Comcast’s Got The Meter Running

Comcast’s limit seems reasonable now, but will it be used to rein in their online video competition going forward? That is the worry.

Tonight I stumbled upon an email from Comcast. It was sent ten days ago to an account I never use and seldom check. It said Comcast is now providing me with a tool to check how much Internet I’m using.

I knew this was coming. Comcast announced a 250 Gb monthly data limit a while ago. What wasn’t clear was how close to the cap we get? The simple answer is “not very.” We were well under what I assumed we used. That’s still not reassuring. More on that in a second.

The past few months have averaged in the 20 Gb neighborhood. We probably suck up more than most! Of course baseball season is just around the bend and Helaine and/or I will watch the vast majority of the Phillies games in streaming high def video over the Internet. Our usage will climb.

If you are wondering whether you are at risk of exceeding this 250GB threshold, you should know that the vast majority – around 99% – of Comcast customers use significantly less than 250GB per month. – Comcast website

It wasn’t that long ago we were using dial-up service. My 28.8 kbps modem (which never connected anywhere near that fast) was only good for downloading a few megabytes per hour. Tonight I uploaded at 30+ megabyte file before I could finish typing the description for it.

Comcast’s limit seems reasonable today, but will it be used to rein in their online video competition going forward? That is my worry. The more video and rich content we get online the less we’ll buy from Comcast. They want their Internet side to be successful, but not successful enough to cannibalize their pay TV side.

For now bandwidth is cheap and plentiful. Any artificial limits Comcast (or other ISPs) impose are just that, artificial limits. They’re getting us used to being on a leash.

Blogger’s note: As a very small portion of my retirement plan I own some Comcast stock. Of course what I just wrote doesn’t promote my best financial interest with that stock, but I thought this disclosure was only right.