Comcast Says It's Going To Slap All Of Its Customers With Data Caps, Makes Half-Hearted Attempt To Walk Back Earlier Statements When Backlash Kicks In

from the what-are-you-going-to-do?-go-without?-HAHAHAHAHA dept

Comcast, perhaps feeling a bit too confident about its chances to swallow up Time Warner Cable, is talking about rolling out data caps to all of its subscribers. It had, up to this point, only "offered" it in certain areas on a "trial basis." Customers hated it, of course, but that's not really what Comcast was gauging with its trials. It was only interested in seeing a) how profitable it was and b) whether that profit would offset losses caused by the few customers lucky enough to have options.

With a merger on the line, Cohen chose his words very carefully, responding to a rather dancing, ambiguous question by industry analyst Craig Moffett (long an avid supporter of usage caps, and, apparently, "variabilization") with some dancing ambiguity of his own:

Moffett: Bottom line is, 5 years, 10 years from now, do you think that we will be in a model where the Internet is fully variablized, or usage is fully variablized, or at least variablized to the extent that most people are selecting from a reasonably large number of usage plans that match their usage to their price?

Cohen: I actually think the answer to that is, no. I would say, if you made me predict today, and I don't want to get myself in any trouble, if you made me predict today, I would predict that in 5 years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.

But 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 set 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. And that number may be 350 -- that may be 350 gig a month today, it might be 500 gig a month in five years, but it will never -- I don't think we will want to be in a model where it is fully variablized and 80% of our customers are implicated by usage-based billing and are all buying different packets of usage.
As Karl Bode points out, it's fun to watch Cohen pretend that Comcast isn't eventually going to cap everyone. If the merger goes through, you can be sure former Time Warner customers will be experimented on and eventually capped as well. But, hey, it's not really a monopoly because the two companies don't compete head-to-head, as someone at the Washington Post claimed in defense of the merger. Instead, it's more customers being screwed by the same company's lousy idea.

Surely the contingent that declares "vote with your wallet" during these sorts of announcements has dwindled to near zero at this point. For most of the country's population, the choice is that or DSL, the offering AT&T and others can't wait to rid themselves of. And it's not like other companies won't initiate their own caps once Comcast puts its limits in place. If one big player is doing it, then everyone can hop on the money train without shedding a ton of customers. In an inversion of the "if everyone's special..." argument, the cable companies will operate under the "if everyone's a crappy service provider, then no one's a crappy service provider" motto.

With this in place -- along with the pay-for-play internet -- Comcast can collect on its customers' Netflix addiction on both ends. The easy money will now be even easier, and no expense will be spared to ensure infrastructure upgrades and better customer service the lousy, pricy caps are advertised using only the shiniest junk mail and the cheeriest TV spots. Or, in fact, why even bother advertising? Incestuous duopolies and straight-up "only game in town" structuring means never having to talk someone into a shitty plan.

Even if Comcast isn't granted its monopoly, its willingness to deploy unpopular usage caps will only encourage Time Warner to speed up its roll-out of the same terrible plans. At this point, the biggest players are hardly putting any energy into maintaining the farcical facade of "network congestion." After all, Netflix chews up a ton of bandwidth, and Comcast has just bumped the speed at which this gets "used up" in exchange for an untold amount of money. If congestion was actually a problem, data hogs like streaming services would either be priced out of the market or more of the market would already be laboring under restrictive caps. But Comcast says "Use more internet!" -- just as long as it gets a larger cut of the action.

There's zero benefit for the consumer.
What companies like Comcast are doing is simply taking current, already-expensive flat-rate plans and pricing -- and affixing usage caps and overage fees on them, making existing product immeasurably more expensive. Under that model, everybody pays more -- no matter what. The industry claims they're just "experimenting" with "creative pricing," but the end result is usually just a rate hike wearing lipstick and a dress.
To extend the metaphor, Comcast's cap plan is like a hooker putting an egg timer on the nightstand and charging you every time she flips it over -- all the while telling you she's just "variabilizing" your sexual experience. And as she walks out the door with a handful of "overage fees," she points out that her service isn't really that restrictive because most of her customers "never achieve orgasm."

