Comcast suspends data cap, searches for alternative

For nearly four years, Comast has imposed a 250 GB data cap on its users. This policy has been unpopular and widely criticized, but has come under particular scrutiny of late. Is the company starting to listen?

Comcast has just announced that it is suspending its 250 GB data cap. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Internet service provider will instead try out “improved data usage management approaches comparable to plans that others in the market are using that will provide customers with more choice and flexibility than our current policy.”

Translating from the corporate-speak, you’ll see the new trial plans still have data caps. The plans in Comcast’s two test markets each give users 300 GB per month with the option to buy 50 GB more for $10. One of the two trial plans stops there, the other gives users of the “Blast” and “Extreme” service tiers higher initial caps. If you’re not part of one of these two trial markets, you’ll simply have your 250 GB limit removed until the company figures out what it’s going to do.

If you ask me, it sounds like Comcast is lifting one way of screwing you over while it searches for another way of screwing you over. As Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper pointed out, data caps are the wrong tool to manage network traffic and punish the wrong users. Hopefully Comcast will eventually settle on a more reasonable means of managing its network traffic, like prime-time rate caps.

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