Comcast bumps data caps to 1 terabyte

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) said its bumping up the ceiling in its controversial data-usage trials to 1 terabyte, effective June 1.

A terabyte is an enormous amount of data," said Marcien Jenckes, executive VP of consumer services for Comcast Cable. "It's far more than most of our customers will ever use in a month. Today, more than 99 percent of our customers do not come close to using a terabyte. Our typical customer uses only about 60 gigabytes of data in a month – that's far less than a terabyte (in fact, 940 gigabytes less), or less than six percent of a terabyte."

For the narrow group of power users who exceed 1TB of data usage a month, Jenckes added, Comcast is offering an unlimited plan for $50 a month. Increments of 50 GB can also be purchased for $10 each. 

The announcement follows news this week that Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) has agreed not to impose data usage caps on its customers for seven years as a condition of FCC approval for its Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks purchases.

Comcast Cable President and CEO Neil Smit had no comment today during Comcast's first-quarter earnings call, when asked how the Charter conditions will impact his company. "That's still pending," he said. 

Also, last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a widely read piece, chronicling how Comcast broadband users who are regular video streamers are being negatively impacted in the trial regions, which include Florida and the Southwestern U.S. 

Comcast received praise from one of its more notable customers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who tweeted, "Huge for me as a Comcast customer. Now I'll never be able to watch enough to hit my cap."

For its part, Comcast insists that a terabyte should be enough for pretty much anybody. 

"What can you do with a terabyte? A whole lot," Jenckes added. "You can stream about 700 hours of HD video, play 12,000 hours of online games, and download 60,000 high-res photos in a month."

For more:
- read this Comcast blog post

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