Comcast is one of the nation’s biggest internet service providers that has no idea how to make their customers happy. They make many promises but like an abusive spouse, they manage to keep the same cycle going. I am referring to the “spousal abusive” metaphor in regards to data caps. We all hate them but more and more companies like to throw them up to make more money and punish consumers who like to use the internet.
Comcast has been testing data caps in nine states, all of which has various policies according to Ars Technica. The general rule of thumb is that if you exceed the 300GB cap, you will be charged an additional $10 for each additional 50GB. Comcast is gracious enough to forgive the fee for the first three months before they start hitting you with the fees.
That is, of course, if you live in certain areas in Florida. Mainly Fort Lauderdale, the Keys, and Miami, you can purchase unlimited data for an additional $30 a month. Signing up for the program would eliminate the 300GB data cap but you would still pay that amount if you failed to exceed the 300GB of data. You know, like you do for your mobile data service. Not much difference there.
DSLReports noticed the change in Comcast’s FAQ section that was updated on Tuesday. “The Unlimited Data Option costs the current additional fee of $30 per calendar month, regardless of actual data usage,” Comcast says in the revised FAQ.
“For example, if you enroll in the Unlimited Data Option and use 530GB in a given month, you will only be charged $30 for choosing to enroll in the Unlimited Data Option,” Comcast says. “If you do not enroll in the Unlimited Data Option, you would be on the 300GB plan and therefore would be charged $50 for the additional 250GB (five blocks of additional 50GB) provided on top of the 300GB plan. Note that customers enrolled in the Unlimited Data Option who use less than 300GB in a given month will still be charged $30 for that month.”
Unfortunately, in the other eight states that are being tested with the data caps, there is no reprieve for them. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina all have to pay the additional fees if they exceed the 300 GB cap. Comcast did tell Ars that consumers would rather pay more for no data caps.
“In a customer survey with some heavy data users, 60 percent expressed interest in an unlimited data plan option at the predictable, flat price of around $30 a month,” a Comcast spokesperson told Ars on Tuesday. “So, we’re giving that a trial run in a few Florida markets starting on October 1st and we’re notifying customers there about a month in advance. What we’ve found is that about 10 percent of our customers consume almost half of all the data on our network, so these trials are based on principles of flexibility and fairness.”
I think most people would pay an additional charge to have unlimited data, which is something the mobile providers should realize. A Comcast exec stated last month that data caps serve no “technical necessity” but a business one. One major reason for the caps is to prevent people from cutting the cord. If someone only pays for internet and ditched tv service, they will use extraordinary amount of data to use HBO Go, Netflix and Hulu to name a few.
Data caps for internet service is simply to keep people from ditching irrelevant television service and data caps for mobile devices are imposed so wireless providers do not have to improve their network. At some point, these companies will learn that charging more (slightly) for unlimited data is the way to go. Unfortunately, that may not happen in my lifetime.