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CenturyLink joins Comcast in bringing data caps to home internet

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CenturyLink

Data caps have become an accepted part of getting internet access on your phone, and now caps are slowly starting to make their way into the world of home internet, too. Comcast, AT&T, and some other smaller internet providers either test data caps or have them in active use, and this week CenturyLink — home to just over 6 million broadband providers — said that it's looking into using data caps, too. "Our competition is using metered plans today," said Stewart Ewing, CenturyLink's chief financial officer, during an earnings call this week. "And we think it's an area we have to explore and consider." Ewing added that CenturyLink intends to start trials, likely later this year.

For the most part, we haven't seen major home broadband providers going all in on data caps. Comcast, for instance, has been rolling them out city by city as it looks to see how they perform. While it could lead to cheaper internet access for those who don't do much on their computers, it's concerning for the same reason that data caps have always been concerning on mobile. Data caps may look reasonable today, but later they might impair the rollout of data heavy services like 4K streaming or the development of other services that would require similarly huge amounts of data. You probably don't want to be watching another data meter every month, but ISPs might just make that happen.