An anonymous reader shares a report: James Wright had never worried about staying under his data cap. Then he bought a 4K TV set and started binge-watching Netflix in ultra-high definition. The picture quality was impressive, but it gobbled up so much bandwidth that his internet service provider, Comcast, warned that he had exceeded his monthly data limit and would need to pay more. “The first month I blew through the cap like it was nothing,” said Wright, 50, who lives with his wife in Memphis, Tenn. With a 4K TV, he said, “It’s not as hard to go through as you’d think.” All that bingeing and ultra-HD video can carry a high price tag. As online viewing grows, more subscribers are having to pay up for faster speeds. Even then, they can run into data limits and overage fees. Some opt for an unlimited plan that can double the average $52-a-month internet bill.
Wright is what the cable industry calls a power user — someone who chews through 1 terabyte of data or more each month. Though still rare, the number of power users has doubled in the past year as more families stream TV shows, movies and video games online. They should continue to grow as new video services from Disney, AT&T, Apple and NBCUniversal arrive in coming months. In the first quarter of this year, about 4% of internet subscribers consumed at least 1 terabyte of data — the limit imposed by companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Cox. That’s up from 2% a year ago, according to OpenVault, which tracks internet data usage among cable subscribers in the United States and Europe. “The percentage of subscribers exceeding this level will continue to grow rapidly,” OpenVault founder Mark Trudeau said.
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