Comcast is raising data caps to 1TB in all areas of the US that it's currently limiting internet usage. It's a huge increase, pushing the limit up from today's 300GB limit, which customers could reasonably meet by streaming a lot of Netflix. Comcast says that shouldn't be a problem with its new cap. "Today, more than 99 percent of our customers do not come close to using a terabyte," Comcast executive vice president Marcien Jenckes says. A typical customer, Jenckes writes, only uses "six percent" of a terabyte each month.
An unlimited plan is available for $50 / month more
The announcement comes just days after the FCC indicated that it had serious concerns about data caps. In moving to clear Charter's purchase of Time Warner Cable, the commission said it would require the combined company to not apply any data caps for seven years. The condition was one among many meant to prevent the internet provider from interfering with the development of online video businesses. Comcast clearly got the picture that its own data caps could eventually have been viewed the same way. So it's taken care of them now.
The raised data cap is great news for Comcast's customers. While a 300GB limit is something you may well have to worry about hitting, 1TB — at least in the immediate future — is going to be far less of a problem. Of course, years from now, when 4K (or higher) definition video streaming is widespread, that could very easily change.
Comcast's data caps are currently being "trialled" throughout the country in a number of major cities, but they're not yet ubiquitous. All customers who are currently capped will have their cap raised up to 1TB by June. Anyone who needs to use beyond 1TB of data will have to pay more. Comcast is offering additional chunks of 50GB for $10, or an unlimited plan for $50 more per month.
Though this is largely good news, Jenckes' remarks suggest that other Comcast customers — who do not currently have data caps — may be in line to get them in the future. "We’re currently evaluating our plans to roll this out in other markets," Jenckes writes. At least when that happens, there won't be as much reason to complain.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge's parent company.