Comcast, the ISP that was twice voted the worst company in America in a Consumerist poll (in 2010 and 2014), is about to impose data caps on Xfinity customers in over a dozen US states. Affected subscribers who go over 1.2 terabytes of data in any given month will be charged an overage fee.
The decision comes as Coronavirus cases continue to spike. Though there are at least two promising vaccines on the horizon that will hopefully curb the pandemic, it will not happen overnight—working at home could be the norm well into 2021, depending on how things go.
In that regard, the data caps arrive at one of the worst times possible. As spotted by The Verge, the ISP intends to ease customers into the 1.2TB data limit starting in January 2021. For the first two months, customers who exceed their data cap will be given a courtesy credit, sort of like getting a warning ticket for speeding. After that, customers not on an unlimited plan will be charged $10 for each 50GB of data beyond the cap, up to $100 total.
Comcast reasons that the vast majority of customers never use 1.2TB of data in any given month—according to Comcast, only 5 percent of customers had hit that mark in the past six months, with the median usage being 308GB.
Nevertheless, this is crummy news for those affected. The push to work from home and to continue quarantining means there is the potential to consume a lot more data than a person might otherwise. Netflix, game downloads, video chats—it all adds up.
The data caps will apply to customers living in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, along with certain areas in North Carolina and Ohio.