Comcast just announced that it's getting rid of its controversial 250GB data cap on home internet connections in favor of what it calls a "more flexible data usage management approach." That basically means that the company will eventually switch to a tiered plan arrangement with overage fees just like wireless providers, with base plans starting at 300GB per month.
The 250GB cap will be suspended everywhere while Comcast trials two different types of tiered plan packages in various test markets over the next few months. The first plan simply gives users at every speed level a 300GB allotment, with additional capacity available in blocks; Comcast's blog posts suggests it's considering $10 for an extra 50GB. The other plan starts most performance tiers at 300GB but increases the plan allotment for faster service levels — the 30Mbps Blast and 50 / 105Mbps Extreme tiers are specifically called out as getting higher ceilings — with additional data available in similar $10-for-50GB blocks.
Cap-and-throttle becomes cap-and-pay
It's all definitely a bit more transparent than much-hated cap-and-throttle system, but we'll have to see how Comcast decides to price these new plans and additional blocks of data — heavy users could end up with exorbitant bills. (And though the cap will be suspended for now, Comcast will still "contact" customers deemed to be "excessive.") We'll find out more as Comcast launches the trial plans, and we're sure to hear more about how these new plans affect the extremely vocal criticism leveled at Comcast for its alleged efforts to skirt around net neutrality regulations with the new Xbox Xfinity app in the coming week.