*Disclaimer: I've worked in Cable for years*
They have been innovating. You can only fit so many channel frequencies into a line before you have to upgrade the line your using or find a new way of transmitting over the existing infrastructure. Any innovation that would allow for an exponential addition of channels to the existing infrastructure would be a gold mine. They're trying, and they're all in it together. When was the last time you heard of any one cable company inventing anything? They don't. They have a group dedicated
to research which helps all of them.. Anything that the group comes up with is made an industry standard, basically IEEE for cable.
But going back to the infrastructure: cable companies are obviously bound to this. And it costs a lot to both maintain and upgrade. The first half of the 2000's many companies used cable internet and later cheap phone service to multiple advantages.
1 was generating more revenue by increasing the amount of services their customers subscribed too. This also lead to increased customer loyalty, since its one thing to cancel just your internet service if a company pisses you off but another all together to consider dropping a company that hosts your TV, Internet, and phone.In upgrading a system of say, 50k subscribers you could double the amount of money it generated, which means
2 the increased revenue offset the costs of upgrading systems to support the new features. Think back 10 years ago, what was the fastest speed you saw in major cities? 3-5 Mbps if that. Some area's have 50+ Mbps now.
3 by increasing the capacity when HD came around many systems where already ready for the initial wave of channels. They did innovate, which is why many area's have 50+ HD channels available now if you have an HD converter. Without the investment into rewiring many area's, cable would never be about to touch satellite as far as competition in many area's.
Upgrading systems costs an insane amount of money. That more than anything is the reason that cable monopolies exist, the cost of entry prohibits competition. To install a new plant in an town of 50k takes something to the tune of 2-3 million dollars, with zero guarantee on how long it will take to recover that cost, if ever.
Cable lines have reached their limit unless someone comes up with a new way of multiplexing, and if its that significant a step up you'll see it deployed very rapidly. Some companies are switching to fiber but the cost is insane. And where as if someone cuts a cable line the service could be back up in an hour, if someone cuts a fiber line it could take significantly longer.
Having said all that, the "Usage Allowance Plan" is a crock of shit. It is exactly what it is being labeled as, a stop gap measure to keep people from dumping the TV service. Because cable companies get charged by the broadcasters based on their install base*, which includes internet only customers in some cases, they're trying to stop the current trend of "Internet for everything" since it inverts #1 & 2: less revenue generated, but now node capacity has to be increased. Does it make it fair for the consumer? Of course not. Are the amounts for the usage plans in use by the larger companies fair? Considering that a large % of the subscribers never come close to the cap, it depends. COULD they offer an 'unlimited' package? Yes. Which is why its a crock of shit, their could be a way to pay more if you use more, but thanks to other industries showing that micro-payments for additional service is a viable model for monopolies that isn't likely to happen. Hence this whole hullabaloo, they're trying to have their cake and squeeze money out of it too.
*ask anyone who's worked for a Cable call center about NFL network. Just don't do it when they're holding something stabby.