Now, Comcast has since made a half-assed retraction of these statements, which doesn't change anything for the thousands of users in uncompetitive Southern markets that are still dealing with data caps. Karl Bode does a great job taking apart the PR speak hastily assembled in the wake of its earlier remarks. Here's Comcast:
We have been trialing a few flexible data consumption plans, including a plan that enables customers who wanted to use more data be given the option to pay more to do so, and a plan for those who use less data the option to save some money. We decided to implement these trials to learn what our customers’ reaction is to what we think are reasonable data consumption plans.
And here's Bode:
Except as we noted the other day, Comcast knows full well what the consumer reaction to these plans is: they hate them. The company's 300 GB offer simply puts pricey overage fees on top of already-steep flat-rate pricing, and their other plan offers users a small $5 discount off flat-rate pricing if they agree to a 5 GB usage cap. Comcast isn't testing whether consumers like caps, they're testing how they can market usage caps in such a way that sees the minimal amount of user revolt.
While it's truly wonderful that Comcast will give customers the "option" to pay more for using more data, most customers would just rather have uncapped connections or data caps high enough that they don't need to cut the kids off Netflix mid-month. Add to that the fact that these caps are wholly reliant on Comcast's unverified measurement of data usage -- along with the fact that Comcast is openly pursuing paychecks from data-heavy services -- and you have the makings of a very profitable "offering." And Comcast has never been coy about preferring larger margins to satisfied customers.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    and Wheeler reckons his ideas on the internet are the right ones? that he'll stop this from happening and that from going on. he's up the gunnels in this shit and there's no chance in hell of him going the 'net neutrality' route. he knew exactly what these companies had in the pipe line to do and is helping in every way he can to make the changes happen and the customers to get screwed! break the bloody monopolies up! introduce some competition and then see what happens to pricing and services!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    Q: What is the average usage of people on your network today?
    A: XFINITY Internet customers' median monthly data usage is 20 - 25 GB per month.

    Statistics 101 - average (mean) is NOT median.

    http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/data-usage-average-network-usage

     

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    Nigel (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 4:27pm

    I live in a 4 block town. Comcast is largely my only option. tThey tried to bait and switch me on an upgrade to the xfinity 30x15 net connection.

    I threatened them, that I, as an IT guy, would start moving folks off of Comcast. The rep I was speaking to laughed at me and said, "no you wont"

    I am at 45 clients moved from Crapcast and counting. So fuck those guys. I can get the same shit service from quest over dsl currently. I would mention other companies but they all seem to renting shit from quest.

    Somewhere I have the fukwits name from Comcast. I will hop back in and post it shortly.
    N.

     

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    Bengie, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:28pm

    Comcast compared to a hooker!

    Made my day :p

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    They're trying to pig out on un-savvy consumers until $79 gigabit becomes so well know that they will have no option but to put their porky gullets on a diet. Last minute piggy-fest, grab it while it's there and stuff it down executives throats while it lasts, cash out, retire with much $$$ and who cares, they got theirs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:59pm

    I suppose I could be on comcasts side. If they want to allow me to pay more to have more than unlimited data It is worth considering. I don't know how you get more than all you can use, but I don't have to worry since that isn't what they are offering.

    I still don't understand why they want to implement caps in an era of too cheap to meter internet access. I guess they thought their network performance and reliability weren't bad enough so they have to layer a complex billing scheme on top based on opaque measurements.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 5:10pm

    And the Sheriff of Nottingham comes 'round to collect more taxes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 5:34pm

    One word on your metaphor extension... Nice.

     

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    Manabi (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 5:35pm

    Re:

    The fees for overages are an absolute joke too. Want to double your usage for a month, for 600GB total? That'll cost you an additional $60 ($10 per 50GB overage.) That's more than the base charge for the Internet portion of my bill is.

    And their data meter is also a joke. I've had 40-50% discrepancies with my router, in Comcast's favor of course. Basically they'll charge you overages based on a magic number generator.

    Why do they want to implement caps? So they can milk more money out of their customers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 5:38pm

    I wonder if the Google Fiber cities are going to start having overpopulation issues? People may start moving to them in droves to get away from the caps.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Comcast knocks $5 off my monthly bill if I agree to only use 5GB a month. However, if I end up using 300GBs, Comcast charges me $10 per 50GB 'data bucket' overages.

