Leaked Comcast Docs Confirm What Everybody Knew: Broadband Usage Caps Are About Profit, Not Congestion

from the you're-bad-at-bullshit dept

For many years the broadband industry relentlessly argued that broadband usage caps were necessary to protect networks from congestion. Unless ISPs were allowed to meter broadband usage, we were told, the rise in Internet video would clog the world’s tubes, resulting in a mammoth network apocalypse known as the exaflood. Years later, with the exaflood debunked as fear mongering nonsense and most engineers pointing out that caps don’t really fix congestion anyway, the broadband industry was forced to admit half of the obvious: that broadband usage caps weren’t about congestion.

Still, as the nation’s biggest ISP and current leading proponent of the “necessity” of usage caps, Comcast has tried to tap dance around this fact. Until now. On the heels of the news that Comcast was expanding its usage caps and overage fees yet again, an employee leaked Comcast’s talking points about caps to 4Chan and Reddit. The six-page support document confirms what everybody already knew; namely that usage caps are about raising rates to protect legacy TV revenues, not about congestion. Employees are told:

? Do say: “Fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers.”

? Don’t say: “The program is about congestion management.” (It is not.)

Yes, as Comcast has shifted away from the congestion excuse it has tried to argue that imposing a glorified rate hike on all of its users is somehow about…fairness. Under Comcast’s new proposal, customers face a usage cap of 300 GB a month, after which they pay $10 per each 50 GB consumed. Users also have the option of paying $30 to $35 to return their connection to its original, unlimited status. Of course nobody under the proposal pays less, and understandably, users suddenly forced to pay $30 to $35 more for the same connection they had yesterday aren’t seeing the fairness.

The document also reiterates Comcast’s frequent insistence that these aren’t “usage caps,” they’re “flexible data plans.” Employees are told:

? Do say: “Data usage plan”

? Don’t say: “Data Cap” (This is not a cap. We do not limit a customer’s use of the Internet it any way at or above 300 GB)”

Comcast was already quite literally the least liked company in the country thanks to abysmal customer service. Now, despite breathless proclamations that it’s trying to renovate its public image, the cable giant apparently thinks it’s a good idea to not only raise rates, but insult its customers’ collective intelligence. Of course when you don’t have any meaningful competition you can do pretty much whatever you’d like — something that Comcast is increasingly making abundantly clear.

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Companies: comcast

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Comments on “Leaked Comcast Docs Confirm What Everybody Knew: Broadband Usage Caps Are About Profit, Not Congestion”

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23 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But there is some good news

Colorado Residents Vote to Bypass Protectionist State Broadband Laws

Colorado Voters Abolish Ban on Government-Owned Broadband

Wow, the people actually being able to overturn corporate written laws? Practically unheard of and very encouraging. Most of the time business interests are very effective at getting the laws they want and once those laws are passed it’s very very difficult to change them (ie: look at copy protection laws/lengths and taxicab medallion laws among many others). Hopefully this becomes a trend … (I can see business interests are afraid).

With respect to the TPP

Mass Mobilization To Stop The TPP Announced

While this may or may not work it’s nice to see more and more people participating in the legislative process. Encouraging and if it keeps happening more and more eventually these issues will become more and more difficult for the corrupt mainstream media to keep most everyone uninformed about and public pressure (in opposed to business pressure) will have a greater impact on our laws.

Charles Wegrzyn (profile) says:

Data Caps...from a historical perspective...bunk!

Does anyone see the equivalence between data caps today and how telephone service used to be sold? You bought it by the minute! It is the same crap today as it was yesterday. It is only grab for money!

As soon as Verizon FiOS starts I’ll work to convince my town (in MA) to build out its own network. It isn’t all that difficult.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Data Caps...from a historical perspective...bunk!

With landline phones, you were never charged for answering a call (or for making local calls—the line I used for internet was busy for 700+ hours per month). With cellphones, you can avoid paying for airtime by choosing not to answer. But you have no ability to reject an internet packet.

nonsense says:

Re: Re: Data Caps...from a historical perspective...bunk!

Perhaps you remember it as such, but many places, (especially non-US), did charge by the minute. Some phones actually had a rolling-clock usage meter on them.

I believe you are pointing to long distance, yes. But believe it or not, plenty of networks have used the ‘by minute’ technique with great success. To them, for awhile, then stopped because of every reason.

Rekrul says:

Every Comcast customer in those areas should call Comcast and tell them that if the caps are about fairness, then they should get a reduction in their bills for using less. As one user on another site suggested, since Comcast has priced 50GB at $10, then users should only be charged $10 for every 50GB they consume. If a user only uses 20GB, they should only pay $10 that month.

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