Comcast Data Caps and anti-competitive practices

I recently received a letter from Comcast regarding my internet service. It turns out that they are now putting data caps on the residents in my area.

I should point out that they are the only ISP I could find in my area. Before we moved I had to make sure that there was at least one high speed internet service provider since I worked from home, I found Comcast serviced this area and said okay we can move and if I have to I will use them. I kept looking to see if there was anything that I could use instead of them but I eventually resigned myself to the idea that I was stuck with Comcast. I told myself it wasn’t a huge deal because I will only have to deal with their customer service when there was a problem. I could get decent speeds of internet so I can work from home just fine.

Now the only service provider in my area will be implementing data caps. The letter I received is worded very deceivingly as well. “Comcast will trial a new monthly data plan in this area, which will increase the amount of data included in your XFINITY Internet Service to 300 Gigabytes (GB) and provide more choice and flexibility.” The way they phrase it makes it sound like a good thing. This is why when Kim read it she didn’t think anything of it, to me the letter is a bold face lie. They aren’t increasing anything they are just limiting me and charging me more when I go over that.

Now 300 Gigs sounds like a lot or more than enough but for me and most of the younger generation it is not. A lot of people are starting to go without cable (unplugged) and instead use Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and any other streaming service. Netflix alone uses 2-3 gigs an hour when you watch something. Put that on top of regular usage of computers with updates, mobile phones downloading updates and applications, and online gaming you end up going over the cap very quickly. My average usage is between 550-700 Gigs a month, and with the overage charges that will put me at an extra 45-80 dollars a month on just the extra charges. Top that with a busy work month and that will put me at about 850 gigs and then I have to pay well over $200 total for internet.

I think there are two things happening here, they are trying to nickel and dime their customers who can’t get service from anyone else and they are also trying to push people to watch cable instead of stream online. Since Comcast is NBC if you don’t watch cable then it hurts them in every area of their company. When considering all the streaming services out there and how cheap they are compared to cable it’s not a reach to think that the data caps and anti-competitive. I hope that the data caps aren’t the start to a more fragmented internet connection. I really hope that we don’t have to start paying extra to get access to all parts, “if you want email ports to be opened it will be an extra $5 a month. If you want gaming ports to be opened it will be an extra $7 a month.”

If your ISP starts to cap your data I urge you to switch providers if you have the ability. The second there is a flyer in my mailbox that says there is another service provider in my area I will be switching instantly. If I had any other option I would switch or even cancel my account with Comcast but since I need a good connection to work from home I will just have to switch from Comcast residential internet to (unfortunately) Comcast business internet.

Here is the email version of the letter I received. XFINITY Email

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