    Hmmm, I fail to see how saving $5 a month for 5GB scales with the extra 300GBs I could have for an extra $5 a month. Comcast's pricing structure is completely imbalanced.

    The $5 savings isn't worth the risk of paying an extra $60 on top of my monthly monopoly base price of $100 a month for TV and internet.

    300GB / 50GB = 6
    6 x $10 = $60

    So trying to save $5 ends up costing me $160 a month, because I tried to save $5. What an insane pricing structure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:06pm

    It's amazing how anti-trust laws keep getting aimed at Google for basically doing nothing wrong yet Time Warner Cable and Comcast, that do participate in predatory pricing, anti-competitive behavior (ie: by establishing regional monopolies/avoiding competition between different companies in the same area), and anti-consumer conduct gets away with it. I guess the difference has more to do with who spends more buying politicians (ie: via Campaign contributions, revolving door favors, and back door dealings).

     

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    Whatever, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:26pm

    customers hate it

    He's the interesting thing here: The customers who voice an opinion generally hate it. Those people however generally aren't the majority of users. Most end users don't use anywhere near what the cap is, so they don't have a big opinion. They are more likely to be happy to see that their bill didn't go up, and instead that heavier users will have to pay more than they do for their light usage.

    Reasonable data caps should never be an issue for the large majority of users. So Comcast knows that most of their clients will not have an issue. The vocal minority is something they will have to deal with.

    Google Fiber will in the end face the same issues, but they will resolve it in a different manner: They won't be concerned about the bottom line, and will just pour money in regardless. They are the ultimate deep pocket competitor buying marketshare no matter the cost, and while it's beneficial to the end users for the moment, the long term isn't so certain. If Google actually started to charge what it costs for them to offer service and maintain it, their rates would be much higher, I suspect. Put in a monopoly position if they squeeze the existing players out of a marketplace, there is no reason to assume that they would not implement caps or raise rates significantly to cover their true costs.

     

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    AnonCow, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:31pm

    Sure, fine with me.

    I think Comcast should be able to set any data caps they want, if they are willing to give up their monopoly status in my city.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    In general (not just regarding this subject alone) what we need is more protesting. The problem with protesting is that the people protesting eventually get tired. They have jobs and other things to take care of and if they spend all day protesting they won't be able to take care of themselves. Perhaps one thing we can do is plan a system whereby

    A: Organize it so that people protest in shifts. Find a populated spot and ensure 24/7 protesting with signs and hand out forms informing the public about the issues but have people protest in shifts. If you have enough protesters large numbers of protesters can remain protesting for prolonged periods of time. Try to keep a minimal amount of people protesting at any one time and plan it so that the most number of people are protesting during the most important/visible hours and try to base it on relevant visibility.

    B: have a fund where people that have work and whatnot can fund those that are protesting to provide them with needed supplies.

    C: Instead of just protesting in one location alone try changing the location of protesting based on relevant visibility during various times of days and days of the week. Or put more people in the areas of highest visibility.

    D: Crowdfund a lobbyist. If it's a former politician that's even better because then we can offer politicians that have previously voted for favorable legislation with revolving door favors. Make sure we only crowdfund former politicians that have a record of voting for favorable legislation. If this is considered 'illegal' we can do what the MPAA et al do and use the same loopholes that they use. For instance if there is a two year time limit before a politician leaving office can become a lobbyists we'll keep hiring a politician that has been out of office for two years. Or we can do what current lobbying organizations do, like the MPAA, and we can give them a lobbying position but call it something else.

    (I know none of these are particularly good ideas but I figure they can be thrown out there).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:44pm

    Re:

    err ... I meant to say that I know none of these are particularly new ideas *)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:22pm

    Re:

    It was just a first line barely over minimum wage earning and possibly outsourced 20 something in a shitty call center. Of course they laughed, they don't give a shit. I know, I used to work with those dudes in my early tech days in an outsourcing call center (Stream International). Those kinds of jobs go through so much churn that person was probably gone within 3 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Comcast explained to me that the usage is measured by the cable modem and not by upstream. Whatever your cable modem says your usage was, that's what your usage was.

