Comcast adding data caps for home Internet

Cord-cutting has reached record highs amid the pandemic, which has sent cable companies scrambling

A new year means another round of higher TV and Internet prices. Starting Jan. 1, Comcast will hit customers with an extra charge for using too much data, a hike that has become an annual holiday tradition for some of the biggest cable companies.

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As millions of Americans move online to work from home, stream TV shows or take classes remotely, the Philadelphia-based cable and broadband giant is imposing a 1.2-terabyte data cap to the 39 states where it operates. Comcast, which has 30.1 million total subscribers, told FOX Business that the data cap does not impact 95% of their customers, and unlimited options for more money is part of an offering.

In this photo provided by Anne Marie Canlis, Clementine Canlis, of Seattle, watches an online lecture Thursday, March 12, 2020, after her private school closed for five weeks due to the coronavirus. (Anne Marie Canlis via AP)

However, the limit can be easily reached for customers who are on daily Zoom meetings and stream shows, according to Fox News’s Brett Larson.

“Of everything you’re doing at home it’s mostly done online,” Larson told FOX Business’ Varney & Company. “And it’s all using up an unknown amount of data that you could end up paying extra for.”

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Streaming Netflix’s popular show "The Crown" in 4K resolution takes up an estimated seven gigabytes an hour and 280 gigabytes for the entire season, or over a fourth of a terabyte, according to Larson. Meanwhile, a Zoom call can cost one-and-a-half gigabytes an hour. For two kids taking online classes eight hours a day every week for school tacks on an additional 192 gigabytes each month.

Cord-cutting has reached record highs amid the pandemic, which has sent cable companies scrambling to find new ways to make up for lost revenue.

“It’s all about money,” senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports Jonathan Schwantes told FOX Business. “At home, whether you set up a Wi-Fi network or not, it’s all you can eat. You don’t really think twice about how much Internet you’re using or consuming because it’s unlimited. That’s about to change.”

Other wireless service providers like AT&T, Charter and Verizon do not impose data caps on most of their high-speed Internet services.

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