Comcast Xfinity capping internet data usage, surcharge fees coming this summer

Investigators

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa (WHTM) — Comcast Xfinity customers, like Felicia Soule, have been getting notices about their data usage.

“I received an alert on my phone that said we were at 90% usage and I was like ‘what is this?’ because normally we don’t get that,” Soule SAID.

The alerts are being sent out to warn customers that Xfinity’s Internet Data Usage Plan is being capped at 1.2 terabytes a month. If customers go over the plan they can be charged $10, plus tax, up to a maximum of $100 per month for each additional 50 GB of data used over 1.2TB in a month.

“Our data plan is structured in a way that the very small percentage of our customers who use more than 1.2 terabytes of monthly data and generate the greatest demand for network development and capacity pay more for their increased usage. For those super users, we have unlimited data options available,” said Robert Grove, VP Communications, Comcast Keystone Region.

According to Comcast, 1.2 Terabytes a month allows customers to video conference for 3,500 hours, watch 1,200 hours of distance learning videos, stream 500 hours of high-definition video
or play more than 34,000 hours of online games.

Soule says her data plan goes quickly.

“Once the kids were home on remote learning it was 5 days a week. They were constantly doing zooms during the day and when they weren’t doing zooms they were playing video games or playing music. I also do a lot of work on the computer with the volunteer work that I do,” Soule said.

A Comcast spokesperson says surrounding areas with Comcast Xfinity already have this cap and the Northeast Region is just being brought on to Comcast’s “National Data Plan”.

“It is really a bad time to do that, during a pandemic when people are home,” Soule said.

The Soule family lives in Dauphin and Comcast Xfinity is the only internet provider that works for their home which is surrounded by trees.

“I am not going to have a choice. I am going to have to pay the overage fee,” Soule said.

To help customers adjust, Xfinity has a grace period. A spokesperson said surcharge fees will not be applied until the July billing cycle. Customers would receive those bills in August.

In a tweet, Pa Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the delay in surcharge fees was due to his negotiations with Comcast.

“We appreciate the productive, open dialogue with Attorney General Shapiro’s office regarding the 1.2 TB data plan, and we understand that customers in Pennsylvania may need additional time to become familiar with the data plan. We are committed to evaluating and adapting our approach to best serve the needs of our customers, particularly in these challenging times. To that end, we are providing customers in our Northeast markets, including Pennsylvania, a total of over six months of notice before our data plan goes into effect so that they have ample time to understand their data usage and their service options, and plan accordingly. The earliest that the very small percentage of customers who exceed 1.2 TB of data could have any charges due under the plan is August 2021,” said Grove.

Comcast is also offering an Xfinity Unlimited Data Plan for an extra $30 a month for customers with their own modems. Customers who have a Comcast Xfinity modem would pay an additional $11 a month.

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