    Of course, your cable modem probably counts the nearly 200GB in spurious ARP traffic the head-end sends you every month, but you know, what's $40 in overages among friends?

    Of course, you could avoid that by renting their cable modem for $7 a month instead of buying your own. Theirs doesn't count the ARP traffic. How convenient.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:28pm

    Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    Did anyone even think to ask if the customer has any reliable way of verifying their own usage? S/he is supposed to take Comcast's word for it? Comcast will only tell you your limit was over when you get billed for supposed overage?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Google Fiber

    I truly hope that in Google Fiber cities, they kick of their efforts with a slide in the presentation that says:

    Goal: Convert 100% of Comcast/Time Warner/Whatever customers to Google Fiber.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Google Fiber

    That would certainly be ridiculously easy, the current major ISP's have poisoned their reputations, and treated their customers so badly, that all Google Fiber would have to do to manage something like that is just make their service available in the area.

     

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    techflaws (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 10:13pm

    Re: customers hate it

    Most end users don't use anywhere near what the cap is
    [Citation needed]

     

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    Whatever, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re: customers hate it

     

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    Darth Colonel Sanders, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:36pm

    Take that!

    It's a customer b*tchslap to Commiecast.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:58pm

    Re:

    No, this is more like Edison trying to kill off Hollywood.

    The funny thing is, Comcast have not learned the lesson here.

     

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    Manabi (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 12:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, I do rent their modem (I've had to replace it so often, I'm scared to buy one of my own). So that wouldn't explain it either.

    And in my case two months were off by over 100GB, of a 300GB quota. It was so bad, I was starting to wonder if someone had somehow spoofed my modem's MAC address and was stealing service. But I had to change modems in September, and the overages occurred before and after both, making that theory less likely.

    Personally I still feel it's just making shit up.

    Oh, and let's not forget the 2-3 months of the bandwidth meter failing to load data 99% of the time.

     

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    Manabi (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 1:05am

    Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    Comcast is hardly an unbiased source on this, and I've never seen them provide anonymized data for others to verify their claims. They also like to switch between mean, median and average in their usage claims (they seem to use them almost interchangeably, which is incorrect, they're different things), so it's hard to really tell if they have increased over time at all, much less in sync with bandwidth usage (like the rise of streaming video).

    So while it may be true that most people don't get near their cap, that link isn't proof of anything beyond "Comcast is using this to justify their data caps".

     

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    Whatever, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    The point is only that, even if they are wildly conservative and people use on average twice what they claim, that is still far below the cap they propose. So for many users, any cap would be about meaningless, thus they are unlikely to complain about it. I would hazard a guess to say that low bandwidth users would likely be happy to think that any price increase because of heavy use is being passed on to those people who use it.

    Yes, it part of their justification, but it also appears to be (gasp) true.

     

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    PaulT (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    Plus, that's the usage *now*. There's plenty on the horizon that could massively increase the average household's usage (e.g. Playstation Now, move to 4K streaming video, general move toward Netflix and other services rather than standard TV/cable). Sure, this will always be offset by people who only browse email occasionally or download Kindle books rather than movies, but there's plenty of people who will move to the top end of that cap rather swiftly.

    Not a problem if you're dealing with a competitive company that's funnelling revenue into improving infrastructure for future expansion. This conversation is happening because they don't appear to have been doing that, and there's nothing in the current proposals that indicates it will happen in the future.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:44am

    Re: Take that!

    Batchslap? How many slaps is that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 2:24am

    A company provides both cable T.V. and broadband. Is the use of caps being driven by a desire to protect or replace cable subscription income?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:16am

    Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    Remedial Statistics: mean and median are BOTH type of averages (as is mode). To argue that average equates to the one you want it to is just dishonest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:19am

    The datacaps are comcast's attack on cord cutters

    No one said it here, but Comcast's datacaps are also a backdoor attack on the cord cutter trend.

    Step #1) Implement data caps, get all your competitors to do the same thing after seeing how much money there is in it.

    Step #2) Make sure those data caps are set arbitrarily low so that they make you more money.

    Step #3) Sell cable to cord cutters to arguing that with overage fees for using too much bandwidth that an expensive cable subscription would be cheaper than constant overage fees.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:28am

    But I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage…

    So then, what's the point of the plan if it isn't actually used?

