Cable Tech

Comcast will keep data caps out of the Northeast in 2022

Comcast confirmed that it won't activate data caps and usage-based broadband policies in its Northeast division in 2022, effectively extending an earlier delay to keep the policy out of the region through the end of 2021. There's still no telling whether Comcast will revisit the plan for 2023 and beyond.

"We don't have plans to implement our data usage plan in our Northeast markets in 2022 at this time," a Comcast official told Light Reading.

The statement follows an assertion from Massachusetts Rep. Andy X. Vargas (D-Haverhill) that he had received word that Comcast had abandoned its plan to reintroduce its data policy in the region.

"The latest we have is that they have no intention of reintroducing the data caps at all, which is a huge win," Vargas told WHAV, a Haverhill-based station.

Vargas also trumpeted on Twitter than he is "[t]hrilled about this outcome," and that Comcast "now has no plans to reintroduce" the policy.

Word of Comcast's latest decision follows one made in February 2021 to delay the implementation of data usage and capping policies in its Northeast division until 2022.

Comcast had activated usage-based policies in its Northeast division (which includes parts of 13 states and Washington, D.C., and areas where the cable op competes with the cap-free Verizon Fios service) in early 2021. But Comcast put the policy back on ice there after catching heat from lawmakers about introducing the policy during a pandemic that had forced people to work and school from home and vastly increase their broadband data consumption.

Comcast's data usage policies are still active in its Central and West divisions. Comcast restored and updated its data usage policies in July 2020, raising the monthly limit to 1.2 terabytes – 200 gigabytes more than the 1TB limit that was in place prior to the original COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the current plan, residential broadband customers who exceed 1.2TB of data per month are charged $10 for each additional bucket of 50GB, up to a maximum of $100 per month (Comcast's maximum data overage charge prior to the pandemic was $200). Comcast also sells a standalone unlimited data option that costs an additional $30 per month.

Charter Communications is prohibited from implementing data caps until May 18, 2023, per a condition of its acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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