Ars Technica wrote a story today in which they point out that Comcast’s VP of Internet Services admitted on twitter that Comcast’s 300GB monthly broadband data cap was a business decision, not a technical one.
In the past, Comcast has tried and failed to explain their reasons for instituting data caps. They can barely even figure out which data cap plan that they want to keep in place.
In 2008, Comcast implemented a 250 gigabyte usage cap for all of the company’s residential service tiers. The reason for this data cap being instituted? Comcast wanted to stop those customers using “excessive” amounts of data so that their network would stay strong.
What is Comcast’s approach to Excessive Use? Comcast has an excessive use program to provide a high-quality service for all of its customers. The company uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards. – Gizmodo
Comcast received heavy criticism in 2012, when they admitted to possibly allowing for data from Xbox 360 users to be exempt from any data caps. According to Comcast, they were thinking of allowing this because the Xbox 360 content was “being delivered over a private IP network rather than the public Internet.” I guess their network had gotten better.
In 2014, Comcast publicly admitted to instituting data caps around the country. Comcast’s explanation for this new nationwide push was looking to “reward customers who only use a small amount of data each month, while charging heavy users for their use.”
Last year, Comcast also tried a new way to explain their data caps. They aren’t really data caps! Comcast told the US government that their data caps weren’t data caps because customers could in fact use as much data as they wanted, they just had to pay high overage fees if they went over.
Then several months ago, we had a new reason for the data caps from Comcast. They are mandated by law!
Even if you were to believe that Comcast has to institute the data caps for whatever reason, it is hard to keep up with what specific cap that Comcast wanted to institute. In the last few years, we have seen Comcast test all sorts of new data cap amounts in a variety of cities. Comcast customers in Nashville, Tucson and other cities began to test new data caps of 300GB and 500GB. Comcast also allowed a select few customers to be a part of a new offer that provided a $5 monthly discount off a customer’s bill if they agreed to a 5 GB per month usage cap with $1 per GB overages.