     

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    AJ, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    Fair is Fair...

    If they charge for overages, shouldn't I get a refund or be charged less for being under? Only seems fair if they want to charge by the usage. Just like the water company in Panama City... you have a flat fee, unless you use more than a certain amount, but if I use less, I don't get a refund.

    Would be interesting to see how the city would react if i put a water tank on my property, and filled it on the 1st of every month with the exact amount of gallons I'm allotted.

    You know....You could do the same with internet if you have more than one carrier available... use one up to the cap and switch over to the other. have both DSL and cable, or you could run them at the same time... put your media server on one, and everything else on another... I could do that in my area, but not everyone can.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    Those statistics are based on past performance (if they are even remotely close to reality and not made up horseshit).

    Will Comcast commit to indefinitely raising the caps so that the large majority of their users don't hit them? Unlikely.

    Just think, what if they put the caps in 10 years ago? We didn't have Youtube then. Netflix existed, but it was all DVD-by-mail then. Streaming music services were in their infancy with almost no user base. Steam was just getting off the ground as well and there weren't many games going to digital distribution. What was the average usage back then? Couple hundred MBs a month, if that? Now even going by that link, 10 years later, it's 2 or 3 orders of magnitude greater.

    Caps by their very nature inhibit innovation, as it adds barriers to new services, and it adds a mental transaction cost on the users side if they have to worry about going over.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    +1 feature request for the "sad but true" button.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    Re: The datacaps are comcast's attack on cord cutters

    I cut the cord years ago, not only did it save me money, but it changed my media consumption altogether. Once I cut the cord, I realized that I could stuff what I actually wanted to watch in a few hours a week. I made my media consumption efficient, and found that I could get most of what I wanted for free or near free. Not only do I not want cable it really wouldn't matter what they did to try and get me back.... i hope others are the same.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i will report on a slightly related situation:
    i *was* (emphasis on 'was') a SamKnows household, where they provided their router to us and 'measured' the speeds we were getting through our craptastic DSL provider...
    (which -OF COURSE, ONLY in amerika!- i have ZERO CHOICE of an ISP... oh wait, i DO have a choice: either their shitty DSL, or, a 2400 baud dialup, or, um, NOTHING...)
    i *was* pretty big on these guys efforts, UNTIL i started noticing something strange... they would send a monthly email which would have a (crappy) graph showing my download speeds over the course of the previous month...
    one of the weird things was, how consistently flat it was, showing about 3Mbs over the whole month, when i knew we had problems...
    *THEN* we had some outage problems, and i *just happened* to notice the next months graph was showing we had available service at regular speeds during a time period where I KNEW we did not have DSL service, PERIOD...
    i wrote them an email saying, 'heh, what gives, i KNOW we did not have available service during this week or two, but that is NOT reflected in the graph which shows full speed, no interruptions...'
    they write back that it is because they may take a 'sample' at some point and call *that* the speed for that day/week/whatever... ? ? ? (there was some other technical gobbledygook that i didn't realize the logic-fail until sometime afterwards...)
    i wrote back and say 'bullshit', if you are NOT measuring my speed consistently and using a 'sample' that obscures several weeks of ABSOLUTE OUTAGE, then it is either a flawed methodology, or it is PURELY BULLSHIT window dressing for the ISP's...
    they wrote back some lame shit i didn't even bother to respond to; but it sure did put me on notice that i think SamKnows is either a scam, or an industry front to polish their turds for them...
    so-o-o-o, go down the road a couple months after intermittent problems with connectivity, and get SamKnows reports that do NOT reflect what our service is being, which is shitty...
    gets to the point where it is essentially not working at all, and put in service call; idiot tech support droid will not listen when i tell him i think it is their modem, and has me do for the tenth time what i've done already, and -of course- does not fix the problem...
    get field tech out, and within 10 seconds of entering house and seeing modem lights, says, your modem is shot... no shit... replaces modem and DSL works fine... (GREAT field tech, by the way) in fact, replaces it with a combo modem/wireless router, so I TAKE THE SamKnows MODEM COMPLETELY OUT OF THE LOOP SITTING IN A DRAWER DEAD AS A DOORNAIL...
    BUT, SamKnows -even with THEIR ROUTER NOT CONNECTED reports i'm having normal connection and speeds WHEN THEIR ROUTER IS NOT EVEN HOOKED UP, and during a period of time THE PHONE LINE WAS NOT CONNECTED...
    now, not 2-3 days after this, we get a storm and a lightning strike not 100 feet from the house (which struck a live oak which afterwards looked like it had been raked down the trunk by a huge bear), and blew up laptop, blew out new modem, blew out Ethernet port on desktop, and some other stuff...
    service was OUT/DEAD/NOTHING for about 3-4 days before the tech could get back out, BUT SamKnows report says we had complete connection and normal speeds during that outage ! ! !
    now, it appears SamKnows finally knew, because they stopped sending me reports... didn't send an email saying, 'hey, what's up, we aren't getting any more readings from you, is the router broken, etc ?' NOTHING like that, just stopped sending reports...
    VERY SUSPICIOUS SamKnows was/is a scam either to extort money out of ISPs, or simply as their lapdog to ERRONEOUSLY report connections and speeds WRONGLY to benefit the ISP's stats...
    fuckers

