Comcast to Impose New Broadband Data Caps Nationwide

John Lister's picture

Comcast is to impose a 1.2TB monthly data limit on its broadband customers in all locations across the United States. The move affects 12 states that weren't already under the cap.

Customers will be able to get unlimited data, but will have to pay a fee of $30 a month above their current charges. Those who don't "upgrade" will face an overage charge of $10 for each 50GB they use, with a maximum overage charge of $100. (Source:

The company already had the cap in 27 of the 39 states it served. Many of the remaining 12 covered markets where Comcast had competition with Verizon, rather than enjoying a monopoly.

One Month Grace

The states which are getting the cap next year are Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia. The move also affects Washington DC and parts of Ohio and Virginia which don't currently have the cap.

Although the move takes effect in January, the effects will be phased. There won't be any overage charges until March. After that, customers who remain on a capped plan can go over the 1.2TB monthly limit once without penalty. After that, they will be charged the overage fee.

In some senses this could be viewed as simply a $30 a month price hike for customers, rather than Comcast removing any option to have unlimited data use. It's still going to be hugely controversial, particularly given reports of customers disputing the amount of data they actually use.

95% Under Limit Already

Comcast told Arstechnica that its median residential customer uses 308GB a month, meaning half of people use less and half use more. It also says that only five percent of customers use more than the 1.2TB threshold. Of course, that's potentially misleading as many of those customers would use more if they didn't face overage fees. (Source:

Data caps are a contentious topic, as people using more data across the month likely have relatively little effect on an Internet service provider's costs. Instead the real problem is if too many people try to use data at the same time, congesting the network. That's not necessarily solved by a monthly cap.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you have a cap on your home (non-mobile) broadband? Is 1.2TB a reasonable limit in era with so many legal streaming services? Should this be a regulatory issue or something left to the market?

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eric's picture

Just more shenanigans from Comcast. It's not enough for them to have monopolies in areas across the country, they also need to hike up prices for no legitimate reason.
They probably won't be satisfied until you pay with blood from your firstborn every month. 🙄

beach.boui's picture

I would urge Comcast customers to rigorously investigate the alternative internet provider options in their area and jump ship if they find one at a reasonable price with no data cap. If Comcast looses enough subscribers, they will hum a different tune.

olds97_lss's picture

We've nearly bumped into the cap a few times when they were at 1T a month and a couple times since the pandemic started and they went to 1.2T a month... if there wasn't a cap, we would likely be less careful and be more around 1.5T a month. As it is, we average .8-.9T. Can't imagine there aren't many that are around there that stream as much HD content as we do. Would also imagine those that stream 4k content would have even more of an issue. We haven't upgraded our main TV's to 4k yet...

topgum's picture

I live in an area where the electric co turns off the power to prevent wildfires. After a fewhours Comcastcuts off. I have a solar battery backup. I'm switching to ATT that is not dependent on the power co. The download limit is just another reason to switch

JimBo's picture

I think what’s going on here may not have anything to do with Comcast grabbing a few extra bucks from its internet subscribers. I think the data limit issue has everything to do with the imminent death of Cable Television. Around here Comcast gets about $130 monthly for just a step above basic cable rates which does not include any premium service and programming quality is mostly junk TV. This, as quality media providers like TCM continue to drop off their list. Now with most media providers starting their own streaming services and almost every TV being sold including support for NETFLIX and the like, Cable’s days are numbered. With the development of Roku, sanity is brought to all by consolidation, central billing, and a nifty little remote giving you cable without cable (I guess you could call this CWC). So, the only thing you need from any of the utility providers is simply a fast, unlimited internet connection. (Note, Ooma works great to cheaply dump and replace your old landline.)

OK, so what is it all about? Bandwidth and the speed to do 1080P and 4K movies which cable cannot easily provide. The current Comcast ‘HD’ offering here is only DVD (720P) quality. I don’t see any way for them to cheaply transition their existing wired system to a true full HD service on top of increasing IP demands. Bu-Ray can render 4K and high density Bu-Rays can do the new 8K. Bottom line, people connecting to streaming services and wanting to watch newer 4K movies will quickly use up most of the ‘new’ bandwidth allocation and, even with advanced compression, 8K with 3-D will be an absolute monthly quota killer under Comcast’s plan.

This is why I think they are preparing for and attempting to sneak this in on us in advance. As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s about Microsoft's feature updates, downloads, web surfing, gaming, or VOIP. It’s about the death of cable and recently evolving technology such as low altitude satellites which will provide us with even more fashionable options.

P.S. Here's a current example, take a look at the new Jan 2021 upcoming Discovery Plus (Discovery+) streaming service for $5.00 monthly. Game changer if you have the bandwidth.

It’s a new world out there, so shut up and get with the (new) program or be left footing the bill.