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Comcast could bring back monthly data caps within next five years

The move could affect a large number of consumers who have shifted their TV viewing habits online -- using services like Netflix and Hulu.
By Ananth Baliga   |   May 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/upi/UPI-8611400167070/2014/1/0134100365037f0323e61744a7e88d85/Comcast-could-bring-back-monthly-data-caps-within-next-five-years.jpg
NEW YORK, May 15 (UPI) -- Comcast said it could begin capping monthly data usage for all customers but does not expect most subscribers to exceed these bandwidth caps.

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said that people who use more data should pay more and those who use less data should not have to pay as much. Cohen, while speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, said that the company will entirely move to a "usage-based billing model" in the next five years.

"I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan," Cohen said.

Comcast is currently implementing pilot projects in different parts of the country to test this new model. In one of the pilots, consumers are offered different buckets that combine download speeds with bandwidth caps. The higher the broadband speed higher the data cap.

Another pilot project provides users with a 300 GB data plan, and charges $10 for every 50 GB of data used thereafter. Comcast is also offering a low-usage plan where users will be given 5 GB of data a month and subscribers who stay below the cap will get $5 credit per month. Users who exceed 5 GB will have to pay $1 per GB of data used.

Comcast is currently seeking approval for a $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable from the FCC and Justice Department, which will see it have 35 percent of the broadband market. Time Warner already has 30 GB usage plans that are similar to Comcast's flexible-data offering.

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Topics: David Cohen
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