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Comcast delays new data caps for at least another year, which is weird because it should be forever

Comcast delays new data caps for at least another year, which is weird because it should be forever


Twelve states avoid onerous fees till 2023 — now do the rest of us

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Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The majority of Comcast Xfinity internet customers have suffered ridiculous and unnecessary data caps since 2016, and the company planned to extend those caps to a dozen more US states this year. But after taking well-deserved flak for attempting to bilk customers in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast delayed them once, twice, and now a third time — now they won’t arrive until 2023 at the earliest, Light Reading reports.

“We don’t have plans to implement our data usage plan in our Northeast markets in 2022 at this time,” a Comcast spokesperson told the publication.

Does that mean the planned 1.2TB data cap for those states is gone for good, or is Comcast simply biding its time? Hard to say. Technically, “We don’t have plans ... at this time” is a turn of phrase with plenty of wiggle room: Comcast could make new plans tomorrow if it wanted. It just wouldn’t be good for the company’s public image.

But Light Reading suggests it might actually be an end to that plan, because Massachusetts State Representative Andy Vargas (D) is claiming a political victory — he says he helped get Comcast to abandon the expansion of its data caps altogether.

To which I say: what about the rest of us? The majority of Comcast internet customers are already limited to that same 1.2TB unless we pay Comcast an extra $30-a-month surcharge for unlimited data, or paying $10 per 50GB per month when we go over, and the same logic Vargas and co. used should apply to the entire country.

In case you’re not convinced that data caps are unnecessary, here’s a snippet of a popular story I wrote almost exactly one year ago:

Forget for a moment that Comcast itself was caught red-handed explaining that data caps have nothing to do with network congestion. Forget that the CEOs of several smaller ISPs have admitted that internet capacity is anything but scarce. Forget that Comcast disabled its own congestion management system because it found it was unnecessary. Forget even that Comcast is a wildly profitable company whose cable division spends only a tenth of its yearly revenues on keeping that network strong. The proof that data caps are a swindle is something you probably witnessed yourself earlier this year: Comcast, AT&T, and T-Mobile all suspended their data caps when the pandemic hit, and the internet kept on working without a hitch.

Just remember: internet data caps are not like pizza.

Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.