ve abandoned cable all together and have jumped ship to the world of streaming services, you may get hit with surcharges when you cross Comcast’s data use threshold.
According to the Associated Press, Comcast said Tuesday that in the third quarter alone, the cable and internet provider lost 48,000 TV customers while adding 320,000 internet customers. To recoup lost dollars, Comcast has been slowly unveiling surcharges for crossing their monthly data cap thresholds. For years comcast has capped data use at 250 gigabytes per month. In August 2012, it instituted a 300GB cap in some of its markets, charging customers $10 for every 50GB over that threshold. This October, Comcast is testing an unlimited data plan that will cost customers an extra $30 a month on top of their existing rates.
To put it into perspective, the average household watchest 240 hours of TV a month. According to Comcast, 300GB would provide a household anywhere from 230 to 575 hours of streaming each month. That’s a broad range of hours, which just illustrates how complicated metering internet use can be. However, Comcast assured customers that only 8 percent of customers actually cross the 300GB threshold. But considering Comcast’s stranglehold on America’s telecommunications market, 8 percent translates into quite a few customers.
Why is Comcast charging extra for data when most providers already offer unlimited data plans? According to CBS News, Comcast generates more revenue from its cable service than its internet service. Now that consumer trends have shifted toward streaming television and video via the internet, Comcast’s model has suddenly become outdated. That will change now that Comcast has seen its internet customers outpace its television subscribers.
Although Comcast insists that they have no intention of rolling out data caps on a widespread basis (yet) that promise doesn’t sit well with customers already feeling the data capping effects. Matthew Pulsipher, who resides with his family in one of Comcast’s data capping markets, Atlanta, bought into the company’s unlimited data use plan. He’s not happy about it.
“I think the idea of limiting your usage is absolutely insane,” he told Associated Press. “It would make sense if the cap was 2 terabytes, but 300 is just low enough to punish streaming.”
Do you live in a market where Comcast is capping monthly data use? Have you bought into a Comcast unlimited data plan? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.