Leaked Comcast Docs: Data Caps Have Nothing to Do With Network Congestion

If they're not charging to ensure an unclogged network, what are they charging for?

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

Comcast’s new data caps for Internet usage aren’t meant to keep its network running smoothly. Instead, the goal is “fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers,” according to leaked Comcast instructional documents found on Reddit on Friday.

Comcast has implemented four different data usage trials in the United States — and the most recent plans charge users $10 for every 50 GB of data they use over the 300 GB threshold. Or, users can buy an unlimited data plan for an extra $30 in Florida. (It’s $35 in cities in its Big South territory like Atlanta, Shreveport La. and Chattanooga, Tenn.)

There are currently no data cap trials in Philadelphia and they affect about 8 percent of Comcast customers. The program is expanding to Arkansas and Virginia December 1.

In the leaked documents, Comcast specifically tells customer-service reps not to say “the program is about congestion management.” It also tells them not to use the term “data cap.” See an excerpt below.

Comcast - name of program

To be fair, Comcast won’t charge you for the first three times you exceed 300 GB, and will send you a courtesy ‘in-browser’ notice and an email letting you know when you reach 90 percent, 100 percent, 110 percent and 125 percent of your monthly data usage plan amount. You can also elect to receive notifications at 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent and 80 percent of your monthly plan.

“This plan sets up a mechanism that those who use more, pay more and those who use less, pay less,” Charlie Douglas, executive director of corporate communications at Comcast said in an interview on Saturday. “We do think this is fair. We will continue to evaluate our policies and evolve as the Internet evolves. These policies continue to just be in a trial mode.”

On the leaked documents, Douglas said: “Just like we’re educating customers, we’re also educating care agents. Everything in those documents is consistent with everything we’re saying both internally and externally.”

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