Disgruntled Comcast Customers Have Filed Over 13,000 FCC Complaints Regarding Data Caps

It probably won't come as much surprise that Comcast and its customers aren't on the same page when it comes to data caps. Simply put, Comcast is in favor of charging extra when a customer goes over a set amount of data per month, while customers despise them and have filed over 13,000 related complaints with the Federal Communications Commission.

Here's the thing, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts doesn't like the term "data cap" because hey, if you're a Comcast customer and you reach your monthly data allotment, the ISP will happily charge you a fee for more data. In other words, there's no off switch or ceiling to how much data you can use, so long as you pay for it.

"We don't want anybody to ever not want to stay connected on our network," Roberts recently said. At the same time, he likens data use to finite resources. He notes that "just as with every other thing in you life, if you drive 100,000 miles or 1,000 miles you buy more gasoline. If you turn on the air conditioning to 60 versus 72, you consume more electricity."

Cable Modem

Likewise, when it comes to data, "the more bits you use, the more you pay."

The problem consumers have with data caps like the ones Comcast is trialing in certain areas is that they seem arbitrary. One might assume that data caps exist as a way to deal with network congestion, but in a memo to employees that was leaked to the web, Comcast flat out admitted that network management plays no role in them.

Complaints received by the FCC over Comcast's data caps are varied. In addition to the existence of data caps and associated fees, some customers issued complaints over the accuracy of Comcast's data accounting.

"As of writing this they currently place us at 271GB of 300GB (according to their online meter) used for the month of September. However, our FreeBSD router tracks the total data used (outgoing or incoming) on WAN and only reports a total of ~147.054GB (139.93GB DL / 7.12GB UL) consumed in the same time period. There appears to be a huge discrepancy between what Comcast reports and what is actually being consumed," one consumer laments.

Another points out that "one game from Steam can be 40 gigabytes," while yet another sums up the general perception that Comcast is "price gouging, pure and simple."