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Netflix and Comcast will be available on the same cable box later this year, but Netflix video will still count against Comcast data caps. Netflix's deal to get its online video on Comcast's X1 set-top boxes alongside traditional cable TV channels was reported earlier this month by Recode, with the companies saying they "have much work to do before the service will be available to consumers later this year." The deal raised questions about whether Netflix would be exempt from Comcast data caps, but it has already been decided. A Comcast spokesperson answered "yes" when asked if Netflix will continue counting against data caps after being integrated into Comcast cable boxes. "All data that flows over the public Internet (which includes Netflix) counts toward a customer’s monthly data usage," Comcast told Ars today. Comcast imposes 1TB monthly caps in portions of its territory, with overage fees ranging from $10 to $200 a month unless customers pay an extra $50 for unlimited data. View the full article
As the world changes and the Internet evolves, so do we. That’s why we are making a major change to our Internet data trials and moving to a terabyte data plan in all of our trial markets. A terabyte is an enormous amount of data. It’s far more than most of our customers will ever use in a month. Today, more than 99 percent of our customers do not come close to using a terabyte. Our typical customer uses only about 60 gigabytes of data in a month – that’s far less than a terabyte (in fact, 940 gigabytes less), or less than six percent of a terabyte. In our trials, we have experimented with different offers, listened to feedback, and learned a lot. That is what we said we would do when we launched our trials four years ago – analyze and assess our customers' reaction to the data plans, including being open to increasing them over time. We have learned that our customers want the peace of mind to stream, surf, game, download, or do whatever they want online. 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. What can you do with a terabyte? A whole lot. You can stream about 700 hours of HD video, play 12,000 hours of online games, and download 60,000 high-res photos in a month. We know that data plans can be confusing, and we want to keep this simple. So here’s what’s happening: All of the data plans in our trial markets will move from a 300 gigabyte data plan to a terabyte by June 1st, regardless of the speed. For the very tiny portion of our customer super users (less than 1 percent of our customer base) who want more than a terabyte, they can sign up for an unlimited plan for an additional $50 a month, or they have the option to purchase additional buckets of 50 gigabytes of data for $10 each. We’ll continue to provide easy access to a data usage meter for all of our customers. We’ve always said that we’d look carefully at the feedback from our trials, continue to evolve our offers, and listen to our customers. We’re currently evaluating our plans to roll this out in other markets, we’ll keep listening – and we'll be open to making further changes in the future to deliver the best high-speed data service to our customers. Stream, tweet, post, game, or watch whatever you want online … and enjoy it all carefree. Source: Comcast Voices
DSLReports has received information confirming that Cox Communications will be testing overage fees this summer ahead of a potential nationwide deployment. A Cox insider familiar with the cable operator's network management practices says that customers in the company's Cleveland, Ohio market will be informed on May 19 that they'll soon be facing overage fees of $10 for every 50 GB over their usage cap they travel. From June to September, Cox customers in Cleveland will have their "overage" usage tallied on their bills, but users initially won't be charged. Instead, they'll see the estimated overage fee and an accompanying credit. They'll face the real charges starting in October, according to the insider. A draft customer support script obtained exclusively by DSLReports states that this lead-in period will "give customers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their typical data usage and take action, such as secure their WiFi network or change service plans, if they exceed their limit." View the full article
A well-placed source in Washington, D.C. with knowledge of the matter tells Stop the Cap! the Federal Communications Commission is prepared to take a hard look at the issue of Internet data caps and usage-based billing if a major cable operator like Comcast imposes usage allowances on its broadband customers nationwide. Comcast introduced its usage cap market trial in Nashville, Tenn. in 2012 but gradually expanded it to include Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama; Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, Mississippi; Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona. "Two and a half-years is exceptionally long for a "market trial," and we expected Comcast would avoid creating an issue for regulators by drawing attention to the data cap issue during its attempted merger with Time Warner Cable," said our source. "Now that the merger is off, there is growing expectation Comcast will make a decision about its "data usage plans" soon." View the full article