Comcast has been flirting with data caps, and for customers in those markets, Comcast will be introducing new rates to save money on home plans, with new fees for going over your cap. These new rates however are raising some eyebrows.
The pricing on data has always been somewhat suspect. Each month you pay for a quantity of data, but if you don’t use it all, your remainder disappears at the end of the month. If you bought food this way, you’d be outraged by all the waste when your leftovers are thrown away. To date, no company has introduced any kind of rollover data for capped plans.
While XFINITY will be offering more data each month, moving Economy Plus customers from 250GB to 300GB, their cost savings scheme seems horrifically unfair.
If you live in Jackson Mississippi for example, 300GB of data, at up to 50Mbps speed, will cost you around $60 a month after promotional pricing. If you want to save some money on that monthly bill, Comcast is happy to lower your data cap and reduce your bill. If you reduce your monthly data rate from 300GB a month to 5GB a month you can save $5 off your plan.
You read that right. That was not a typo. To save $5 a month your plan will be cut from 300GB to 5GB. You will lose 295GB. That’s a 98% reduction in your data for a 12% price break.
And what happens if you go over that 5GB cap? Comcast will helpfully charge you per GB used. You’ll only have to pay $1 per GB for the privilege of using more data. If you don’t use this Data Flexibility Savings, Comcast charges overages in blocks of 50GB for $10, but you sacrifice those blocks to save five measly dollars.
Say you have a heavy internet use month, and instead of staying under your 5GB cap, you burn through 30GB. Your bill will balloon from $55 to $80.
I hesitate to use words like “evil” to describe corporate policies like these, but this Data Flexibility pricing comes really close to fitting that definition. The pricing structure here seems tailor made to prey on folks who don’t understand data. The people who will be confused by the difference between their data SPEED (up to 50Mbps) and the QUANTITY of data they’re allowed to use each month.
The penalties for making any mistakes with this plan will be severe. You can read up on the new data rates on the XFINITY customer site, and if you know anyone who lives in an area with capped home internet, under no circumstances should you allow them to participate.