As more parts of business and society move fully online, the Philadelphia-based cable and broadband giant is also expanding a 1.2-terabyte home Internet data cap to all 39 states where it operates. Comcast is the No. 1 broadband and cable provider, with 30.1 million total subscribers.
The new rates were reported by tech website Ars Technica and detailed in a document circulating on Reddit. Customers will pay $4.50 more per month as a “broadcast TV fee” and $2 more for carriage of regional sports networks. Most Xfinity Internet packages will rise by $3 a month. Equipment and home security offerings will also get more expensive, as will installation. Professional installations and in-home service visits are set to increase to $100 from $70.
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The increases follow word that AT&T is also upping its pricing for select services in the new year.
The data cap has existed in various Comcast markets over the past several years. In 2021, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and a handful of other states will join the full 39-state footprint.
The company will continue to offer extended payment options and adjusted services and packages. It also plans to continue to offer its 1.5 million public Xfinity WiFi hotspots for free to anyone who needs to use them, including non-customers, through the end of 2020.
For context, he added that 1.2 terabytes is a “massive amount of data.” It is enough to stream about 500 hours of HD video, videoconference for close to 3,500 hours in a month, watch nearly 1,200 hours of distance learning videos on Seesaw or Google Classroom, play more than 34,000 hours of online games, or stream more than 21,000 hours of music.
Stop the Cap, an activist group opposed to limits on internet use, criticized the move. “Comcast is certain to be criticized for expanding data caps in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as the number of cases explodes in the United States, pushing more people than ever to work from home,” the group wrote. “One of Comcast’s most successful businesses is selling residential broadband, often with no significant competition, and with customers unlikely to drop service there is plenty of room to raise prices further.”
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