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State Legislators: Comcast Data Cap is 'Perversion' of Net Neutrality

(Image credit: Comcast)

A dozen Massachusetts state representatives have "strongly urged" Comcast to call off the 1.2 TB cap on service plans across its entire footprint that would go into effect on new and existing plans in April, after a three-month grace period.

Also Read: Comcast Expands 1.2TB Data Cap

In a letter to Mark Reilly, SVP of government and regulatory relations for Comcast's Northeast division, the legislators invoked the pandemic--a copy of which was tweeted by Rep. Andy Vargas, they said that while Comcast has explained the cap will only apply to a handful of extreme users, a growing number of customers are exceeding "arbitrary" caps and that the overage fees are unjustified--in this case $10 for every extra 50 gigabytes, up to $100 per month.

They said Comcast should "reconsider any future attempts at imposing a data cap or any "perversion of the principles of net neutrality in Massachusetts."

Comcast said that 95% of its customers don’t approach 1.2 TB, with average monthly usage coming in at about 308 GB.

But OpenVault, which provides data to cable operators about their networks, released a report suggesting that within 2-3 years, 5%-10% of internet users will consume 2 TB or more data each month. 

"It is inconceivable that that Comcast would chose to impose this 'cap and fee' plan during a pandemic, when many Massachusetts residents are forced to work and attend school form home via the internet," the legislators said. "The last thing our consumers need is to worry about paying more for the same quality of service."

Customers will be advised when they’re approaching their usage limit. Those customers can opt out of the cap and essentially render their service unlimited for an additional $30 a month. Gigabit Pro and business tier customers are exempt.

Daniel Frankel contributed to this story

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.