“Starting in March 2021, customers not on an unlimited data plan who exceed 1.2 TB in a month will have a one-time courtesy month credit under the plan applied to their accounts, and will be responsible for any data overage changes after that,” Comcast said on an official company website. “Blocks of 50 GB will automatically be added to customers’ accounts for an additional fee of $10 each plus tax. Charges will not exceed $100 each month, no matter how much data a customer uses.”
Comcast customers will be warned once they approach the limit, as well as when they have exceeded it, with text messages, emails, and even on-screen notifications.
The caps will apply in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey, as well as parts of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia. Comcast is based in Philadelphia, which is part of the affected region.
On an FAQ page, Comcast says that customers will not be charged for going over the new cap in January, February or March.
“In select markets* where we are introducing the 1.2 Terabyte Internet Data Plan, we’re offering complimentary credits for any overage charges during January and February of 2021,” the company said. “This means if you are not on our unlimited data plan and you exceed 1.2 TB, you will see those usage charges reflected on your February and March bills (detailing usage from January and February, respectively) but complimentary credits will be applied to your account to offset those charges.”
Stop the Cap appears to have been the first to notice Comcast’s announcement, adding that these states are “the last remaining major regions of the country where it has avoided imposing them for years.”
That anti-cap website advises that Comcast customers switch providers and that they should notify the cable giant that the imposition of data caps is the reason why they are leaving. It also suggests that customers “organize a noisy but legal protest in front of a local cable store or Comcast’s headquarters and contact newspapers, radio and TV stations in advance to invite them to cover the event,” and also that they contact their state and local lawmakers to let them know about the issue.
The change comes during the coronavirus pandemic, and especially during a period of renewed lockdowns in some parts of the country, which are likely to see more families having more people than usual under one roof, working, studying and using much more Internet than they typically do. However, the changes go into effect next March, when it appears vaccinations for the coronavirus will have begun and life will begin to approach normality again.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.