A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company's consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims.
The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are required for the public good: to manage traffic, to give everyone fair access to the "road," to stymie abusive or selfish "drivers," you shouldn't be using more than 250 gigabytes of data each month.
The reality of congestion, though, is more complicated, as Comcast slips in its internal documentation detailing a forthcoming change in the bandwidth use caps and how to explain it to customers.
You'll notice a few things here. First, they've finally given up on the "data threshold" nonsense that Comcast has tried to force onto the media. Instead, reps are being told to just call them "Data Usage Plans."
But the biggie is the last one, where reps are instructed to not use congestion as an excuse. As you can see in the document, it explicitly states:
Don't Say: "The program is about congestion management." (It is not.)
That parenthetical was not added by us. This is an admission by Comcast that its data cap has absolutely nothing to do with easing the load on its network.
Instead, it's — according to the script — about "Fairness and providing a more flexible policy to our customers."
It's a reminder that whatever the truth of network management is, what tech companies say about it is perception management: an effort to obscure reality to short-term business advantage irrespective of long-term consequences—or of people generally realizing they're full of it.