Comcast's Data Caps Enrage Customers

December 16, 2015
By: Steve Anderson

The latest round of data cap information emerging from Comcast (News - Alert) isn't sitting well with the customer base. Over 13,000 complaints have been filed with the FCC, showing major unrest in Comcast country.

Comcast recently announced plans to charge customers for over-consuming data, and naturally, Comcast customers weren't happy. This was especially true given that the standard method of registering dissatisfaction with a company—taking one's business elsewhere—generally isn't available to many Comcast customers. Making the matter worse was Comcast's vice president of Internet services, Jason Livingood, who said in August that the data caps weren't being done to prevent overcrowding on a carefully measured network, but rather were a business decision.

That brought consumers to the FCC (News - Alert) seeking help, and a Freedom of Information Act request from Cut Cable Today discovered that there were over 13,000 complaints filed with the FCC on the matter so far. Just under 2,000 of these were available for viewing. While some of the complaints just found the matter hard to live with—especially as the consumer had no input about this, and was under contract at the time to not have such a cap in place—some expressed a serious problem with Comcast's means of measuring consumed bandwidth. One customer noted that there was no detailed statement of use. Without a lot of information about used bandwidth, there’s not much of a way to dispute what Comcast says.

One user with a FreeBSD router that tracks data uploaded and downloaded made a noteworthy point. They revealed that the numbers generated were wildly different from Comcast's. That user's router revealed 147.054 gigabytes had been used at the time, but Comcast reported that 271 gigabytes of use. That’s a major discrepancy. Throw in the growth of video advertising used on basic websites and the number of cloud-based applications—one user lamented that just one Steam game could be 40 gigabytes of download—and a problem emerges. A problem that comes in the form of hefty new charges of the kind that could beggar low income families, many of which need such access for job searches or even actual job performance.

We know that businesses like Comcast are in business to make money, and make decisions designed to benefit the bottom line. But there’s a difference between short-term and long-term benefit, and dissatisfied customers ready to switch the second anything else is available isn't a recipe for long-term benefit. This latest move from Comcast all but assures more customer rancor and potentially an increased move toward municipal fiber as more towns seek to throw off the Comcast shackles.

One FCC complaint sums it up: “PLEASE do something. We have no one to protect us!”




Edited by Kyle Piscioniere