February 24, 2024

Vision Cim

Thank Business Its Friday

Comcast delays data caps in Northeast US for at least another year

A Comcast gateway modem-and-router device labeled with the Xfinity brand name.
Enlarge / Comcast’s xFi Advanced Gateway.

Comcast says it won’t deploy data caps in the Northeast US in 2022, giving another year’s reprieve to 12 states and a few other areas where Comcast customers don’t face overage fees. “We don’t have plans to implement our data usage plan in our Northeast markets in 2022 at this time,” Comcast said, according to a Light Reading article.

Comcast confirmed that quote to Ars today but declined to provide any further statement when asked about plans for 2023 and beyond. Comcast’s statement came after Massachusetts state Rep. Andy Vargas, a Democrat, told WHAV that “the latest we have is that they have no intention of reintroducing the data caps at all, which is a huge win.”

Vargas and 70 other Massachusetts lawmakers slammed Comcast a year ago when it announced a plan to start enforcing the data cap in the Northeast starting in January 2021.

“Network capacity is not an issue for Comcast or a valid excuse to charge customers more,” the lawmakers’ December 2020 letter said. “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.”

Comcast caved to pressure

Comcast backed down in early 2021, promising to delay data caps in those states until 2022. With 2022 now just a couple of weeks away, Comcast is holding off on data cap enforcement again.

While Vargas’ quote makes it sound like Comcast has dropped the data cap plan altogether, the company’s statement to news organizations only references 2022. We asked Vargas for more information on exactly what Comcast told him today and will update this article if we get a response.

Comcast rolled out enforcement of its data cap to most of the 39 states in which it operates between 2012 and 2016 but not in the Northeast states where the cable company faces competition from Verizon’s un-capped FiOS fiber-to-the-home service. The un-capped Comcast areas are in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and parts of North Carolina and Ohio.

Comcast’s data cap webpage today still said the cap will be “[a]pplicable in Northeast markets in 2022,” but the page will presumably be updated to reflect Comcast’s statement about not imposing the cap in 2022.

Unlimited data options

The cap is currently 1.2TB a month. Customers who exceed 1.2TB are charged an extra $10 plus tax for each additional block of 50GB, up to a maximum monthly overage charge of $100. Comcast provides one “courtesy month” that waives the overage fees one time only.

Unlimited data is included with Comcast’s Signature+ More, Super+ More, and Internet Essentials packages. Signature+ More and Super+ More are triple-play plans that include Internet, TV, and phone service, while Internet Essentials is a $10-per-month Internet-only plan for households with low incomes. There’s also no data cap on Comcast business Internet and Comcast’s fiber-to-the-home Gigabit Pro service that costs $300 a month.

For people on capped plans, there’s an option to buy unlimited data for an extra $30 a month. Comcast also used to offer unlimited data with its $25-per-month xFi Complete add-on, but the webpage says this is no longer available.

In other Comcast news this week, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory body found that Comcast’s claim that it offers “Unlimited 5G” on Xfinity Mobile is unsupported because the company reduces cellular-data speeds after 20GB of smartphone usage. Comcast agreed to stop making this claim, the National Advertising Division said Tuesday. The Comcast mobile service relies on the Verizon Wireless network—there aren’t any similar speed restrictions on Comcast home-Internet service.