Comcast utilization soars 34% to 200GB a month, pushing customers nearer to information cap

The back of a Comcast van driving along a street in Sunnyvale, California.
Enlarge / A Comcast van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018.

Getty Pictures | Andrei Stanescu

Comcast mentioned its clients’ month-to-month Web information utilization elevated 34 % between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, rising to a median of 200GB. The rise is being pushed by streaming video, and, particularly, 4K video, Comcast mentioned.

“Our clients’ demand for pace and information utilization retains rising,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts mentioned in a name with buyers yesterday (transcript). “Our median broadband residence now makes use of over 200 gigabytes of information per 30 days, a rise of 34 % year-over-year, which accelerated from the fourth quarter.” (Cease the Cap reported on Comcast’s remarks earlier.)

The median buyer is utilizing solely about 20 % of Comcast’s 1TB information cap, which is enforced in 27 of Comcast’s 39 states. However the rise in utilization virtually actually signifies that extra Comcast clients are exceeding the 1TB cap.

As we reported in January, OpenVault analysis on the US cable trade discovered that 4.1 % of households have been utilizing at the very least 1TB a month, up from 2.1 % the earlier 12 months. That very same analysis discovered that US cable Web clients have been utilizing a median of 268.7GB per 30 days. If everyone seems to be counting the identical approach, that will imply Comcast clients are utilizing much less information than common cable clients—maybe as a result of they’re attempting to keep away from overage expenses.

Comcast used to disclose the proportion of its clients that exceed its information cap, however the firm appears to have stopped making that information public. In late 2013, when the cap was 300GB, Comcast was saying that solely 2 % of its clients used greater than that. By late 2015, that was as much as eight %.

Comcast raised the cap from 300GB to 1TB in June 2016. Comcast says on its web site now that solely “a really small proportion of our clients use a terabyte of information in a month,” with out offering a particular proportion. When contacted by Ars immediately, Comcast declined to supply a particular proportion.

Comcast’s web site hasn’t been up to date to mirror the brand new 200GB quantity but. “As of December 2018, Xfinity Web clients’ median month-to-month information utilization was 174GB through the previous six months,” Comcast’s web site says. That very same statistic was 151GB as of June 2018.

Streaming video drives up broadband utilization

Comcast would like that clients purchase Comcast cable TV as an alternative of watching Netflix or different non-Comcast on-line companies. However Comcast cashes in on elevated streaming video utilization due to its 1TB cap, charging $10 charges for every extra block of 50GB or $50 month-to-month for an improve to limitless information.

“I feel that we begin with the central view that streaming goes to occur, video over the Web is extra good friend than foe,” Roberts mentioned.

Whereas Comcast “want[es] each bit was our bit,” clients streaming extra on-line video and notably 4K video is “within the candy spot of the place this firm goes to develop,” he continued.

Roberts famous that Comcast has partnerships with Netflix and Amazon to resell their video companies on Comcast cable containers.

“It is a deep, profitable, lovely, elegant integration that the tech groups have performed at each corporations,” Roberts mentioned, maybe considerably overselling the set up of a video app on a cable field. “And we have performed that with YouTube. And you’ll think about we’ll try this once more with others because the world continues to evolve.”

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