Cox Communications, the third largest cable provider in the country, has just expanded its efforts to cap the data usage of its customers in a major way. Cox, which boasts over four and a half million subscribers, will now charge customers in Kansas, Connecticut, and Arkansas an additional fee if they go over their plan limits of either 1TB or 2TB, depending on their level of service. The change will also affect users in Omaha, Nebraska, and Sunny Valley, Idaho.
Cox had already been testing data caps in select areas starting with Cleveland last year and then expanding to customers in both Florida and Georgia. As The Verge reports, customers in affected states have already begun receiving usage alerts notifying them of their data limits, and Cox has updated its support page to reflect the data cap being enforced in the new areas.
As Cox notes on its website, users who surpass their monthly plan limits will be automatically provided with additional “blocks” of data in 50GB increments. Each additional 50GB a customer users will appear on their bill as an extra $10 charge. The company promises that no throttling will occur, and that the speed and quality of the service will remain constant whether a customer goes over their data limit or not.
What’s particularly interesting about Cox’s decision to expand its data caps is the timing. President Donald Trump just appointed Ajit Pai to head the FCC, and it’s no secret that Pai is a stern critic of net neutrality and an “open” internet. With an FCC chief that is firmly opposed to what he perceives as too much regulation, cable companies like Cox may feel emboldened to push the envelope and see just how many restrictions they can roll out before receiving blowback. Let’s hope it’s not too much.