- Comcast plans to add data capsules to its home Internet plans starting in January.
- In 14 states and the District of Columbia, customers with Xfinity Internet plans that are not unlimited will be limited to 1.2 TB of data per month or subject to excessive fees.
- Comcast has had data capsules in other parts of the country since 2016.
- Visit the Business Insider website for more stories.
Comcast is adding a data loophole to some of its home Internet plans starting in January. The telecommunications giant recently confirmed that it introduced a 1.2 TB limit on Xfinity Internet plans in 1
If customers who do not have unlimited plans go over this ceiling, they will have to pay $ 10 for each additional 50 GB of data. The extra fees maximum up to $ 100. Although the plan changes start in January, Comcast said customers will not face additional fees in January and February. Instead, they get a “credit” for the two months and another free pass for another month during the rest of the year. News about the cap was first reported by the law firm Stop the Cap.
The change comes at a time when customers are increasingly dependent on Internet access for everything from teleworking to school to socializing. In June 2019, Americans spent an average of approx. 271 GB data pr. Month. By June 2020, the number had risen to 380 GB, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The cap is of particular interest to wire cutters who stream TV over the Internet instead of watching cable, and gamers. Blockbuster games like “Madden” and “Assassin’s Creed” can range from 50 to 100 GB for download, and many games get updates that also use data. Online multiplayer games on games like “Call of Duty” or “Fortnite” also rely on data.
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Data from the Wall Street Journal on data consumption for different devices shows that people spend the most data on streaming players, game consoles and connected TVs every day, with streaming players loading 5.4 GB, game consoles at 4.4 GB and connected TVs at 3.6 GB. Computers track these platforms at less than 2 GB a day, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the wake of reports, some consumers wrote that they would end their Comcast service, while others slammed Comcast for imposing a limit at a time when Americans are increasingly dependent on the Internet. Others wondered if 1.2 TB was a big enough cap to accommodate most families with no problems.
“This is why monopolies are bad. Comcast can take advantage of us during a pandemic just because it feels like it,” the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Comcast needs to break up.”
Comcast did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but addressed the customer’s concerns on Twitter.
“About 95 percent of our customers use less than 1.2 TB and are not affected by this plan – even with the increase in usage as customers teach and work from home under COVID-19,” Comcast wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“1.2 TB is a huge amount of data and you can do a lot with it in one month. Stream about 500 hours of HD video a month or use almost 3,500 hours of video conferencing (Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, Houseparty, etc.), enough for video conferencing for almost 4 months in a row, ”it added.
“This data plan is based on a principle of fairness. Those who use more Internet data pay more. And those who use less Internet data pay less,” Comcast wrote.
The change will affect customers in states throughout the Northeast, including Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, according to screenshots of Comcast’s website published by Stop the Cap. Verizon is a competitor in these regions.
Outside the Northeast, customers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and the District of Columbia may also be affected. In other parts of the country, customers without unlimited plans have had data capsules since 2016, according to The Verge.