Comcast has announced that it’s planning to charge customers of home internet services if they exceed 1.2 TB a month. The plan is slated to start next year and will largely affect customers in the north-eastern United States. The same cap is already in effect for Comcast customers who use non-limited plans in several parts of the country. According to the plan, customers on unlimited plans will be charged $10 for every 50 GB of data above the 1.2 TB mark.
The company will, however, charge a maximum of $100. To help customers ease into the new payments, Comcast is offering a grace period. For example, if a customer goes above 1.2 TB say in March, they will get a grace period in April where they won’t have to pay the additional charges. But if they go above 1.2 TB in May, then the $10 for 50 GB will now apply. Additionally, Comcast will notify customers when they start approaching the 1.2 TB threshold.
According to initial plans, the states that are expected to be affected by these new charges include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, and the District of Columbia. Some parts of Ohio and North Carolina are also expected to be affected.
It’s very unlikely that a lot of people will pay these additional charges, though. Comcast notes that over 95% of all customers don’t go beyond the 1.2 TB threshold per month. Usually people don't even get to half that threshold. Recent data shows that median monthly data use in US households stands at around 308 GB. However, there’s a chance this number may rise slightly as people stay and work from home as a result of the coronavirus.
In March this year, Comcast had announced that it was suspending all data caps for about 60 days in an effort to give people more leeway when using the Internet during the pandemic. The company also noted that it was going to raise Internet speeds in low-income households at no extra cost. The company was one of the few internet service providers that remained committed to the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.”
The plan, which was introduced by the US Federal Communication Commission, made participating companies commit to not terminate Internet services for both households and businesses hit by the pandemic. There were also commitments by these companies to set up public Wi-Fi hotspots around the country and open them up for free for all Americans. This pledge was set to expire in June this year.
But unlike other companies, Comcast decided to continue offering relief to customers even after the pledge’s window. The company notes that it’s working with individual customers to offer flexible payment plans that are suited to their needs. But it seems like from next year the company might just ease back on these relief plans even though the effects of the pandemic are still felt across the US.