Hey, Atlanta, did you know that you are a test market? Yes! Yes, indeed you are! I should say, we are, since I live here now, too1.
We are one of the test markets2 for how Comcast is going to raise their internet prices to gouge you even more. We only get to use 300 GB of internet before we get charged $10 per 50 GB over the limit. Oh, and no, you may not opt out. You have no choice. But, thanks for asking. We sincerely regret any inconvenience. Thank you for your continued patience. All internet plans in this test market only allow 300 GB of usage with one single exception.
Interestingly, Tucson, AZ, has a 600 GB limit before surcharges apply. Arizona or the local municipality must have laws or regulations in place? Does anyone know? I would love to explore this further.
Now, mind you, the San Francisco Bay Area was not chosen as a test market. I wonder why?! No doubt the techies living there would have taken to the streets in a national campaign against the powerful monopoly. And the techies have money!! Google is beating Comcast up with the super high speed internet. Poor Comcast.
It’s Hard to Be Us!
We stream music throughout the house. We stream TV. We stream photos when working out. The security systems use the internet. The house lighting systems use the internet. The solar energy system uses the internet. Even our cell phones make their calls over the internet until we leave the house network.
New research by Sandvine shows that the top 5% of Internet users consume around 328GB per month, which means that they’ll likely go over the 300GB cap that Comcast has started rolling out in many markets3. This is before 4k streaming, which Netflix offers on a limited number of shows (House of Cards is one), becomes popular.
Despite a good bit of travel, we have still gone over, way over the 300 GB limit for the past 2 months. In fact, when I publish this post, I will probably go over 500 GB this month.4
I won’t bore you with the fact our Comcast bill is nearly $250 per month, or the ungodly amount of time I spent today trying to work through this with Comcast, the way they have messed up our online account, refuse to talk to me, have repeatedly disconnected both Steve and I from our efforts to talk to them… Suffice it to say: Comcast has the worst customer support of any company I’ve ever experienced—by far. This household has waisted probably dozens of hours, literally, with them since we’ve moved here.
As more people cut the cord and stream their TV, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, etc. and no longer give a rip about live commercial TV, Comcast realizes they are losing their monopolistic dominance. Nobody wants all of those special packages with over-priced premium channels. People only wanted a small number of special channels but were forced to over purchase and way over pay. So, what’s poor Comcast to do?
Charge by the gigabyte for internet access! Yay!
Watching how many gigabytes you use on the internet will become just like watching your cell phone minutes! All of these special plans are certainly in the future: special family plans, with premium access gigabytes from 7pm until 11pm, and extra gigabytes on the weekends and holidays, and surcharges for overages—yes, yes, yes: lots of special surcharges and more hidden fees and unexplained fees just like your cell phone bill.
How long will it take before we get roll over gigabytes?5
The only thing better than the telecommunications systems being frontmen for the NSA is ripping off the powerless consumer while doing it. Customers are such a dreadfully inconvenient way to access bank accounts!
with weighty regret—still not over it! ↩
The full list of cities are Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama; Tucson, Arizona; Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, Mississippi; Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; and Charleston, South Carolina. Notice it’s mostly the Southeast—gotta love those corporate friendly republican state governments! ↩
Yes, it’s just text and a picture, but I’m within kilobytes of the 500 GB mark this month. ↩
They are presently not available at all in the test markets. ↩