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Thu., May 17, 2012, 11:08 a.m.

Comcast rolls out two options for highest data consumers, drops 250 gigabyte limit

Comcast officials said on Thursday they're discarding the current 250 gigabyte data use limit on residential customers, replacing it with two new options that will raise the limit to 300 gigs per month.

Comcast officials hosted a conference call from Philadelphia saying it's moving forward with two test options, both of which will be tested evaluatued "to maintain and insure the highest quality service" for its 20 million U.S. data customers.

It's not clear when the two new options will be tested in Washington state. 

The Comcast blog statement is here.

One option is to introduce a tiered system, with customers starting with no limits for using 300 gigabytes of data. Customers choosing to use more can set paid plans at $10 for each additional 50 gigabytes per month.

Option two will start with 300 gigabytes of free use per month, and then offer "on demand" additional blocks of 50 gigs as needed. Prices might vary for those additional blocks, but might be identical to those in option one ($10 for 50 additional gigabytes).

David Cohen, a Comcast executive vice president, said the change will occur over time and will determine which of the two tests is most flexible and the best solution to maintain network quality.

Cohen also said "the vast majority" of Comcast's 20 million U.S. customers do not come anywhere close to the 250 gigabyte limit. Since being implemented in 2008, Comcast has on occasion shut down residential customers who exceed the 250 gigabyte limit.

Cohen said the decision is a recognition and a "philosophical adjustment" to our highest volume customers, and that it reflects the view by Comcast that "we don't want to discourage you from using Comcast and having an 'essentially unlimited data service." 

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.