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Comcast plans data limits for all customers

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Comcast is considering imposing monthly usage limits for all of its Internet customers.

David Cohen, executive vice president of America’s largest cable company, predicted at a conference Wednesday that in five years’ time, the company will have “a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.”

That means Comcast customers could only consume a certain amount of data before facing extra charges for going over their limits.

Cohen said the company would aim to set the limit at a level where “the vast majority of our customers” wouldn’t be affected. He speculated that the limit might be set at 350 gigabytes or 500 gigabytes per month. A cap of that size would allow you to download or stream between 70 and 125 HD movies, which typically run about four or five gigabytes in size.

Cohen said he doesn’t think Comcast will ever have a system in which “80% of customers” are impacted by data limits and are forced to pay for additional usage, though he added that it’s “very difficult to make predictions.”

“I don’t think that’s the model that we are heading toward, but five years ago, I don’t know that I would have heard of something called an iPad,” he said.

Comcast is currently experimenting with 300 GB data limits in some markets, charging those customers $10 for each additional block of 50 GB. There’s also a 5 GB “flexible data” option for light users. Those plans were introduced after the company scrapped its hard 250 GB monthly cap back in 2012.

The move could also affect current Time Warner Cable customers should the companies’ pending merger be approved by regulators. If the deal is approved, the combined group will be the country’s dominant provider of television channels and Internet connections, reaching roughly one in three American homes.


  • me

    Go ahead Comcast. Can drop YOU at YOUR highest speed.
    Thank you, FCC, for looking out for Big Business, rather than
    Americans in General. Both display Exceptional Service to We
    The People.

    • Pat Melton Stark

      I only wish that were true. I’m currently a Tiime-Warner and am considering changing providers, as my bill keeps increasing, and I see no end to that. This may just be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back!

  • American

    What about those who work from home and use 8hours plus a day mandatory and then want personal use, like myself??? This is crazy and I personally would drop it in a heartbeat!

  • pissed off

    This is ridiculous I have two teenagers one uses his Xbox a fair amount. The other uses the internet to go to college and we all use Netflix as well as just hook our phones to it. Thus sounds like its going to effect way more people than they claim and they know it ir they wouldn’t be doing it. I’ve never known a company to make a change like this unless they saw it making a substantial profit

  • Khazat

    Just another way to screw us over and for them to make more money. Comcast if you are reading this than take this as fair warning. You will lose everything. You will lose so many customers it will blow your mind.

  • Timothy

    I have already dropped comcast and got dish network and as soon as I cut one tree down I will get there Internet I got tired of comcast scewing me and stealing my money

  • reposting

    Companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon and AT&T are using PUBLICLY FUNDED infrastructure (in addition to whatever the companies have built themselves) and should not be allowed to act in a way that’s counter to the public interest.
    -Wil Wheaton
    Our local, state and federal government offer subsidies and tax breaks and departmental assistance towards running the wires and cables and energy used by these companies and all of that is funded by us.
    Years ago these companies were awarded BILLIONS in assistance to spur fiber optics deployment throughout our country. They backfunneled that money into expanding DSL (existing phone line-based internet) and then “Wideband” (existing cable TV-based internet) promotion/technology on these wire-based networks we have already helped install and pay for.
    None of these companies own Netflix but they know it’s popular and disruptive (Netflix is the reason you don’t go to Blockbuster any more). Now they’re trying to shake down Netflix and similar business models because they know you want the content. Here’s the thing, the size of the internet pipe going into your house doesn’t change. But because of their cheapness in upgrading their end of their service (remember, we helped them run all the cables to our homes), they have been sitting on old technologies because it’ll cost them some cash to upgrade to meet current usages (costs that we have already graciously offset for them via subsidies and tax breaks and the like.
    If you’re gonna get local, state and federal government help because you can’t run your business without it you’re gonna have to be regulated by the people electing who you have to ask. Perfect world if you didn’t have to though, right? In that world I could roadblock the paid-for street I live on and personally charge anyone that wanted to drive down it.

    • T Sweeney

      Netflix and YouTube represent 40% of the traffic for most ISP’s.

      Imagine a business model where you sell something, then place it into someone else’s truck which they are forced to deliver for free.

      Netflix is no hero, they are freeloaders, putting their costs onto other people’s wallets.

      • athynz

        THAT is what suckcast and others would have you believe. How much money has suckcast and others really put into the infrastructure us taxpayers helped to finance? WHY are they making profits off of this?

      • garagewoolery

        Netflix isn’t “freeloading” their content on your ISP’s network. YOU have already paid your ISP to deliver ANY content (including Netflix) on their network. Your argument is only valid if you are getting your internet connection for free.

        A better analogy is your buying a product from a store, and you’ve paid for shipping…and then the shipping company demands the store you shopped at to pay for shipping as well to ensure that it actually reaches you.

      • garagewoolery

        The real freeloaders here are the ISP’s (including Comcast) because they’re using public land and public money (your land, your tax money) FOR FREE to provide their infrastructure to get their service to you, so that they can, in return, charge you to actually provide that service to you.

        Their socializing their infrastructure, and privatizing the profits from taking advantage of that infrastructure.

        THAT’S the real freeloading. Open your eyes.

  • J.f. Willey

    There isn’t suppose to be a monopoly either.. Well by then Comcast won’t be the only provider. Ill leave them if they try to tell me how much i can download or not.. efn commies

  • BO

    I see cutting the cord in the future and it looks like comcast is hastening the decision.I just need an internet connection.all the rest is bells and whistles I hardly watch.

  • Matthew Burford

    They must be trying to put themselves out of business. I will be calling century link tomorrow. The fools that run these companies have no idea that google is going to eat them all for breakfast within 5 years. Instead of being innovative and forward thinking, the woo-woo heads at comcast are going to hasten their own demise. Nobody I know with half a brain has cable anymore. Who wants to watch commercials or “scheduled” programming, when you can get it all online cheaper and without the hassle? I wonder how long folks will try to beat that dead horse. Comcast should get with the times, otherwise it will be looking like blockbuster video in a few years time.

  • Allison Vick

    Comcast is to high anyway and I wounder where people get trained in customer service? We only have internet with them,but it looks like there will be a change in the near future.

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