BALTIMORE — People are not happy about a potential raise to their already expensive internet bills.
Comcast’s Xfinity internet service recently let users know their plans will have a 1.2 terabyte limit in the coming months.
Kristie Fox, a spokesperson for Comcast, said that most families aren't going to go over the 1.2 terabytes of data anyway.
If customers go over that limit, they can be charged up to $100 more a month.
Comcast originally said they weren’t charging people until April, but has now pushed it to August.
Mike Broyles was caught off guard when he got an email saying he was approaching his data limit on what he thought was an unlimited plan.
“I received a notice via email saying that I was approaching my data cap limit, I was like well what data cap?" said Broyles.
Broyles works in IT and uses and knows a lot about data usage.
He also has children that are going to school online and streams TV through the internet.
“Even just streaming on one television, I know whenever all the crazy stuff happened at the begging of this month with the Washington Capital and everything, we had the news on the entire day. We easily blew through what our projected allotment would have been for that day, and that’s just one television.”
City Council Members Ryan Dorsey, Zeke Cohen, and Kristerfer Burnett and the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition penned a letter to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh calling for an investigation into price gauging.
Citing the digital divide students are already facing and the lack of affordable and reliable internet for low-income families.
Saying in part "Unconscionable predatory data capping amidst a global pandemic is not only an affordability issue but it is one of accountability.”
Today @ElectRyanDorsey @CouncilmanKB The Digital Equity Coalition + I sent this letter to @BrianFrosh asking him to investigate Comcast’s “data cap” as a form of predatory price gouging.— Zeke Cohen (@Zeke_Cohen) January 26, 2021
Forcing families to pay more for already overpriced internet in a pandemic is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/TZ8jmdcOvZ
Frosh‘s Office said they’ve received the letter and are looking into it.
Danielle Contreras said she pays for the highest gig download speed and will now have to pay $25 more a month to keep up with her household's internet bringing her total monthly bill to around $260 a month.
“I can’t believe them they are like the only option we have and they are going to do this in the middle of the pandemic where everyone is at home anyway," Contreras said. "Whether you want to or not you have to pay for it, you don’t have a choice.”
Fox provided this example of how much 1.2 terabytes of data can provide.
"Enables consumers to video conference for 3,500 hours, watch 1,200 hours of distance learning videos, stream 500 hours of high-definition video content a month, or play more than 34,000 hours of online games."
Vice President of Communications for Comcast Beltway Region, Kristie Fox responded on Wednesday with the following statement:
“1.2 terabytes is a massive amount of data that enables consumers to video conference for 3,500 hours, watch 1,200 hours of distance learning videos, stream 500 hours of high-definition video content a month, or play more than 34,000 hours of online games. Our data plan is structured in a way that the very small percentage of our customers who use more than 1.2 terabytes of monthly data and generate the greatest demand for network development and capacity pay more for their increased usage. For those superusers, we have unlimited data options available.”