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Comcast will cap home internet data starting next week – and people are angry

Updated Dec 28th, 2020 8:09AM EST
Comcast Internet
Image: SFIO CRACHO/Adobe

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  • Comcast is adding a 1.2TB data cap for home users beginning on January 1. The company notes that 95% of subscribers will not be impacted by the change.
  • Users who go over the cap will be charged $10 for every 50GB of data consumed over the initial limit. Additional monthly charges will never exceed $100.
  • Comcast back in March temporarily suspended its data cap threshold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you rely on Comcast for your internet service, you might have to change your usage habits next year. Beginning on January 1, Comcast is implementing a data cap of 1.2TB for home users. Users who exceed that threshold will incur additional monthly fees.

While it’s possible, if not likely, that Comcast would have implemented the data cap outside of the coronavirus pandemic, we can only imagine that the pandemic helped make Comcast’s decision that much easier. With millions of Americans stuck at home over the past few months, internet browsing, music streaming, video-chatting, and video streaming skyrocketed and, in some instances, put a strain on some ISPs.

The silver lining in all of this is that the 1.2TB data cap isn’t likely to impact most people. According to Comcast, the new data cap will only come into play for an estimated 5% of its subscribers.

That’s all well and good, but again, with Americans spending more time at home than ever before, it’s easier to surpass that threshold than ever before.

Fox Business adds:

Streaming Netflix’s popular show “The Crown” in 4K resolution takes up an estimated seven gigabytes an hour and 280 gigabytes for the entire season, or over a fourth of a terabyte, according to Larson. Meanwhile, a Zoom call can cost one-and-a-half gigabytes an hour. For two kids taking online classes eight hours a day every week for school tacks on an additional 192 gigabytes each month.

Comcast, though, notes on its website that its data plan is big enough to allow for streaming HD movies for 18 hours a day throughout a given month. Incidentally, I checked my own data usage — as someone who streams a ton of video every single day — and found that I haven’t crossed the 500GB threshold yet. Still, your mileage may vary, especially if you have a large family that has 4-6 people using the internet heavily day-to-day. As you can imagine, there are a whole lot of angry Comcast customers right now who have taken to social media to vent.

So how much will it cost if you exceed Comcast’s 1.2TB limit?

Well, Comcast says you won’t be billed the first time you go over the soon-to-be imposed data cap. The second time you go over, however, you’ll be charged an additional $10/month for every 50GB of data you use. Comcast adds that additional charges will never exceed $100 for a given month, “no matter how much data you use.”

Naturally, if there’s a likelihood you’re going to go over the 1.2TB limit, you can always sign up for Comcast’s unlimited plan which should cost you about $11 more every month.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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