Of all the major internet service providers, the most universally derided is Comcast and its outdated data caps, a policy that the company’s internal memos reveal is a cynical marketing ploy. Now, the CEO of Comcast, Brian Roberts, has spoken to Business Insider about its data policy, with Roberts advocating the abolition of unlimited data, equating it to giving unlimited fuel for motor-vehicle drivers.
“Just as with every other thing in your life, if you drive 100,000 miles or 1,000 miles you buy more gasoline. If you turn on the air conditioning to 60 vs. 72 you consume more electricity,” Roberts told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget during the IGNITION conference on Tuesday. “The same is true for [broadband] usage.” Cellular data is already billed this way, “the more bits you use, the more you pay. So why not cable Internet, too?”
Roberts also disputed the semantics of the term “data cap”, asserting that it does not prevent customers from exceeding their data limit, instead charging them for the excess. “They’re not a cap,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to ever not want to stay connected on our network.”
Roberts may just be saying what other ISPs are thinking, but vocalising it may not be the smartest business move, and only reinforces the perception of Comcast as putting profits above customers, and risks them losing ground to the emergent Google Fiber, which offers unlimited data as standard.
Image courtesy of Comcast.