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Comcast Expands Regional Tests With Usage Based Pricing For Internet Access

Comcast logo Your monthly Internet bill could get a lot higher. Since many consumers have cancelled cable TV and shifted their television usage to streaming, Comcast is exploring alternative pricing for Internet access. The ABC Network affiliate in Boston, WCVB-TV, explained why Comcast tests usage-based pricing for Internet access:

"... the company lost 48,000 cable customers in its just-reported third quarter while adding 320,000 Internet customers. Revenue rose 8.3 percent to $18.7 billion in the July-September period, while net income dropped 23 percent to $2 billion because of a tax gain from last year."

Some of the regional Internet access pricing Comcast is testing:

"[In August 2012], it capped monthly data use for Nashville, Tennessee, customers at 300 GB; going over the limit cost $10 for every 50 GB. The company launched a similar plan in Tucson, Arizona, that October - you got 300 GB for a base plan, 600 GB if you signed up for a faster and more expensive connection.By December 2013, Comcast had rolled out the Nashville system to Atlanta and a handful of smaller markets, many in the South. It also offered a slow Internet plan of 3 megabits per second that gave you a $5 credit if you used 5GB or less each month, and charged you $1 for each gigabyte of data over 5 GB. This month, Comcast added a tweak as it expanded the cap into Florida: Customers can now pay an additional $30 a month for unlimited data. (In Atlanta, it's $35 a month.) At this point, roughly 12 percent of Comcast territory is subject to "usage-based pricing..."

In 2014, Comcast switched the wireless routers of 50,000 Houston-area XFINITY WiFi home users to public WiFi hotspots. Earlier this year, the company attempted to buy Time Warner Cable. Comcast and other large corporate Internet service providers have both lobbied against net neutrality, and lobbied for local laws in 19 states that limit competition by preventing cities and towns from forming their own municipal or community-run broadband Internet providers. So, they are against regulation except when it prevents cmpetition; all to keep prices high.

The Internet access data caps seems targeted at consumers who stream television and cable shows. In many cities and towns, Comcast is the only high-speed Internet service provider, so there are no competitive pressures to keep prices low.

What are your opinions of data caps on Internet usage?


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