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Comcast Announces Internet Data Caps And Overage Fees For Customers Coming In 2021

Gizmodo -Next year, Comcast will start charging Xfinity customers in northeastern US states overage fees for exceeding their monthly data cap. As The Verge reports, customers not on an unlimited plan who exceed 1.2 TB of data in a month will have to pay $10 for every 50 GB of data they go over, topping out at $100. To put that into context, streaming HD video over uses about 3 GB per hour. Cloud gaming over something like Stadia uses about 10 GB of data every hour at 1080p. So if you’re not watching your data usage carefully, you could end up with a higher than normal monthly bill.

The change affects Xfintiy customers in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as parts of North Carolina and Ohio.

The new fee won’t start right away, though. I suppose that’s some sort of consolation, but not the news anyone wants to hear right now in the middle of a pandemic that’s only getting worse in the U.S. Comcast will give Xfinity customers not on an unlimited plan a “credit” for the months of January and February 2021 to ease them into the new policy. Basically, for those two months those customers won’t see any overage fees on their account. After that, customers get one “courtesy” credit every year in case they accidentally go over.

Comcast says customers will be notified as they approach their monthly data limit, but the ISP currently doesn’t give its customers a way to independently verify meter readings. If you have Xfinity but use your own router, you might have the option to see traffic statistics in your router settings. If you do, you should be able to see real-time data usage as well as data usage over a set period time.

Everybody remember this guy?

Refresher for those that don't, he'a Ajit Pai, head of the FCC. 

And back in 2017, his name was everywhere because he was hellbent on ending "net neutrality". 

Net neutrality is a universal term with an elaborate definition that boils down to this: treating all data streamed over the internet the same. 

Doing away with net neutrality, which Pai's FCC did in 2017 thanks to massive MASSSIVE "lobbying" from major internet service providers and communications companies, essentially granted the internet service providers the ability to differentiate between streaming vs browsing, the ability to get a much closer look legally into what we search, read, buy, and watch and sell that information, and charge customers whatever they want. 

The Gordon Gecko wanna-be's will argue "this is just capitalism" and if you don't like it take your business elsewhere. Which is a justifiable argument if we're not talking utilities. And internet has arguably become as essential a utility in 2020 as any other. It's a necessity today. Especially with people spending as much time as they are required to now at home- working from home, locked down at home. You can see why this news, especially in a pandemic world is such a big deal.

What do data caps and fees mean exactly? 

Well you know how much flying an airline that has hidden fees and extra charges for every little thing sucks? Your ticket is one price but then to check a bag is extra, to be able to have circulation to your legs is extra, snacks extra, it all adds up. Well, imagine that with your internet bill now. 

It's bullshit. 

Mainly because the internet was created by tax dollars, by public entities (not Al Gore), with the intention for it to a free and open space. Along the way, it was seized by private companies who turned around and now sell its access to us. Yes, of course there's been billions of dollars spent on R&D and to expand its reach and capability, but for the sole intention of profit. There are still pockets of this country that don't have access to broadband service. 

Internationally, we’re an embarrassment: the country that invented the internet ranks tenth in average connection speeds, far below South Korea and Norway. And that number doesn’t capture the significant disparities in service that disproportionately affect poor and rural communities.

And if you had to guess which companies lay claim to the absolute worst companies in the country from a customer service & opinion perspective who would you guess? Internet & TV providers? With Comcast leading the way like the Patriots dynasty? 

It's been well documented on this site over the years about how awful a company Comcast is. Mainly by Nate

I'm lucky that I'm in an area that offers an alternative to Comcast, the 1980's era RCN which is one step above an Atari interface and goes down more often than your high school sweetheart. But for people that don't have an option this sucks. And if history is any indicator this data cap bullshit will probably be introduced by the other service providers in the near future also.

p.s. - spare me the argument that companies need to throttle data usage and charge for it because of strain on their network

Until the FCC rules data caps are arbitrary and ISPs stop squeezing every dime out of customers, we’re all screwed. Past research has shown that data caps don’t do anything to lessen the strain on ISPs networks, and our current internet infrastructure has held up just fine over the course of the pandemic. Back in March 2020, several major ISPs suspended data caps, waived overage fees, and even raised speeds. The internet didn’t crash and burn. Yet data caps and overage fees still exist when millions of people still need any and all amount of financial relief they can get because the pandemic is still nowhere close to going away.