Comcast Envisions Switching Broadband Model To Usage Based Billing In Five Years

If you thought Comcast wouldn't try to defend its "Worst Company in America" designation as voted by Consumerists' readers last month, think again. The broadband company holding the Golden Poo award has gone on record saying it wants to move to a usage-based billing model similar to how the wireless industry works within the next five years.

"People who use more should pay more and people who use less should pay less," Comcast executive vice president David Cohen said at an investor event in New York City this week.

Comcast has already been testing this in some areas. The way it's currently constructed is that subscribers are allotted 300GB of data per month. Those who go over are charged $10 for each additional 50GB. Last November, Cohen told ArsTechnica that "98 percent of our customers nationally don't use 300GB/month." He also said that Comcast would raise the data cap over time to ensure that the majority of its customers don't go over it.

That's fine if you trust Comcast to play fair, but a potential problem is the rapidly growing reliance on online and streaming media. Everything is stored in the cloud these days, and in five years, streaming 4K media will likely be the norm, not the exception. For a family of four that uses Netflix, Hulu, and other services, things could get tricky.

On top of that, if you ask Netflix, the streaming service will tell you that Comcast is already "double dipping" by charging its customers for Internet access, and then charging Netflix for a clean connection into their homes.