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Comcast delays Northeast US data cap enforcement to 2022

Following pressure from politicians and the public, Comcast won’t enforce a 1.2TB data cap on customers in the Northeast US until 2022, the company said in an announcement spotted by ArsTechnica. “We are delaying implementation of our new data plan in our Northeast markets until 2022,” Comcast said. “We recognize that our data plan was new for our customers in the Northeast, and while only a very small percentage of customers need additional data, we are providing them with more time to become familiar with the new plan.”

This is the second enforcement delay Comcast has announced in less than a month. At the beginning of February, the company said it wouldn’t start charging customers overage fees until July 2021 following pressure from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Delaying this ill-timed data cap until at least 2022 is the right call,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong after yesterday’s announcement.

These caps will be familiar if you don’t live in Comcast’s Northeast region, which consists of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Most of Comcast’s customers have dealt with them for years, and that won’t be changing. Even though the new rollout is delayed, Comcast told Ars Technica that its customers in 27 other states wouldn’t be getting a break from the caps and overage fees.

The ISP’s reasoning for the delay, according to the announcement, is that the company realizes that the “data plan was new for [its] customers in the Northeast,” and it wanted to “provid[e] them with more time to become familiar with the new plan.” This isn’t a courtesy the company extended to other states when it expanded the data caps to them. But to be fair, there also wasn’t a global pandemic going on during those rollouts.

Comcast first announced it would implement a data cap in the Northeast US in November. For customers who went over their data allotment, the telecom had planned to charge them $10 for every additional 50GB they went over the 1.2TB limit, up to a maximum of $100 per billing cycle. To ‘ease’ customers into the new cap, Comcast said it would waive any overage fees in January and February, and throw in a yearly bill credit people could use if they went over their limit at any point after the first two months of 2021. The only way to avoid overage fees altogether was to spend an extra $30 per month on the company’s unlimited plan or $25 for its “xFi Complete” package. Since it first started talking about the cap, Comcast has maintained that 95 percent of its customers use far less than 1.2TB every month.

The delay helps customers who live in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. However, it doesn’t affect those who live in any of the other 27 states that make up Comcast’s 39-state footprint. In those markets, the company has had a data cap since 2016. And while the delay is welcome news for those who live in the Northeast US, there’s still uncertainty ahead as Comcast didn’t say when in 2022 it plans to implement the data cap.

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