Policy + charging

Comcast Caps Coming?

DSL Reports is reporting that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is considering a plan that would make its current "invisible" broadband consumption cap for modem subs much more visible -- to the tune of 250 gigabytes per month.

The report, citing an MSO insider, warns that the concept is in the preliminary stages, but the general idea would be to cap all customers at 250 gigabytes per month, allowing for one free "slip up" over a 12-month period before the operator would begin charging $15 for every 10 gigabytes they consume above the cap. And, to ensure "transparency," Comcast would be very upfront about the cap and what would happen if a customer exceeded it or continued to exceed it.

Comcast, of course, has been getting kicked in the head for delaying some peer-to-peer traffic, not to mention a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) probe into how it manages Internet traffic. The MSO has since announced plans to migrate to a "protocol agnostic" platform, which, of course, could indicate a consumption cap or quota system that counts all bytes equally and, therefore, does not discriminate against individual applications, such as P2P, but still keeps the bandwidth hogs in check. (See Comcast Caves In to P2P Pressure.)

And then there's that "Fair Use Management" extension Camiant Inc. unveiled this week. The concept sure sounds and smells a lot like what Comcast is reportedly mulling. (See Camiant Intros 'Fair Use' Bandwidth System.)

And, officially, Comcast isn't saying much about what it may or may not do, or how high the bandwidth ceiling might be. An MSO spokesman would only echo a response to the original report -- that Comcast has not made any changes to its existing offering and "is currently evaluating this service and pricing model to ensure we deliver a great online experience to our customers."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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