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    More importantly - while some high bandwidth services for download & streaming existed, they could make the excuse that they needed to cap, block & shape traffic due to illegal activity. Sure, some people were exceeding their caps, but it was all illegal piracy so who cares? Hell, most people only used one PC to access their content and most people didn't use those as their primary entertainment device.

    Now, people are increasing their streaming, downloading and other services by not only accessing perfectly legal service that they also pay for - but they're doing so on multiple devices. It's no longer one kid on one PC accessing things in his bedroom. It's an entire family streaming multiple HD channels while they game & listen to music and use video chat services - all at once, all bandwidth intensive.

    You can argue that most aren't quite at that stage yet, but it's becoming more common... and every one of those services is perfectly legal & paid for. Hopefully enough people will realise the truth rather than being fooled into thinking it's Netflix's fault.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Anything to fuck the consumer over and make more money without providing a better service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    Exactly. That's the problem with their arguments. They try to argue from both sides of the fence. So which is it? Are the majority of users not using the bandwidth granted to them or are the users using so much bandwidth that it is causing network major congestion problems? It can't be both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    The difference is Google actually has a reputation left to protect. The big ISPs are living in just barely intact glass houses as far as reputation goes; if /anything/ thats not them shows up as significant competition, they lose everything because the only way they keep their hold on everything is by being the only one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:24am

    Data Caps Are Meant To Steer Viewers To Cable Television Channels

    What it comes down to is that Comcast deeply wants to sell cable television. Around the margins that means that they want to allocate the 99th television channel on the hundred-channel coaxial cable segment which goes down a residential street to some home shopping network selling lowest-common-denominator junk, rather than allocating that channel to additional internet capacity. If you assume that there are only ten houses on the street, pulling out ten channels for internet use, one for each house, would still leave ninety for broadcast, and the 90-99th channels would be things no one on the street was watching anyway. H'mm... that's almost like a Zen koan, the sound of one hand clapping, or whatever.

    Of course, above the level of the local loop, economies of scale crank in, the same as they would for a telephone network. The customer's pro-rata share of upstream cables becomes small compared to the distance between houses.

    Comcast's attitude about high-bandwidth internet is that it is for watching video, which to them, means television shows, or movies, or sports, and that tends to cannibalize their existing cable television market. Cable television executives simply cannot grasp the idea of someone pulling down a set of videos of lectures on, say, Calculus of Variations or Partial Differential Equations, from MIT or Caltech. Of course, the next step up is bi-directional communication, participating in a class rather than merely watching videos. The executives find this threatening, because they don't even have the pre-requisites of the pre-requisites for such a course. They are in no position to decide which school's course the viewer should watch. Their demand to make the product sufficiently comprehensible that they can buy and sell it forces them to go for the lowest-common-denominator.

