Thursday, May 17, 2012

Comcast Experiments with Usage Pricing

Looks like Comcast is finally experimenting with usage pricing.  The cable giant has long been criticized for pushing bandwidth caps (from which it conveniently exempted its own content) while not giving users who want more bandwidth the options to pay for their usage.   With the emergence of competitive Over the Top (OTT) Television services in the forms of Netflix and Hulu, the incentive for cable providers with a stake in content to unfairly use their monopolies over broadband and wireless access to target their competition is more than just a theoretical concern.  Uncompetitive behavior like exempting cable owned content, slowing or throttling connections so that rival services don't load properly, and placing bandwidth caps that force consumers to chose between movies and online streaming video game play indicate that ensuring network access remains a primary concern. 

Of course Comcast can just chose to charge outrageous and usurious rates for additional bandwidth, so stay tuned to see if a move the company claims isn't in response to their OTT television rivals isn't actually used to undercut them.

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