Friday, July 29, 2016

Comcast Boosts Usage Caps to a Terabyte

In markets where it is testing usage caps for its Internet access customers, Comcast has raised the monthly usage from 300 Gb to 1,000 Gb (a terabyte).

Comcast says its typical customer uses about 60 gigabytes of data in a month.

To be sure, some advocate no caps or any kind, ever, arguing that there actually are not cost implications for unlimited use. ISPs would disagree, of course. All networks are dimensioned for some amount of expected usage, and further designed to support peak loads.

Capital has to be invested when peak loads grow substantially. So the amount of usage by typical and the heaviest users does matter.

The terabyte cap allows for viewing of 700 hours of high-definition video, or about 23 hours at is each day. No single person watches that much video, and even if shared between four people, that amounts to nearly six hours per day, per person.

Power users (less than one percent of Comcast’s high speed access customer base) who want more than a terabyte can sign up for an unlimited plan for an additional $50 a month, or they have the option to purchase additional buckets of 50 gigabytes of data for $10 each.

As a practical matter, nearly all of you who actually have kept track of data usage under both “unlimited” and data plans with large buckets of usage, would likely agree that, as a practical, a reasonably-sized usage bucket is virtually indistinguishable from an “unlimited” plan, as a practical matter.

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