Business & Investment

Cable companies are once again capping data on home internet services — this is the cost if you get over it

If you’re surprised by the high cable prices this month, it’s possible that you’ve spent too much time on the Internet.

More and more cable companies are beginning to impose so-called “data caps” on home Internet services. As of this month, the list includes Comcast, the country’s largest cable provider.

Comcast from January 1st

We have reintroduced a data cap on Internet services, limiting households to 1.2 terabytes of data per month. (Terabytes are equivalent to 1,000 gigabytes). The cap is currently in force in 27 states across the country, and Comcast operates in 39 states, but the company said in a consumer report that it wouldn’t start billing customers beyond its allowance until March.

As soon as charges are incurred, they may be summed up. If you exceed the limit, you will be charged $ 10 for each 50 gigabytes of excess data, up to $ 100 per month. If the household does not have access to all of the 50 gigabytes of additional data billed, the company will not apportion this amount. (Comcast did not immediately respond to the request for comment.)

Many companies Sign the pledge At the beginning of the pandemic, many are typical of them, as households are doing more work at home, to abandon data caps and speed up the internet, but because the pandemic wears. I returned to the operation.

“Data caps have been around for years, and for many consumers, data caps aren’t that much of an issue,” said Tyler Cooper, editor-in-chief of Broadband Now, an Internet provider comparison site. I will. “However, for those who frequently stream or rely on two-way communication apps like Zoom, these limits can often be exorbitant.”

In most cases, you will be charged a Comcast-like fee if you exceed the limit. However, this is not always the case. “In most cases, you’ll find that exceeding your monthly data quota will increase your billing amount or slow you down to the next billing cycle,” said James Wilcox, Senior Electronics Editor for Consumer Reports. .. “Overage charges can fluctuate, but it is common to charge an additional $ 10 for every 50GB of additional data.”

Here’s how data caps are categorized among different cable providers across the country.

Company Spokesperson, Consumer Reports

(Mediacom offers a low-cost plan with no data caps for low-income families with children participating in free or discounted school lunch programs. AT & T

A spokeswoman for the company said it will continue to provide unlimited data for AT & T customer access until June.

How easy is it to hit the cap?

Not everyone needs to worry about these data limits and the associated additional charges. The cap is generally so high that it applies to only about 5% of households, said Roger Enter, founder and analyst of communications research firm Recon Analytics.

These limits may seem high now, but as more and more people use the Internet, they will soon disappear. Let’s say your cable company has a terabyte limit. When streaming video from a site like Netflix
It uses about 3 gigabytes of data per hour. According to the internet comparison service

To reach the monthly limit, you’ll need to watch a total of about 333 hours of content on Netflix. That’s about 11 hours a day.

To reach the monthly limit, you’ll need to watch a total of about 333 hours of content on Netflix. That’s about 11 hours a day. That may seem overkill, but if you have four families, it will start to become more feasible once all the streaming content from different devices reaches that limit.

Next, take into account online learning and video conferencing with Zoom

For work and internet-connected devices, it’s easy to see how you can reach these limits. Households that had already planned with data caps before the pandemic may begin to notice those limits now that the pandemic has changed their daily lives.

“All evidence shows that US consumers use more broadband data each year,” Wilcox said. “What looks like a huge amount of data today can feel limited in the next few years.”

Why cable companies impose these caps

“Additional bandwidth is very cheap. We’re talking about cents,” Entner said. Thus, capping cable companies do not significantly offset the additional costs associated with providing more coverage to households. Rather, they are just making money.

Internet service providers can avoid this because there is no competition in most markets. This means that customers cannot simply switch providers if they are dissatisfied with the price.

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“For most people, cable companies dominate high-speed Internet services,” said Steve Blum, president of Terrass Venture Associates, a consulting firm focused on developing community broadband systems. “What they see is the result of only one choice for high-speed Internet services. Companies that offer it can raise prices to the point of maximizing profits.”

The cap could also serve as a terrifying tactic to encourage households to upgrade their Internet services to more expensive packages, rather than risking overage charges, Wilcox said.

Some cable companies are opposed to capping the data their customers use.Frontier Communications Spokesperson
+ 2.44%

And Verizon

We have confirmed that there is no upper limit on the data for either plan.

Especially the charter spectrum
The second largest cable operator in the country does not have a cap because it was a condition that the company purchased Time Warner. The limit will be lifted in May 2023. A spokesman for one company said Spectrum has no plans to implement the cap. But last year, the company asked the Federal Communications Commission to waive the merger provisions, but the request was dropped after President Joe Biden took office.

However, the choice not to cap the data is not necessarily a well-meaning gesture of a small cable company or Internet service provider. According to Blum, these companies generally follow the leadership of large companies like Comcast, if everything else is the same.

“The limits of what local and local businesses can do are actually a matter of their abilities,” he said.

“It takes some back office technology to impose data caps and bill on consumption. Not all cable companies have it,” he added. “As with the more sophisticated ones, Comcast is at least the most sophisticated cable company we have in this country on a large scale.”

Cable companies are once again capping data on home internet services — this is the cost if you get over it Cable companies are once again capping data on home internet services — this is the cost if you get over it

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