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.