First things first, data caps still seem like a terrible idea. But at the end of the day, at least Comcast has made a move to limit the number of their customers who will be paying extra every month to use their services. The cable provider has increased the amount of data where an overage fee will be assessed from 300GB to 1TB, a number far less likely to be reached by the average household.
According to our calculations, where Netflix uses on average about 1GB-3GB an hour while streaming, it would take between 13 and 37 days of straight streaming to hit this new cap, a huge improvement from the 4-12 days it used to take. Comcast claimed that 8% of their users would hit the 300GB limit, the 1TB number far smaller. In other words, stream as much of ‘The OC’ on Hulu as you want this month, it’s unlikely you’ll hit 1TB in data usage through their new limits.
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix and outspoken opponent of data caps, tweeted his approval of Comcast’s decision.
While only a handful of regions are currently affected by data caps, the news is still welcome around the US as it appears Comcast plans to continue to extend such caps to more customers. While there have been no reports of any pressure from the FCC, the data caps have drawn in an increasing number of complaints over the past 18 months, and we’re guessing some secretive pressure has been applied, leading to this recent shift.
Compared to other services, Comcast is still one of the smallest caps, where services like COX and Verison FiOS offer between 2-10TB limits, also well beyond what the average consumer will use monthly. Regardless, credit where it’s due to Comcast for taking some action here.
If you’re curious to see how much data you use each month, Comcast has offered instructions here.