Comcast moves to usage based browsing and billing

Say goodbye to data caps on Comcast
Say goodbye to data caps on Comcast

Comcast announced it will remove its data usage cap in favor of a new pricing model based on usage.

Two pricing approaches are being considered by Comcast, though neither plan has been finalized.

The first plan offers tiered usage allotments, starting with 300GB per month for a basic package and larger monthly allotments offered for at least two higher tiers.

Users could then expand their monthly usage in blocks, with the example given of $10 for an additional 50GB of data for the month.

The second plan is simpler, offering a single tier for all users with 300GB of data per month.

That monthly allotment could also be expanded with additional monthly blocks of data just like the first plan.

Regardless of which plan Comcast decides on, the lowest available data plan will see an upgrade from the current 250GB per month cap to 300GB per month with the option to expand.

Changing policies for changing needs

Comcast instated its controversial 250GB bandwidth cap back in 2008.

The change is due to increasing questions over the company's data plans as new services are introduced, said Comcast Executive Vice President Cathy Avgiris in a blog post.

She continued to explain in the post:

"For the last six months we have been analyzing the market and our process and think that now is the time to begin to move to a new plan.

"This conclusion was only reinforced when, in recent weeks, some of the conversation around our new product introductions focused on our data usage threshold, rather than on the exciting opportunities we are offering our customers.

"So as the market and technology have evolved, we've decided to change our approach and replace our static 250 GB usage threshold with more flexible data usage management approaches that benefit consumers and support innovation and that will continue to ensure that all of our customers enjoy the best possible Internet experience over our high-speed data service."

Though the company continues to claim that 250GB per month far exceeds the average internet user, increases in streaming content have made the number increasingly insufficient with the rise of tablets, smartphones, cloud storage, and a multitude of audio and video streaming services.

Comcast will begin trials for its new usage pricing plans in select markets over the coming months.

Markets that don't receive the trials will also see a decrease of enforcement for the 250GB data cap, though Avgiris says the company will still issue warnings for particularly excessive usage.

Additional details on Comcast's new plans, such as pricing, will be announced close to the trials' launch.