Home of the pro-Internet community

TechDirt: Comcast Admits Broadband Usage Caps Are A Cash Grab, Not An Engineering Necessity

Posted by Soledad Vega on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 20:04

And there you have it. Comcast – one of the most hated telecom companies in the world – just admitted that data caps are bogus. 

Article by TechDirt

For years the broadband industry tried to claim that they were imposing usage caps because of network congestion. In reality they've long lusted after usage caps for two simple reasons: they allow ISPs to charge more money for the same product, and they help cushion traditional TV revenues from the ongoing assault from Internet video. Instead of admitting that, big ISPs have tried to argue that caps are about "fairness," or that they're essential lest the Internet collapse from uncontrolled congestion (remember the debunked Exaflood?). 

Over the years, data has shown that caps aren't really an effective way to target network congestion anyway, can hinder innovation, hurt competitors, and usually only wind up confusingconsumers, many of whom aren't even sure what a gigabyte is. Eventually, even cable lobbyists had to admit broadband caps weren't really about congestion, even though they still cling to the false narrative that layering steep rate hikes and overage fees on top of already-expensive flat-rate pricing is somehow about "fairness." 

Comcast is of course slowly but surely expanding usage caps into its least competitive markets. More recently the company has tried to deny it even has caps, instead insisting these limits are "data thresholds" or "flexible data consumption plans." But when asked last week why Comcast's caps in these markets remain so low in proportion to rising Comcast speeds (and prices), Comcast engineer and vice president of Internet services Jason Livingood candidly admitted on Twitterthat the decision to impose caps was a business one, not one dictated by network engineering:

- Read more at TechDirt