The future of the Internet is getting bleaker by the day.
Not only will the proposed FCC changes to how the Internet is distributed change how users consume the service, but now, individual providers are considering adding restrictive data caps onto plans to make sure users don’t enjoy the paid service too much.
According to Comcast executive vice president David Cohen, the company is discussing implementing tiered data caps across its network by 2019.
“I would predict that in 5 years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint,” he said during a recent conference call. “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 say 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.”
Though Cohen speculates that cap limits for downloads would be in the 350-500 GB range and only a few users would be impacted by the limits, the lower end of that limit is still awfully low for users who stream and download often.
For example, a high-definition Netflix movie uses roughly 3.6GB to stream. With companies like Microsoft and Sony looking to go digital with how games are provided, users who download the games rather than purchase the physical copies are looking at 40-60GB of usage per game download. The 350 GB limit may seem like a lot, but it adds up fast when you are a heavy consumer.
Comcast is currently trying to win approval for its purchase of Time Warner Cable. If approved, Comcast would then become the nation’s largest communications provider with an estimated 30% of all Americans as customers.
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