Comcast’s Bandwidth Limit and the Bait and ‘Switch’

It was bound to happen.   I said something nice about Comcast last week (their customer service person being on Twitter), and they go an do something evil, reminiscent of the reasons that drove me to Fios and DirecTV.

On the surface, it’s a move that will impact few users.  According to SlashDot:

“Comcast has confirmed that all residential customers will be subject to a 250 gigabyte per month data limit starting October 1. ‘This is the same system we have in place today,’ Comcast wrote in an amendment to its acceptable use policy. ‘The only difference is that we will now provide a limit by which a customer may be contacted.’ The cable provider insisted that 250 GB is “an extremely large amount of data, much more than a typical residential customer uses on a monthly basis. … As part of our pre-existing policy, we will continue to contact the top users of our high-speed Internet service and ask them to curb their usage,’ Comcast said Thursday. ‘If a customer uses more than 250 GB and is one of the top users of our service, he or she may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use,’ according to the AUP.”

This is, even with a fairly sizable limit on bandwidth, a sample of a bait and switch.  Comcast advertises “blazing download speeds” left and right to try to lure customers from other providers and enter into one of those iron-clad and idiotic “bundling” agreements (“INTERNET!! CABLE!! TELEPHONE!!!), whose rates creep up after the initial period — and have you every tried “unbundling?”  It’s a pain in the arse.

Comcast simultaneously advertises Internet download speeds while putting up bandwidth limits.  This might just be an isolated incident or simple stupidity, but to me, it’s a really slippery slope for any ISP to do this.  You advertise “blazing” downloads, so let me get my music, movies, run my business, whatever – and get the hell out of my way.

To do otherwise is either disingenuous or just plain stupid.

Mark

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