Customers in the Northeastern states that were about to have limits imposed on their internet data by Comcast (CMCSA -1.70%) got a six-month reprieve after the Pennsylvania attorney general got the cable giant to agree to wait.
Because many people are still working from home and communities still have not allowed their kids to go back to school because of COVID-19, hitting the 1.2 terabyte cap on data is much more readily achieved. Consumers now have until July before Comcast will charge them $10 for every 50 gigabytes of data in excess of the limit, up to a maximum fee of $100.
Most of Comcast's Xfinity customers already live under a data cap regime, but a dozen states in the Northeast escaped the limits until the cable company said in November it would begin imposing them on Jan. 1.
It says 95% of its customers never reach the limit, but those who do regularly can pay $30 per month extra on their Xfinity bill to have unlimited data.
The agreement with Pennsylvania will allow low-income customers to avoid the data caps for the rest of 2021, delay the data caps for everyone else until July, and waive early termination fees for Xfinity customers through the end of December.
Josh Shapiro, the state's attorney general, said in a statement, "This is not the time to change the rules when it comes to internet data usage and increase costs."
The cable operator has suffered a wave of defections from customers cutting the cord and switching to streaming services for content (Comcast operates as a government-permitted monopoly in many communities, so it's the only choice for internet service).
In 2020, the media company lost 1.4 million cable subscribers and 275,000 phone customers, but gained over 1.9 million internet subscribers.