Comcast just announced that its Minnesota customers will now have limits on their internet data or face substantial fees, starting on November 1st.
In an e-mail to customers, Comcast said that it will place a limit on internet data use for its residential customers. For the majority of customers, that data limit will be 1 terabyte per month. Comcast says that is enough data for 600 hours of high-definition video or 12,000 hours of online gaming. Comcast claims that less than 1% of its customers use that much data in a month.
For those using more than 1 terabyte per month, Comcast will charge $10 for every 50 gigabytes over the limit, up to a maximum of $200 per month. Unlimited data is available to customers for an extra $50 per month. Exempt from the data limits are Comcast’s Gigabit Pro service users, which costs around $300 a month, and business customers.
Comcast will be introducing new online tools for customers to track data usage and the company will notify people once they reach the 50 percent and 100 percent thresholds.
Minnesota is one of 12 states in an expansion of data caps that Comcast previously implemented in 16 states. In Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, where Comcast faces more competition, data is not being limited. Comcast’s corporate headquarters is based in Philadelphia.
In a September 13th Money Magazine article, Netflix said that broadband internet data caps are unreasonable, unfair and serve no legitimate purpose in the marketplace and is asking the FCC to pressure internet providers to stop charging customers based on how much internet data they use so that people can stream as many Netflix shows as they want without having to pay extra.
Comcast’s cable TV business has seen an increase in competition from companies like Netflix and Hulu among others. By limiting data, Comcast is positioning itself to recapture potential lost revenue when cable TV customers watch programs on the internet instead of on their television set.
In a statement, Comcast said, “Our data plans are based on a principle of fairness. Those who use more internet data, pay more. And those who use less internet data, pay less.”