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After Pressure From Lawmakers, Comcast Delays Northeast Customers’ Overage Fees Until 2022

Internet Broadband cable
Jorge Guillen

Comcast — the internet, television, telephone and wireless provider — said it will postpone its data cap rate hike until next year.

The announcement, which was made on its website, detailed how customers in the Northeast were unfamiliar with how its data cap rate plans work, and the company was giving those customers extra time to educate themselves before fees are implemented. Comcast said only a “very small percentage” of customers are expected to need additional data.

The announcement comes after state attorney’s general from Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as state lawmakers, criticized the service provider for attempting to raise overage fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had first delayed the plans until July, but then pushed the data cap rate hike until at least next year.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement that the move was the “right call.” Tong said he spoke with families from around the state that are still trying to figure out remote learning and working virtually.

“While Comcast claims that only a small fraction of their consumers will be impacted, we have received far too many complaints and seen too much anecdotal evidence to take that at face value,” Tong said.

Just like its customers, Comcast and its subsidiary, Xfinity, are learning how to navigate the internet with more people working and learning from home. The company said it had invested over $15 billion since 2017 to build a better service for its customers.

Statista, a German company that specializes in market and consumer data, reported the first weeks of the pandemic saw an 18% increase of home data usage with the daily usage exceeding 16 gigabytes.

Tong had asked Comcast, the nation’s largest broadband provider by total subscribers, for the number of customers it serves in Connecticut, but those numbers have yet been released. The company serves 87 towns in Connecticut, most of New England and all East Coast states down to Washington D.C. and West Virginia.