Comcast hesitantly goes down data-cap enforcement in 12 states for remainder of 2021

Comcast data cap blasted by lawmakers as it expands into 12 more states

Enlarge / A Comcast van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018.

Comcast is postponing a strategy to apply its 1.2TB information cap as well as excess costs in the Northeast United States up until 2022 after stress from consumers as well as legislators in numerous states.

“[W]e are delaying implementation of our new data plan in our Northeast markets until 2022,” Comcast stated in a statement the other day. “We recognize that our data plan was new for our customers in the Northeast, and while only a very small percentage of customers need additional data, we are providing them with more time to become familiar with the new plan.”

Comcast has actually imposed the information cap in 27 of the 39 states in which it runs given that 2016, yet not in the Northeast states where Comcast deals with competitors from Verizon’s un-capped FiOS fiber-to-the-home solution. In November 2020, Comcast introduced it would certainly bring the cap to the various other 12 states as well as the District of Columbia beginning in January 2021. But with the other day’s news, no person in those 12 states as well as DC will certainly be billed overage costs by Comcast in all of 2021.

“Delaying this ill-timed data cap until at least 2022 is the right call,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong stated the other day. “I have heard from families across Connecticut who easily exceeded this cap while studying and working remotely. Far from so-called super users, these were stories from typical Connecticut families merely trying to stay employed and educate their children during a global pandemic. To raise rates on these families at the very moment they were most reliant on broadband access and least able to pay more was simply unconscionable.”

The hold-up relates to Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

Comcast obscure on prepare for 2022

Comcast’s initial prepare for the Northeast enforced the cap in January 2021 while offering politeness months in which recently topped consumers can surpass 1.2TB scot-free, causing the very first excess fees being analyzed for information use in the April 2021 payment duration. That strategy attracted stricture from legislators, consisting of regulations in Massachusetts that would certainly prohibit information caps as well as rate walks up until the pandemic mores than.

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Comcast reacted in late January by postponing excess fees up until the July payment duration, yet the added couple of months really did not silent the dispute. Yesterday’s news of a hold-up up until 2022 did not define in which month of 2022 the very first excess fees will certainly show up. We asked Comcast if it intends to enforce the caps on the Northeast in January 2022 or at some point later on yet really did not obtain a response.

Unlucky consumers in 27 various other states

Comcast did inform us that there are no adjustments in the various other 27 states, where consumers will certainly remain to deal with caps as well as excess costs. Comcast’s persistence on remaining to bill overage costs in the majority of its region keeps the unequal status in which a client’s state of house establishes whether they need to take care of Comcast’s most out of favor plan. Comcast’s excess fees are $10 for each and every extra block of 50GB, as much as an optimum of $100 monthly. Customers can stay clear of excess fees by investing an added $30 a month on limitless information or $25 for the “xFi Complete” strategy that consists of limitless information as well as the rental expense for Comcast’s xFi entrance modem as well as router.

As we kept in mind in previous protection, Comcast stated it would not bill Northeast individuals for limitless information strategies up until at the very least April. “Customers in our Northeast markets who have signed up for xFi Complete or Unlimited haven’t actually been billed because of the complimentary months. So [there is] no need for refunds or credits,” Comcast informed us today.

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Though Comcast declares the 1.2TB cap just impacts “super users,” the percent of Internet individuals striking that mark is constantly raising, as well as broadband use has actually increased greater than normal throughout the pandemic. OpenVault research study discovered that over 14 percent of US-based clients made use of over 1TB a month in Q4 2020, up from 8.8 percent of clients in Q3 2020, as we reported recently. The percent of consumers making use of over 2TB a month greater than increased to 2.2 percent in the very same period. Median month-to-month use in Q4 2020 was 293.8GB as well as typical use was 482.6GB.

“The explosion in data consumption during 2020 has established a new normal of bandwidth usage that is especially visible when compared with pre-pandemic time periods,” OpenVault stated.

Network ability not a “valid excuse”

Data-excess costs increase Comcast’s income, yet restricting month-to-month information use no matter when in the month that use happens is not an efficient device for avoiding network blockage in genuine time. Comcast has actually taken pride in its network’s solid efficiency in the pandemic, once more revealing that information caps are a revenue play as opposed to a requirement.

Tong informed Comcast in a letter previously this month that “[b]roadband Internet access is an essential public service, particularly during the ongoing pandemic… The last thing our residents need to worry about at this time is whether they will run afoul of data caps, or incur significant unanticipated expense in order to remain connected.”

“Network capacity is not an issue for Comcast or a valid excuse to charge customers more,” 71 Massachusetts legislators informed Comcast in a letter in late December. “Comcast itself claims it has plenty of capacity across its network, including areas where no caps are currently imposed… It is inconceivable that Comcast would choose to impose this ‘cap and fee’ plan during a pandemic, when many Massachusetts residents are forced to work and attend school from home via the Internet.”