Comcast Moves To Usage-Based Billing

Comcast has finally decided to take the plunge and move from flat billing to a usage-based system. In other words, the more you use, the more you pay. It’s one of a few plans it’s experimenting with (they’re also selling a 300GB cap with the option to buy extra blocks as you need it), but it’s potentially a move towards a fairer and more equitable system. The most common example of why usage-based billing makes sense is the comparison of someone who checks their email once or twice a day as opposed to someone who runs a popular file server from their home. If the former uses a sliver of data and the latter uses 100x more, they should pay different rates, and this is what Comcast seems to be thinking.Alas, as is typical with Comcast, there’s a bit of a twist to it: Netflix is not too pleased with Comcast for giving preferential treatment to their own media app, Xfinity, by leaving bandwidth usage for that app out of the monthly total (thus reducing your bill) but including any data used for Netflix. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says this violates net neutrality and is just kind of a jerk thing to do in general, but because Xfinity is delivered by a private IP (as opposed to the public Internet), Comcast most certainly would argue it shouldn’t be bound by net neutrality laws.It would be something of a relief to see Comcast get their act together on billing. They’re one of the worst offenders when it comes to offering an “unlimited” package, then adding a cap after the fact, and refusing to tell the user what the cap is (a few other ISPs do this as well). A nice, simple, usage-based system with no shenanigans would definitely set it right.Source: AllThingsD


Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio