Friday, May 18, 2012

Comcast Response to Recent Claims: Higher Base Cap w/Tiered Plans or Overage Fees

Comcast got some bad PR recently, with its policy for its own video content over Xbox vs. the delivery of OTT video services (see "Comcast: "We do not prioritize our video .. we just provision separate, additional bandwidth for it" " - here ; "Sony Delays OTT Plans because of Comcast Data Caps Policy" - here and "Netflix CEO: "Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles" " - here).
The non-prioritization/private network statement was challenged by Andrew Dugan, SVP of Network Engineering & Architecture and Nasser El-Aawar, Principal Network Architect from Level3. 

They found that "Comcast serves Xfinity traffic utilizing the Internet rather than a virtually or physically private network" and " Xfinity consistently gets good performance in both the congested and uncongested tests, while Netflix traffic is significantly impaired when the home connection is congested. These results seem to be consistent with the practice of prioritization". See "An IP Engineer and Consumer View of Xfinity Traffic Prioritization" (here).

A recent post by  Cathy Avgiris (pictured), EVP and General Manager, Communications and Data Services tries to address these issues by providing some good and bad news.

The good news is that the 4 years old data cap will increase from 250G to 300GB a month. The bad news is that subject to trials, the cap will turn into a Usage based Billing service model. Subscribers will have to pay extra if they plan to, or actually consume, more.

See below the two approaches (volume-tiers and overage fees) that will be tested by Comcast. I'd expect the first option to be cheaper per GB, as the subscriber commits in advance, but the example shows the same cost of $10/50 GB. 
".. as the market and technology have evolved, we've decided to change our approach and replace our static 250 GB usage threshold with more flexible data usage management approaches that benefit consumers and support innovation and that will continue to ensure that all of our customers enjoy the best possible Internet experience over our high-speed data service".
"In the next few months, therefore, we are going to trial improved data usage management approaches comparable to plans that others in the market are using that will provide customers with more choice and flexibility than our current policy .. In markets where we are not trialing a new data usage management approach, we will suspend enforcement of our current usage cap as we transition to a new data usage management approach, although we will continue to contact the very small number of excessive users about their usage. 
  • The first new approach will offer multi-tier usage allowances that incrementally increase usage allotments for each tier of high-speed data service from the current threshold. Thus, we'd start with a 300 GB usage allotment for our Internet Essentials, Economy, and Performance Tiers, and then we would have increasing data allotments for each successive tier of high speed data service (e.g., Blast and Extreme). The very few customers who use more data at each tier can buy additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 for 50 GB).
  • The second new approach will increase our data usage thresholds for all tiers to 300 GB per month and also offer additional gigabytes in increments/blocks (e.g., $10 per 50 GB)"
See "Comcast to Replace Usage Cap With Improved Data Usage Management Approaches" - here.

No comments:

Post a Comment