What just happened? Though cellular connectivity restrictions aren't new, Comcast is taking things a step further by implementing a 480p video quality limit and reducing hotspot speeds from 4G to 3G. The most controversial part of this change will likely be the company's reasoning; Comcast says they hope the restrictions will help customers "conserve data."
Comcast is making some changes to their Xfinity Mobile wireless connection plan. The company has sent out emails to customers detailing a few new restrictions it will be placing on their connections moving forward.
Specifically, Comcast plans to implement a 480p video quality cap for cellular connections, down from the previous 720p quality cap. The company says its goal is to help their customers keep their data usage under control if they subscribe to the Xfinity Unlimited plan.
What Comcast is referring to here is likely the throttling that occurs after an Unlimited customer uses up 20GB of data during a given billing cycle. Their cellular connectivity speeds are downgraded to roughly 1.5Mbps, which isn't terrible, but it's far from ideal for heavy data users.
As such, using Comcast's reasoning, the new quality cap could prevent customers from accidentally going over their data soft cap, preventing their speeds from being throttled.
If you're not a big fan of this quality cap, Xfinity customers can reportedly request a 720p upgrade for free, but HD video will eventually come at an additional cost.
That's not all, though. Comcast will also be placing a substantial restriction on the use of cellular hotspots, by replacing 4G hotspot speeds with 3G, 600kbps speeds.
In a statement to CNET, Comcast said this change would "allow customers to continue to do many of the things they enjoy doing online." It's not clear precisely what the company means by that, however.
Comcast's By The Gig data plan, which charges $12 per GB of data consumed, will not be subject to any of these restrictions for the time being. For everyone else, the company plans to roll out these changes in the coming weeks.