Last week Comcast got a lot of attention for giving priority to its online video service Xfinity. That move makes even more sense (from a Comcast business perspective) and becomes more worrisome (from a Net Neutrality perspective) given Comcast’s recent decision to charge users who go over a monthly data limit.
To be fair the limit seems pretty generous – 300 gigabytes for basic Internet plans.According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, only 1 percent of U.S. Internet users use that much data in a month. (Although I could see a family of 5 going through that quickly enough – especially if viewing HD video.) And the charge is not exorbitant $10 for every 50 gigabytes over that limit. And this does replace a lower cap (250 gigabytes/month) that led to customers getting cut off rather than charged. But it’s the precedent that seems to be the issue here – especially since the Xfinity video service does not count against that monthly limit.
As is often the case the most interesting part of the story is the comments section. Some folks are happy that the “basement nerds” will pay their share. Some worry that this is a slippery slope and that soon customers will be charged for every download. Some feel that this is a reaction to folks getting video from places other than traditional TV/cable. And some just want to talk about the favorite or most hated politicians/businesses/neighbors.