First, the good news: Comcast is upping its data cap for broadband Internet customers from 300GB (gigabytes) to 1TB (terabyte) in the markets where the company is testing what it calls "data-usage plans." Those tests are now going on in more than two dozen locations around the United States.

At the same time, Comcast is saying it won't charge any customer more than $200 each month for exceeding that cap. Now for the bad news: the company is increasing the price of its unlimited data usage plan at the end of the year from $35 to $50. That fee is added to customers' basic monthly charges. 

As we've explained previously, we're not big fans of data caps or usage-based pricing, especially now, when more people are looking to loosen their pay TV strangleholds by turning to streaming entertainment options, which can burn up a lot of data.

For customers who have these plans, the higher cap will obviously be a welcome change when in goes into effect on June 1. The company couldn't immediately be reached for comment. However, in a letter to customers, posted on DSL Reports, Comcast Cable executive VP Marcien Jenckes put the new cap in context by stating that it will allow viewers to stream more than 700 hours of HD video each month. In a recent blog post, Jenckes indicated that only "a very tiny portion of our customer super users (less than 1 percent of our customer base)" use more than a terabyte of data in month; according to the post, typical users consume about 60GB.

Consumers who exceed 1TB can buy additional 50GB blocks of data for $10 each; they get added automatically. But no matter how much data you use, you won't be billed more than $200 in overage fees during any month. Comcast says it will notify customers—using in-browser, email, or mobile alerts—when they hit 90 percent, 110 percent, and 125 percent of their monthly allotment. There's a two-month grace period for exceeding the cap so customers can get used to the new plan.

While Comcast presents this as a good deal for consumers, the changes may just serve to push high-use customers, fearful of $200-a-month overages, to Comcast's unlimited service tier. The price hike on unlimited service applies to new customers starting in June, but anyone currently on the plan can keep the lower rate through the end of the year.

Comcast's customers will have to figure out which approach represents a better deal. But, in general, broadband caps are often criticized as a way for Internet providers to boost their broadband revenues while limiting Internet alternatives to traditional pay TV services. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.