As of 2015, there were 58 wired broadband providers who use data caps, including Comcast. Data caps are a fancy way for broadband providers to charge you more for your Internet service: The more time you spend on the Internet, the more time you spend streaming television shows, and the more time you spend downloading your sketchy porn, the more a broadband provider can charge you.
It’s bullshit. And Netflix — in a filing with the FCC today — is going to bat for consumers by waging war against data caps.
Netflix, in its argument to the FCC, essentially says that data caps are useless. They don’t lower congestion, and ISPs don’t really save any money by not opening the floodgates. The caps exist for one reason only: To charge customers more. Comcast argues, in fact, that it’s only fair that those who use more data should have to pay more money.
Netflix, and 99 percent of consumers, disagree. If there’s no legitimate reason to institute data caps, they should be extinguished, as Netflix argues:
“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage-based pricing (‘UBP’) discourage a consumer’s consumption of broadband, and may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like. For this reason, the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed-line networks-and low data caps on mobile networks-may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing.”
There’s plenty of self-interest in this position for Netflix. The streaming service — which is attempting to create a virtual monopoly on quality television — wants its customers to be able to stream as much television as our idle hours will allow, but in this case, the wants of Netflix align well with our own desires and pocketbooks.