Value subtraction

, which has amazingly bad PR chops, has done it again. Comcast to Place a Cap on Internet Downloads, headlines the NYTimes story. An excerpt:

  Until now, Comcast had not defined excessive use, but it had contacted customers who were using the heaviest amount of broadband and asked them to curb usage. Most do so willingly, the company said. The ones who do not curb their usage receive a second notice and risk having their accounts terminated.

  Although the 250 gigabyte cap is now specified, users who exceed that amount will not have their access switched off immediately, nor will they be charged for excessive use. Instead, the customers may be contacted by Comcast and notified of the cap. The company did not say how 250 gigabytes was selected.

  According to Comcast, a customer would have to download 62,500 songs or 125 standard-definition movies a month to exceed the caps,

So then, why bother? Why give customers one more reason not to use Comcast?

For what it’s worth, at our apartment near Boston I have a choice of Comcast, RCN and Verizon FiOS. I use FiOS because I get 20Mb of symmetrical service from a fiber optic line to the house, minimal technical restriction (they block port 80, but so does everybody) and rock-solid service. Far as I know Verizon doesn’t care how much data moves in either direction from my house. Comcast doesn’t compete with that. At least not yet.

All they did with this move is give me one more reason not to switch.

8 comments

  1. Tom’s avatar

    Currently Earthlink does not block port 80.

  2. Flip’s avatar

    “So then, why bother? Why give customers one more reason not to use Comcast?”

    They have been under fire for not having a published cap while turning off customers who have gone over the secret cap. So now they are publishing it.

  3. Mike Warot’s avatar

    I don’t like the hypocrisy inherent in saying “unlimited” when they really mean “a big number we’re not willing to commit to”.

    I’m a Comcast customer at home, and while it’s not unlimited, now I know what the limit is, and I’ll be far less afraid of bumping into it. This gives me some freedom that I didn’t have before, and that’s a good thing.

    Business has to make money, and metered internet is a fair way to do it, as long is it’s transparent. So for $50/month or so I get to have a continuous flow of 750,000 bits/second. More than enough to do video streaming to someone else in the world.

    My 1993 prediction published in Boardwatch is a bit late, and a bit overpriced, but we’re there. We can do full time video over the net for $20 (with inflation) per month. Whoooooo Hoooo!

  4. Everett’s avatar

    While anecdotal (Google) evidence suggests that this is not universally the case, Comcast does not block port 80 for my home IP.

  5. Gregory Y’s avatar

    Lucky are those who have a choice. Where I am, the Comcast is the only broadband option.

  6. Max’s avatar

    I’ve been a comcast customer for years now, they don’t block port 80 (or port 25 inbound). Having said that they charge a lot, are slower than fios, and have pretty bad customer service

  7. Tom’s avatar

    My guess is that they want to compete with FIOS and ultimately when are consistently using large amounts (which their infrastructure might not support as well as Verizon’s) they want to be the low cost / low bandwidth competitor.

  8. home value report’s avatar

    I’ve got cox cable with no funny business.

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