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Consumer Reports: Comcast pause on data caps, fees is good news, but controversial plan should be shelved permanently

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Comcast today announced it would postpone its controversial new data caps and fees on home Internet users in more than a dozen Northeastern states until September.

Consumer Reports has been urging Comcast to reverse course, harshly criticizing the cable and internet giant for slapping data caps and fees on customers during a pandemic, with millions of people dependent on internet service for work, school, and essential services. The nonprofit advocacy organization had quickly mobilized more than 70,000 consumers to sign a petition to call on Comcast to drop this plan.

Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, said, “Credit the thousands of outraged consumers and elected officials who pushed Comcast to pay attention to how wrong-headed its decision to impose data caps really was — and remains. Comcast’s data cap policy disproportionately harms low-income individuals, and any delay of data caps on home internet service and expensive overage fees is a good thing. What Comcast should do is abandon data caps once and for all.”

Schwantes added, “Imposing data caps on struggling consumers who are using their home internet connections more than ever, as we work and learn from home, is appalling. It feels like a callous money grab.

“Policymakers should explore the anti-competitive nature that these kinds of caps pose, as consumers might be less likely to use streaming video services that count against a data cap, while Comcast’s traditional cable video services do not.”

Media contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org