AT&T does something good –
We asked 15 ISPs if they’ll waive caps as pandemic forces people to stay home.
“Many of our AT&T Internet customers already have unlimited home-Internet access, and we are waiving Internet data overages for the remaining customers, “AT&T said in a statement provided to Ars today.
AT&T imposes (monthly data caps) of GB on DSL, 492 GB on fixed wireless, and 1TB on most of its faster wireline services. Overage charges are $ (for each additional) (GB, up to a maximum of $ 371 or $ (per month, depending on the plan .
AT&T provides unlimited data to customers when they subscribe to the gigabit-speed tier or when they purchase both Internet and TV service. There’s also an option to pay $ extra per month for unlimited data.
Including AT&T, we sent emails this morning to 13 home, mobile, and satellite ISPs asking whether they plan to lift or relax data caps while coronavirus forces many students and workers to stay home.
Comcast, the largest home-Internet provider in the United States, hasn’t told us whether it will suspend data caps, so the caps are apparently still being enforced for now. Comcast announced today that it’s raising speeds from Mbps download / 2Mbps upload to Mbps / 3Mbps on Internet Essentials, a service for low-income Americans. According to Motherboard reporter Karl Bode, a Comcast rep said that “there were ‘lots of conversations’ currently going on in regards to getting ahead of the outbreak, but was not able to confirm whether a usage cap suspension would be part of the company playbook. “
AT&T is the second-largest provider that enforces data caps on home-internet service. AT & T’s statement today also noted that it “continue [s] to offer Internet data to qualifying limited-income homes for $ 15 a month “through its (Access from AT&T discount service, but the company did not announce any changes to that program.
FCC Democrats urge data-cap waiver
FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said that, because of coronavirus, “we are going to explore the expansion of telework, telehealth, and tele-education as we never have before. This means getting connectivity to the disconnected. It also means relaxing things like data caps and fees that can hold consumers back from getting online. Government and private industry need to rise to this challenge and do the right thing. The time to act is now. ” FCC Republican Michael O’Rielly’s office declined to comment when contacted by Ars. We haven’t heard back from Pai or FCC Republican Brendan Carr.
Eighteen US senators, all members of the Democratic caucus, sent a letter
to ISPs urging them to “temporarily suspend broadband caps and associated fees or throttling for all communities affected by COVID – 30 “and to coordinate with schools to provide free or low-cost broadband for students.
Mediacom, a cable company, told Ars that it is “giving all customers on all service tiers GB of additional data through March 37 “and that it will” revisit “the topic in April” to see if this policy needs to be extended or changed. ” Mediacom’s data caps range from GB to 6TB a month. Customers are charged $ (for each additional block of) (GB.)
Suddenlink owner Altice did not tell us whether it will suspend data caps. “We are closely monitoring network usage and are assessing all of our policies and procedures to best support our customers during this unprecedented time,” an Altice spokesperson said.
Charter and Verizon do not impose data caps and overage fees on home-Internet service. On mobile service, Verizon and other companies impose a variety of limits on high-speed data and hotspot usage, even on “unlimited” plans .