Comcast this week said it would more than triple the current 300 gigabyte data caps it’s testing in select U.S. markets, giving customers the ability to use up to a terabyte of data, something the operator says isn’t an issue for more than 99% of its customers.
“As the world changes and the Internet evolves, so do we,” wrote Marcien Jenckes, EVP, Consumer Services, Comcast Cable, in a blog post. “That’s why we are making a major change to our Internet data trials and moving to a terabyte data plan in all of our trial markets.”
A “typical” Comcast customer uses about 60 gigabytes of data in a month, wrote Jenckes.
Comcast has been trialing a number of data plans and options for the past four years. And, said the company, it’s listened to customer feedback.
“We have learned that our customers want the peace of mind to stream, surf, game, download, or do whatever they want online,” Jenckes wrote. “So, we have created a new data plan that is so high that most of our customers will never have to think about how much data they use.”
Comcast is trying to keep tiers to a minimum, so it’s planning to move all of the data plans in its trial markets from a 300 gigabyte data plan to a terabyte by June 1, regardless of the speed.
The service provider said customers who use more than a terabyte of data a month – less than 1% of its subscribers – have the option of purchasing additional data in blocks of 50 gigabytes for $50, or of choosing to go with an unlimited plan for an additional $50 a month.
Comcast provides customers access to their data usage via an online data meter that they can access.
Although Comcast hasn’t yet decided if it will roll out data caps in other markets, it said it was “currently evaluating” plans for further deployment.
Charter Communications, which soon will become the second-largest cable operator in the U.S. behind Comcast, once its acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks is approved, has no data caps on any residential plans. That’s something they’ve agreed to maintain for three years once the merger closes, probably by mid-May.
Time Warner Cable has dabbled in data caps and gotten its hand slapped by angry consumers in the process.
Along with Charter, Cablevision, Bright House and Verizon also don’t enforce data caps… yet.
Most other operators do have caps – most have a low bar of 150 gigabytes – and even then, not all enforce them rigorously.
A terabyte of cap would allow users to stream about 700 hours of HD video.
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