& cplSiteName &

Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
7/30/2012
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has picked Nashville, Tenn., as the first city to try out a new broadband usage policy that will charge customers $10 for each bucket of 50 gigabytes that they consume above a monthly 300GB threshold.

The new policy takes effect there on Wednesday, Aug. 1. According to a Q&A about the new policy, Comcast won't bill customers the first three times they exceed the monthly 300GB allowance during a 12-month period. Following that "courtesy period," customers will get charged if they bust through the cap.

They will then be allocated another bucket of 50GB and will be alerted to the fact by email and an in-browser notice. Comcast will do the same when users approach both 90 percent and 100 percent of their monthly data allowance.

The debut of the policy comes more than two months after Comcast announced it would raise its monthly broadband usage cap from 250GB to at least 300GB for all its cable modem tiers and would start to try out a usage-based, metered model that would charge fees when customers exceeded the limit.

At the time, Comcast had also discussed plans to introduce a different kind of test that would start with a 300GB cap for its lower-level service tiers and then raise that data consumption ceiling for its higher-end tiers (its fastest service now maxes out at 305Mbit/s down by 65Mbit/s upstream). As it's gotten ready for these tests, Comcast has chucked its old 250GB "excessive use" policy, which took effect in the fall of 2008 and did not charge extra when users exceeded the cap. (See Comcast Draws the Line at 250GB and Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier.)

Comcast didn't say when or where it will next test its usage-based broadband policies, but company EVP and GM of Communications and Data Services Cathy Avgiris noted in mid-May that the plan is to "pilot at least two approaches" in different markets over the next few months.

Why this matters
The Nashville launch marks Comcast's first policy to combine a broadband cap with overage fees, and follows similar policies being tested or deployed by other U.S. broadband ISPs, including Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Suddenlink Communications and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). With Comcast now moving ahead, it's likely that other major U.S. cable operators may begin to introduce similar policies that aim to keep bandwidth hogs in check.

Usage-based broadband policies are allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's network neutrality rules, though they have become the subject of complaints from over-the-top video services that believe broadband meters and caps put them at a disadvantage. Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), meanwhile, has whined that Comcast's Xfinity TV app for the Xbox 360 game console does not count against a user's cap.

For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:36 PM
re: Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband


Although other US cable operators may join the usage-based broadband party now that Comcast is moving forward, I don't expect Verizon to  change its policies for FiOS, if it's smart, that is.  Comcast and FiOS are matching up on speed with their fastest tiers and it's probably a matter of time when they will do so on price too. But if I'm VZ, I'm keeping FiOS cap-free, since it offers the kind of differentiator that customers, particularly heavy users, can understand. Google was also smart to keep meters and caps off the table as it gets its fiber products rolling in the Kansas Cities. JB

Flook
50%
50%
Flook,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:31 PM
re: Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband


Maybe it's time for an OISP movement...as in Occupy ISPs. Any idea if other advanced economies (S. Korea, Japan, W. Europe) also have caps or are considering them?

Cooper10
50%
50%
Cooper10,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:25:20 PM
re: Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband


By this logic, Sprint should be materially outpacing ATT and VZ on wireless net adds with their unlimited wireless data plans.  Hasn't happened.  And the heaviest users are  the least profitable customers to have if you assume that revenue is the same for a heavy user vs. "typical" user - so ISPs may be glad to let their competition attract the least profitable customers with unlimited data plans. 

Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
February 26-28, 2018, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Project AirGig Goes Down to Georgia
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/13/2017
Verizon's New Fios TV Is No More
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/12/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
Cloudy With a Chance of Automation: Telecom in 2018
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/12/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed