Smit: Comcast Won't Impose Usage Charges


New York - Comcast Cable Communications president Neil Smit said the nation's largest cable operator won't push for hefty charges for heavy users of its broadband service, despite recent Federal Communications Commission moves that would appear to open the door for price increases.
Smit, speaking that the UBS Global Media & Communications conference here Tuesday, said that Comcast has set a monthly usage cap of about 250 gigabytes (average monthly Internet usage is between 2 and 4 gigabytes) after which it would work with customers to curb their bandwidth consumption.
"We don't have plans for usage-based pricing now," Smit said.
At the conference the Comcast executive also demonstrated a new IPad application - called Play Now - that will enable customers to view VOD movies and programming on their IPad remotes. That app is expected to be available in a few weeks.
Smit added that Comcast also is bucking the trend on offering smaller, lower cost video packages. Time Warner Cable unveiled TV Essentials, a $39.99 per month package last month.
Smit said that Comcast has been offering a digital economy package for $39.99 per month ($29.99 if part of a bundle) with about 75 channels (25 in HD) for several months, primarily as a retention tool. He said the company has not been promoting the package aggressively and did not expect that stance to change. Late, in a separate interview, Smit said that Comcast also has been offering for quite a while a higher end package similar to Time Warner Cable's Signature Home offering, for about $179 per month. Comcast continues to evaluate that offering.