Comcast Caps Highlight Lack of Broadband Competition

Contact Info: 
Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22 or (703) 517-6273

WASHINGTON -- Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, has announced that it will impose a monthly cap of 250 GB on its customers' Internet usage.

The cable giant was recently sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission for secretly blocking consumer access to Internet content. The FCC ordered Comcast to disclose its current and future network management practices and to stop blocking Internet traffic by the end of the year.

S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"While today's announcement provides some details about Comcast's future network management practices, we still await their detailed response to the FCC. It remains unclear how the cap announced today helps solve Comcast's supposed congestion problems -- or how the cap will work with other usage limits Comcast has been considering.

"Though the proposed cap is relatively high, it will increasingly ensnare more users as technology continues its natural progression. If Comcast has oversold its network to the point of creating congestion problems, then well-disclosed caps for Internet use are a better short-term solution than Comcast's current practice of illegally blocking Internet traffic. But in the long term, congestion should be treated as a temporary problem -- one that is managed without discrimination.

"If the United States had genuine broadband competition, Internet providers would not be able to profit from artificial scarcity -- they would invest in their networks to keep pace with consumer demand. Unfortunately, Americans will continue to face the consequences of this lack of competition until policymakers get serious about policies that deliver the world-class networks consumers deserve."

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