Did you know that Comcast’s sterling reputation has already been impacted by the existence of data caps on some of its broadband customers and that other companies have followed suit, drawing the ire of customers who have taken their anger about Comcast and the other services to the FCC? Well, according to CNN/Money, Comcast’s program is set to expand to eight more US cities, stifling the limitless joy/internet that some users in Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee once had. For those people, the data caps will kick in at 300GB, which Comcast says equals out to:
The company notes that 300 GB is a lot of data, allowing customers to stream 117 HD movies, download 5,500 hours of music, make 86,000 minutes of FaceTime calls, upload 20,000 photos or send 585 million tweets.
That 117 movies thing might be a little too close for comfort for some, but the other things are a bit excessive. If you do go over that initial 300GB and you do have Comcast and live in one of the affected cities, you will be charged $10 per 50GB beyond 300. Which, in hard numbers, isn’t a lot of people.
Apparently, the median internet usage is 40GB a month, which is, in my view, barely living, but approximately 8% of Comcast users do exceed that 300GB threshold according to Comcast’s statement to CNN/Money. And that is, one assumes, a growing number. After all, it’s not like internet consumption is dwindling as we all run off into the woods to play with rocks and make eye contact as we have conversations about weather and who has the coolest rocks. Not so long as most companies don’t choke off the porn, skateboarding bulldog and Seinfeld rerun tubes. But what if that does start to happen? That’s why this story matters to you even if you are, right now within this moment, shrugging and saying, “I get my internet through Blah Blah Blah, I do what I want!” or, “Sometimes I read a book or experience direct sunlight, so I’m good.”
Remember, boo boo, trends matter and we’re still at the start of this one. Will it catch fire and inspire even more internet service providers to explore similar pricing models with the biggies strapping in for a fight with an FCC that will reportedly go after companies that impose nationwide data caps? (Sidebar: if you accept that report as fact, then why is it alright to cap people in Chatanooga right now but not every other city and town? Why are limited data cap trials permissible if the supposed willingness to tussle with ISPs on a national rollout actually exists?) Will Comcast customers and other internet citizens piss on the auburn embers with their tweets, Facebook posts, phone calls and decisions to abandon Comcast rather than be subjected to these fees?
Time will tell, but if you think the slippery slope argument is invalid, take a look at your mobile bill and the complicated and costly mess that your data plan has become.
They didn’t touch on any of this sh*t in Back to the Future II.