Data Caps Are The Devil For Residents Of Rural Alaskan Towns; Are They In Our Future?

GCIWhat if you weren’t able to binge watch House of Cards on Netflix earlier this week? It would be agony, right? For residents in some rural areas of Alaska the ability to binge watch their favorite shows, or enjoy that viral video online, quickly drain their pocketbooks thanks to data caps.

The idea of managing your data usage so closely seems foreign to most of us. Although, with the recent possible marriage announcement of Time Warner Cable and Comcast data caps could be in our future. But for now, we have to look at the way data caps, and their overage fees, play out in rural Alaska.

One woman said she pays $100 a month for 25 GB of data. When she went over by 2 GB after watching a movie on Netflix her monthly bill doubled, Business Insider reports.

“Now, I don’t even consider Netflix until near the very end of the month, and I have to be sure that I’m no more than three-fourths of the way into my total data, at the absolute most,” the woman tells Business Insider. “So it’s a very serious business – I have to poll people to figure out what that one very special movie should be.”

In another instance, two roommates racked up a $3,500 overcharge in two weeks after allowing Dropbox to continuously sync their computers.

Why don’t they just switch broadband providers, you ask? Well, they can’t. GCI, a communications company, has a monopoly and costs aren’t likely to change anytime soon.

And for those of you thinking you’ll never have to worry about a data cap in sprawling cities, you might want to think again.

While we have to wait to see what the new potential marriage of Time Warner Cable and Comcast brings in terms of data caps, it’s not hard to imagine the issue coming up in the future. Several broadband providers including Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner have all experimented with data caps in the past.

Why People In Alaska Can’t Watch Netflix Without Fearing A $100 Surcharge [Business Insider]