    The cable television executives' definition of high-value product is football games. Everyone in the city is supposed to sit and watch the same football game at the same time. In some cases there are direct linkages-- media moguls who also own football teams. The subject of shared interest is a game which is played most exuberantly by six-year-olds, a game which does not really call upon the mental qualities of adults.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Agent Fraggle, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    You're not too far off in your prediction. Take the modest city of Chattanooga, TN. They have set up a municipal Internet that provides the fastest connection in the country (rivaling even Korea's speeds) at 1G per second. The city owns the lines they installed. And guess what? They sure as hell keep up on them because it's proving revitalizing to their city's economy. Many tech companies and businesses have flocked there since they rolled it out. Abandoned warehouse space has been replaced with restaurants and offices.

    Let this be a lesson to the municipalities that are allowing the monopolies to hold firm in exchange for pocket cash: the real money lies in investment in your city's future. Taking the money now in exchange for impeding progress is only going to suffocate your budgets and keep the townsfolk in the dark ages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    Median and mode are NOT ANY type average. They are, as is mean, measures of centrality. However, we explicitly give them names different from "mean" (which is the THE average) because they are different, i.e., NOT averages.

    That was the point of the original remark...Comcast claims to be answering a question about the mean by citing the median. In statistics, that's called "a lie."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    What we really need is something like competition. Right now, there is none (or reasonably close to none) in most markets that I can see. Personally, there is exactly 1 ISP that offers service to my home: Comcast.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    You're wrong. Unless Statistics have completely changed since my college days (which I serious doubt), Mean, median, and mode are all three types of averages. Which is why three different competitors can claim "on average, customers choice us more..." Might I suggest you choose a better school?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    Normal people think "average" is synonymous with "mean". When companies use the word "average" to mean anything else, they're lying (as in being intentionally deceptive). It's an example of how you can lie without saying anything that is technically untrue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    You're lucky! I live in a major metropolitan area, but there is no DSL service that runs to my home at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Hukk, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:40am

    posted this on G+ - F you and your ads then bitches

    well I suppose this could be bad news for all those internet ads, if I have to pay for the bandwidth to watch them when I don't want them, I suppose a class-action lawsuit should be in order to put a cease and desist on the internet ads. Cause I ain't paying for you to use my bandwidth you ad-hats. Worst case is, I go fishing more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    Take your Data Caps and shove them where the sun won't shine Mr. ISP !!!
    Do this to us in Southern Maine and I hope that people would then all be willing to donate money for the setup of a real public network so we can tell the Slime Warner where to go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Comcast compared to a hooker!

    I think it is very unfair to hookers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 20th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    I was shocked to find out that my usage was nearing 500GB per month.

    I use online services (primarily Netflix) rather than any TV services, but I apparently exceed their average number in the first three days of each month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Brandon Rinebold, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    No, but it is generally closer to what people actually want to know when they ask that question. Most people want an accurate measure of reasonable expectation when they ask for average (AKA what the average or 'normal' person can expect to see)not the actual statistical average.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Fair is Fair...

    I never understood why they don't just charge a fixed amount per GB.

    That way it's simple, use more and pay more, use less and pay less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CC Won't Even Answer Honestly...

    I don't think "normal" people even know what "mean" means. Just because your "average" person doesn't know about other types of averages other than mean, doesn't make them wrong.

    From the Wikipedia article on "average":
    In colloquial language average usually refers to the sum of a list of numbers divided by the size of the list, in other words the arithmetic mean. However, the word "average" can be used to refer to the median, the mode, or some other central or typical value. In statistics, these are all known as measures of central tendency. Thus the concept of an average can be extended in various ways in mathematics, but in those contexts it is usually referred to as a mean (for example the mean of a function).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Corporate America had best wake up, what are they going to do with all that paper when it is worthless. Greed I at least understand, no excuse what so ever for avarice though. Apple has so much liquidity they are burning money looking for the next "cool" thing. Now that ComcasT/Xfinity requires a cable box for each television in the house, there is only one television in our house with cable television, the other two are used for monitors. Internet/Television is the only extra bill that hits me every month now, and my PCs are quite useful without a home internet connection. An HD antenna is next on my list for the other two television sets. About time to really cut the cord. Said goodbye to the cell phone over a year ago and have really missed it only once. Glad there are still a few payphones out there to save me the drive.
    Saying goodbye to ComcasT/Xfinity is looking sweeter by the day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 9:35pm

    Re: Re: Fair is Fair...

    I never understood why they don't just charge a fixed amount per GB.

