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Comcast Data Usage Trials Catch More Heat

The FCC has received more than 13,000 complaints about Comcast’s usage-based broadband data trials, according to a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Commission by the Cut Cable Today website, which posted its findings yesterday.

Comcast last month expanded its data trials, which include policies with soft monthly caps that charge extra for additional buckets of data, an option for lite users, as well as a newer “unlimited” data option.

Critics of the policies believe that the policies, which aren’t in place to deal with network congestion issues, are in place to juice broadband revenues while keeping growing over-the-top video competition in check.  

Comcast has not announced when it will end the trials or if it intends to make them company-wide policy. For now, the MSO said the tests are providing it with feedback, reiterating that customers are finding the new usage-based policies fairer than the static cap that it discontinued in 2012.

Comcast issued this statement on the subject Wednesday:

“We are conducting data trials in select markets around the country, covering a small percentage of our customers. We designed the various plans we are trialing with a minimum 300 GB/month data plan because more than 90 percent of our customers use less data than that and are not affected. The trials are providing us with invaluable consumer feedback. For example, we surveyed our heavy data users and 80 percent thought our data trials were fairer than our past approach, which was a 250 GB/month static cap. It’s important to note that 10 percent of our customers are consuming nearly 50 percent of all the data on our network. As a result, these trials are based on the principle that those who use more, pay more and those who use less, pay less.”