The Comcast Cap is Coming. What Customers Can Do About It?
Comcast customers in the Northeast will be getting some unpleasant news starting in January. In 12 states, from North Carolina to Massachusetts, Comcast will be imposing a 1.2 terabyte data cap. Existing customers will receive a grace period during which they are allowed to exceed the cap limit without penalty. Overage charges, however, will start as of the April 2021 billing cycle.
Why is Comcast enforcing this cap?
The decision to take the data cap nationwide is a revenue-generating tactic for the company. Even though it claims it isn’t. The cap had previously been in effect in the majority of its 39 states since 2016. Comcast maintains that the cap is being imposed to help manage internet congestion, as only a small group of consumers use enough data to warrant an upgrade to an unlimited plan.
According to the company, just 5% of residential customers, a group it calls “super users,” use more than 1.2 TB per month. Yet they comprise 20% of its network usage. So those are the users who would most likely have to pay for an unlimited plan, not the 95% who use less than 1.2 TB.
What are the real implications?
With the pandemic continuing to keep family members home and using more data, regular users could potentially exceed their data caps and be subjected to overage fees. Additionally, Comcast will need to monitor its capped customers’ data usage. But the accuracy of its data meter has been questionable in the past. And unfortunately, there is no way for customers to verify the accuracy of meter readings and no governmental oversight of their reliability.
Furthermore, despite Comcast’s reasoning, data caps are not generally successful tools for minimizing internet congestion. This is because they apply to monthly total usage vs. peak usage times.
During the first few months of the pandemic, Comcast waived its data cap for the states that had them. Then it raised the limit from 1 TB to 1.2 TB in July, even though increased traffic didn’t seem to put a strain on the system. This suggests a data cap isn’t necessary for managing increased usage. It also suggests the cap is merely a tool to generate money through overage fees and unlimited plan upgrades.
What are the overage fees?
Comcast will charge $10 for each additional 50GB of usage, up to a maximum of $100/month. To avoid these overages (and the hassle of trying unsuccessfully to verify usage), customers have the option of purchasing an unlimited plan for $30 or $25 for the xFi Complete package. This is an unlimited plan which includes modem and router equipment rental. And Comcast is offering consumers incentives to switch.
What can unhappy customers do about this?
If you are a Comcast customer and are unhappy about the cap, your best course of action is to negotiate.
Scrutinize your bill. Check your plan and usage form the past several months. See if you would benefit from having more data or an unlimited plan. If the answer is yes, you will want to dispute being capped or charged to increase your data.
Research competitive plans. Figure out what plans are available from other providers and compare pricing. If you find more attractive plans from a cost and usage standpoint, get ready to contact the company.
Negotiate your plan yourself. Once you are armed with information, call Comcast and ask to speak with a customer service rep.
- Make sure you have set aside enough time to wait on hold and get to the right person before stating your case
- Once you reach a customer service representative, explain that you are unhappy about the usage cap and want more data, but don’t want to be charged for it
- Explain what other service providers are offering
- If the person on the phone won’t budge after you’ve stated your case, ask to speak to a manager
- Threaten to switch providers if the manager isn’t helpful
- If you still don’t get anywhere, ask to speak to the manager’s supervisor and start all over again
Hire a bill negotiation service to do the hard work for you. Hiring a bill negotiation service is a great option if you don’t want to deal with Comcast yourself. Achieving a plan change requires extra effort and the expert negotiators at Billshark are perfect for the job.
- Send us your bill. Our experts know wireless plans inside and out and work hard on your behalf. So you can avoid long hold times and uncomfortable conversations with customer services reps.
- We lock in the best rates. Because we are trained to deal with all kinds of companies, including Comcast, we know exactly how to get the lowest rates. This way you don’t have to switch providers.
- We will send you SMS progress updates and inform you every step of the way. And you can feel secure knowing your information is safe and that we will never share it with anyone.
As frustrating as this Comcast data cap is, customers have options and Billshark can help provide them.