    That way it's simple, use more and pay more, use less and pay less.


    If your goal is to get people to stop using the internet and kill off any chance of new streaming services, that is a great idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    Re: posted this on G+ - F you and your ads then bitches

    well I suppose this could be bad news for all those internet ads, if I have to pay for the bandwidth to watch them when I don't want them, I suppose a class-action lawsuit should be in order to put a cease and desist on the internet ads.

    You would lose that badly, because when you get an ad it's because your browser requested it. Comcast would be out of line if they *didn't* deliver the ad. The only way you might have a chance is if Comcast is intercepting your requests and injecting additional advertisements that also count against your cap. I've never heard anyone claim that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    AJ, May 21st, 2014 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Fair is Fair...

    How would this kill off streaming services? I'm only saying that if I'm stuck with paying more for using more, then I should get to pay less for using less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 7:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fair is Fair...

    How would this kill off streaming services? I'm only saying that if I'm stuck with paying more for using more, then I should get to pay less for using less.

    Most customers would find themselves thinking "is it really worth the extra money to download/stream this?" every time they thought about using the internet. It becomes easier to just not do it at all rather than go through the mental arithmetic to arrive at a decision every single time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    AJ, May 21st, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fair is Fair...

    ""is it really worth the extra money to download/stream this?""

    I think perhaps your missing my point. I'm not advocating paying by the Gig, I'm advocating that if i have to pay more for using more, then i should pay less for using less. I'm pointing out how one sided the deal is.

    But to address your point... "Most customers would find themselves thinking "is it really worth the extra money to download/stream this?"

    I spend quite a bit of time out of town on work. I would love to have a plan that pays by the Gig, and not by the month... why should i have to pay the same as the guy next door when i'm only home a week or less every month?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fair is Fair...

    I think perhaps your missing my point. I'm not advocating paying by the Gig, I'm advocating that if i have to pay more for using more, then i should pay less for using less.

    But I originally replied to Anonymous Coward, who is advocating paying by the GB.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Comcast compared to a hooker!

    Indeed. Most hookers are at least reasonably honest.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    J.P. Travis, May 21st, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Comcast sucks

    I always had Charter Cable, my whole life, and thought they sucked. Then I spent two years in a city and location owned by Comcast and learned what sucking really is. Comcast was so bad, both in product provided and customer service (at one point a guy actually laughed about having lied to me), that I became a Charter fan for life. If I ever move again, the first question to be answered when looking at houses will be "Does this house have Comcast?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Joe, May 21st, 2014 @ 11:41am

    I don't have to put up with this .... Nobody needs Comcast in order to survive. I along with everyone else who read and commented this article can and will cancel and delete their Comcast accounts. It will be very liberating not having to pay a cable bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Smudge, May 21st, 2014 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    Contention: "MOST end users don't use anywhere near what the cap is"

    Citation: "XFINITY Internet customers' MEDIAN monthly data usage is 20 - 25 GB per month."

    Conclusion: It is trivial to imagine a distribution of usage wherein the median usage is 25 GB a month while the mode is 310 GB; Cited data, by definition, does not support (or, to be fair, contradict) the contention.

    Grade: Fail

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    richard40 (profile), May 22nd, 2014 @ 8:48am

    On usage caps, the decider for me would be whether they were manditory or optional. For example, if they offered a regular service with no usage caps, and a special optional service, with usage caps but lower cost, I see nothing wrong with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Matt, Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: customers hate it

    Wait wait wait. You are using Comcast's OWN WEBSITE to cite the average usage? You think they are telling the TRUTH for what reason, exactly?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    hatecomcast, Oct 26th, 2014 @ 7:49am

    comcast

    comcast sucks and invades your privacy and constitutional rights. The Biggest scam.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Binko Barnes (profile), Oct 26th, 2014 @ 10:51am

    What a sad dysfunctional society we are. A epochal new communication system is discovered that can bring monumental advances in almost every aspect of human interaction.

    So what do we do? We allow corporate monopolies to create roadblocks and toll gates and limits on this amazing technology in the name of maximizing monopolist profit.

    Tiny strands of easily run fiber can bring almost endless bandwidth to everybody. But we can't have that because despicable companies like Comcast can make more profit from choking the internet than expanding it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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