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The internet these days loves to throw around its fair amount of “Netflix and chill” jokes, suggesting that couples use the streaming service as a possible gateway to romance. However, if Comcast's new data plan has anything to say about it, some folks might just want to call it a night instead.
In a story run by MSN Money, the cable giant has been reported to have announced that 300 GB is the metaphorical limit for their users' data usage through their home internet service. We say metaphorical because their data isn't actually limited, rather it's actually capped at the 300GB figure. After that cap, each 50 GB used will be a $10 charge on the bills of Comcast users, with a $30 surcharge presented as an option for unlimited home data.
As if wireless companies didn't have enough of a grudge against them for engaging in the same sort of business practices, Comcast has now provided a gateway for cable providers to start following the same example. One has to wonder why they would be giving cord cutters more of a reason to influence their friends to take the plunge, but right there is your biggest reason for data surcharges on home internet services. Simply put, cable companies need a way to recoup the revenue lost from customers opting to only purchase internet services.
With customers as of late opting for services like Sling TV, Hulu, and even Netflix as their personal modes of home entertainment, cable providers find themselves having to adapt and evolve to the ever changing market place. Apparently, Comcast thinks that the next step in evolution is to restructure how they offer data, and charge more for folks who use it. If this cap was in order aid the network in handling more traffic from even more users, we could possibly get behind this cap. However Yahoo's take on the story mentions that this data cap is purely for business reasons, and Comcast themselves have trained their employees not to cite “congestion management” for the change, as it isn't.
Taking into account all of the facts in front of us, it's hard to see Comcast's new data plan as nothing more that a cash grab. As if the company's image hasn't already suffered enough black eyes, what with previously being voted the “worst company in America,” as well as being caught blocking ads for Sling TV through their internet service, this revelation puts a nice, silver button on the matter. It will be interesting to see how Netflix, or other streaming services, respond to this news – though we wouldn't be surprised if they ramped up their efforts to partner with a competing cable company. Better still, they could partner with an internet service provider, and cut out the middleman altogether.
If you're a Comcast subscriber, sound off in the comments below if you've experienced this data plan first hand. In the meantime, make sure that you Netflix responsibly.