Comcast imposes new internet data caps
Comcast is one of the few options Western students have when it comes to internet off campus, and starting this November every Comcast customer in Washington has one terabyte of data for the month.
Western students who use Comcast should have received the information of this transition via email. Customers will get a grace period of two months where they can go over the terabyte, and after that there is a fee of 10 dollars for every 50 GB you go over.
And what happens if customers go over their terabyte?
“Let’s say somebody has had two free months and they don’t sign up for the unlimited plan,” Washington’s Comcast Spokesperson Walter Neary said. “50 GB is ten dollars more, and then there’s a 200 dollar limit on that happening. I think what most will probably do if they are super-users is switch to the unlimited plan.”
Comcast is changing the plan so those who are using more, pay more, Neary said.
So how much is a terabyte? In technical terms, it’s 1,024 GB.
“In order to use a terabyte you would have to stream 600-700 hours of hd video or 12,000 hours of online games a month,” Neary said. “There are about 750 hours in a month.”
“I’d have to watch a lot of YouTube videos. A terabyte is such a huge amount of data, I can’t even fathom it.”
“I’d have to watch a lot of YouTube videos,” Junior Isaiah Robyn said. “A terabyte is such a huge amount of data, I can’t even fathom it.”
Washington is one of many states that the terabyte cap rolled out on Nov. 1. Comcast doesn’t want this plan to be a surprise to anyone, Neary said.
“The first thing to do is look at how much data you’re actually using and what your choices are,” Neary said. Customers can access their data amount on plan.xfinity.com.
“Most people are using much less than they think,” Neary said. “I’ve just seen that time and time again on all the social media messages I’ve been responding to.”
According to Comcast, the average amount a customer uses is 75 GB a month. But many off-campus houses may have more people under one plan than the average customer.
Junior Sam Soliday said he doesn’t notice the limit because he lives alone, but he knows this can benefit many multi-student off-campus housing situations.
“These guys have gone over a few times,” Soliday said regarding some friends who surpassed the old 500 GB cap. “But now that it has risen I think it’s going to get fixed.”
The change won’t affect 99 percent of users, but it’s possible for customers to go over the limit, Neary said.
“[Data] cap can imply there’s a hard limit, so I use threshold,” Neary said. “There’s an unlimited plan for $50 per month more, because we want people to be able to use the internet for what’s important, which is schoolwork, looking for jobs, looking for internships.”
This may be just the beginning of Comcast expanding this customer-wide data threshold. There’s chances for it to develop depending on usage with customers.
“We are not saying that [the limit] is going to be one terabyte forever,” Neary said. “We will continue to evaluate our data plans.”
There are issues with having only a few providers in town, an issue many Western students notice, Soliday said. Comcast and Centurylink were the only two he could name.
“It’s basically the only two companies, so they can do whatever they want without worrying too much about getting their dollars, which sucks.” Soliday said.
Robyn noticed the lack of options when he was first searching for an internet provider.
“I googled internet in Bellingham, and there was Comcast,” Robyn said. Everything else was either more expensive or less practical, Robyn said.