Comcast has announced that it has no plans to implement a data plan in Northeast markets in 2022.This is the second delay since 2020 when the telecommunications giant announced that starting in March 2021, it would cap internet data usage at 1.2 Terabytes of data per month for residents in the northeastern United States, and charge an extra $10 per 50GB for overages, up to $100. The move would impact residents in Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and parts of North Carolina and Ohio. The company delayed the originally planned March 2021 rollout until July 2021, reportedly due to the "urging" of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro amid the ongoing pandemic. Comcast said at the time that data caps wouldn't affect 95% of customers. But as Technical.ly reporter Holly Quinn noted, with the rise of 4k, the average household could soon easily exceed a TB of data usage in a month. Massachusetts State Rep. Andy Vargas claims this is the end of data caps for the Northeast markets. He asserts that the political protests by organizations such as the Baltimore City College high school student-led SOMOS and Philadelphia's Movement Alliance Project, which demanded faster internet speeds, correlated with Comcast doubling the speeds of its low-cost Internet Essentials package — and that such protests have had a similar effect to end data caps in the Northeast region. However, data caps are enforced in the rest of the country where Comcast operates, save for a brief few months during the start of the pandemic in 2020. https://twitter.com/RepAndyVargas/status/1471109198842896384 Kristie Heins Fox, Comcast's VP of communications for the Beltway region, confirmed that customers in the Northeast won't see data caps this year. "We came to the decision towards the end of last year to suspend implementing the plan at all in 2022," Fox told Technical.ly. "We will communicate with customers in advance if we make any changes there. But at this time, we don't have plans to implement anything this year." Keywords here are "2022" and "anything this year." When asked about 2023 or 2024, Fox didn't have other information to share other than that if there is change, customers will know in advance. So, no data caps now. Forever? We'll wait and see.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.