Comcast's Big Change

Friday, May 18, 2012


This week, Comcast, the largest provider of cable and internet in the country, started charging for broadband using a tiered data plan - much like wireless carriers currently do. This move is not likely to affect many people right now, but as The New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter tells Brooke, Comcast might be preparing its subscribers for the future of internet pricing.


Brian Stelter

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Brooke Gladstone

Comments [4]

There is a genuine scarce resource in internet delivery: bandwidth. Internet providers already charge for the bandwidth scarcity with prices tiered according to download speed.

Charging for quantity of data downloaded allows them to also create an artificial scarcity. While the capital costs of increasing bandwidth beyond the current download capacity may be substantial, there's no additional cost to using existing capacity. So the providers would like to charge for using the capacity, too.

Raising prices on consumers who use the bandwidth for which they are already paying is an extra profit stream too hard for cable companies to pass up.

May. 26 2012 04:08 PM

Interesting you should mention that, Sid, because FCC chairman Julius Genachowski just threw his support behind usage-based pricing.

May. 23 2012 06:44 AM
Sid from Chicago

The whole telecom industry is shot. There's just not enough competition because its so expensive to get into the market in the first place.
The way the FCC lacks proper authority over companies such as comcast doesn't help consumers either.

May. 22 2012 12:02 AM
Joe from New York

Hopefully this will be like AOL who originally charged per minute beyond a set number of monthly hours. The set number kept increasing until it was more time than anyone could realistically (at the time) spend online and then they just made it unlimited.

Hopefully that is what will happen. The other way this could go is with an antitrust lawsuit. I guess we'll see.

May. 18 2012 05:33 PM

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