“We call it a data plan just like wireless companies have data plans.” – Charlie Douglas, Comcast spokesperson.
Starting small but clearly with intentions to expand, Comcast has moved their new data caps… err excuse me data plans, into several markets in Florida including Ft. Lauderdale, the Keys and Miami. Techdirt is reporting that Comcast is on a PR offensive to remind journalists that they don’t refer to these caps as such, but instead refer to them as “data plans” an expression most brilliantly crafted by mobile service providers, notorious for overage charges.
Instead of a cap, where one might imagine service gets cut off, the differentiator here is that Comcast will just charge you $30 bucks extra a month to avoid them, or $10 per 50 extra GB. While most customers don’t hit the 300GB monthly “plan” it’s really not that hard to reach that number from time to time when binge-watching HD movies and TV shows through services like Hulu and Netflix.
As Techdirt is reporting, if Comcast wants to run this type of program, certainly it would make sense to create “skinny” packages, where users who don’t touch nearly as much bandwidth as the rest of us (grandma, are you ever going to use that Netflix account we gave you for Christmas?) only get charged a small percentage of an average monthly bill.
From the Comcast website:
We’re bullish, especially with actions like this, that it is only a matter of time before cable is offered as a major utility akin to water or electricity where public oversight will come crashing down on a marketplace that has been monopolistic for far too long. If it was simple for us to change cable providers then behavior like this could almost be defensible as we’d at least have the option to seek out better service. But many people are hamstrung to one provider in their region, making it nearly impossible to switch services.
We’ll be following up with more information on this story, so stay tuned as Comcast certainly continues to expand and test this new policy.