Bowing to Legislative Pressure, Comcast Delays Planned Data Cap and Penalties to 2022

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (Courtesy photograph.)

Comcast has again delayed its plans to impose data caps and penalties on northeast customers.

The internet provider had planned to enforce the new policy in April, then delayed it until August after legislators protested and now says caps and fees won’t begin until next year. State Sen. Susan L. Moran, representing the Plymouth and Barnstable District, credited Reps. Andy X. Vargas of Haverhill, and Dave Rogers of Cambridge and Sen. Harriette L. Chandler of Worcester for “their incredible work leading the effort against the implementation of these burdensome corporate policies.”

Moran joined group the legislators is asking Comcast to “discontinue this plan, and to reconsider any future attempts at imposing a data cap or any perversion of the principles of net neutrality in Massachusetts.” The letter further stated the commitment of the legislators to “ensuring that internet service providers treat their customers fairly” and acknowledged the importance of a “free and open internet.”

In a statement, Comcast said, “Over the last year, we have worked hard to keep all our customers connected to the internet. And we continue to support our customers by providing free Internet Essentials for 60 days; giving everyone (customers and non-customers alike) access to 1.5 million public WiFi hotspots for free; working with cities and schools to connect K-12 students at home; and providing free WiFi via our Lift Zones at hundreds of community centers nationwide.”

Customers under Comcast’s planned data cap without unlimited plans were to be charged $10 for every 50 gigabytes they use over the 1.2 terabyte limit, up to a maximum of $100 a month. Vargas said the company claims its planned data cap will affect only a handful of customers that are extreme data users. However, Vargas said ongoing studies also show a growing number of consumers are exceeding these caps, forcing them to pay overlimit fees or subscribe to a costly unlimited plan for as much as $30 more a month.

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