Comcast boosts broadband data limits, eradicates tight usage caps

In the aftermath of customer anger over caps and surcharges, the US cable provider has backtracked and is tripling data limits.

Comcast has tripled data usage caps for customers after facing severe backlash over data limit caps and surcharges on household use.

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The US cable giant will remove 300GB monthly data caps and boost the limit to 1000GB -- 1TB -- by June 1 in areas where broadband usage caps are currently being strictly enforced.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the move comes after a report by the publication exposed the broadband limitations households and those who have dropped paid television contracts in favour of online streaming have to accept in certain markets.

Comcast's limit is technically 250GB per month for all customers, but this has not been enforced since 2012 -- instead, roughly 2.8 million customers across the Southern states have recently been part of a trial in which Comcast is experimenting with different subscriptions and charges on homes based on usage.

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According to Marcien Jenckes, Executive Vice President at Consumer Services, Comcast Cable, the average Comcast customer only uses approximately 60GB of data per month, and less than one percent of subscribers come close to 1TB of usage.

However, "as the world changes and the Internet evolves," Comcast is also willing to shift a little -- and after customer feedback based on usage caps, offers and surcharges, the US cable firm has created a new data plan which will not restrict customers so much in their data usage.

"We have learned that our customers want the peace of mind to stream, surf, game, download, or do whatever they want online," Jenckes said. "So, we have created a new data plan that is so high that most of our customers will never have to think about how much data they use."

If you wish to have more than 1TB a month, Comcast will also offer an "unlimited" plan for $50 extra per month, or an additional 50GB of data for $10 a pop.

As more of us move away from paid-for television contracts and towards online video streaming, our thirst for data only increases. This causes an issue for broadband providers, which not only need spectrum resources to cope with increased demand but must also renegotiate their own business practices as customers demand more.

Jenckes says the new cap equates to 60,000 high-resolution images, 700 hours of high-definition video and 12,000 online gaming hours per month.

Not all Comcast customers are going to be able to enjoy this new cap, however. The executive said Comcast is "currently evaluating our plans to roll this out in other markets," and there is not yet word on when this may take place.

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