Sunday, May 26, 2024

Data caps on Comcast, T-Mobile return on July 1

Date:

Major Internet service providers are scheduled to end their quarantine benefits soon, once again subjecting Americans to data caps and removing protections if they are unable to pay their bills. On July 1, data caps returned to some major ISPs.

The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge also expired on June 30. Companies initially agreed to the pledge and rushed to add benefits. ISPs like CenturyLink, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many others said they would not discontinue service or charge late fees for those unable to pay because of the coronavirus. They also agreed to open their Wi-Fi access points for free. So far, the FCC has not publicly said that it would extend the pledge.

In some ways, ISPs face the same decision as governors in Florida and Texas: end their benefits, which encouraged users to stay home, or continue them for an indeterminate period of time.  For many of those who are out of work, ISPs could begin demanding payment for outstanding broadband bills on June 30. 

Consumers who have been riding out the quarantine by streaming may also find that their unlimited data expired on July 1. On that day AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, and T-Mobile were scheduled to resume normal service, and once again impose data caps. Some ISPs, like Cox, have already terminated some benefits, as its temporary unlimited data program expired in May. Others, like AT&T, have extended theirs through Sept. 30.

AT&T

All AT&T consumer home Internet customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited data through June 30. On June 30, AT&T said it would waive overage charges through Sept. 30 for AT&T Fiber and AT&T Internet customers. It excludes DSL, Fixed Wireless Internet, and AT&T Wireless Internet and Mobility plans.

An automatic 10GB of data per month was temporarily added to customers’ capped phone plans, though that appears to have expired on June 24. Mobile hotspot data was  increased by 15GB per month for those on unlimited cellular plans, through June 30. Navy personnel on select ships may make free calls to military bases, also through June 30. 

AT&T pledged not to terminate the service of any customer who can’t pay their bill, and will waive the fees associated with late payments. (Waivers can be applied for here.)  That expires on June 30. The company will continue to waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers. AT&T will also keep its public Wi-Fi hotspots open to everyone, and has automatically increased hotspot data by 15GB per month per line.

New AT&T TV/DirectTV customers will receive a free year of HBO. An AT&T “Summer Camp” collection of content has been added, along with a number of free channels to those customers who didn’t already have them.

Ebenezer Robbins
Ebenezer Robbins
Introvert. Beer guru. Communicator. Travel fanatic. Web advocate. Certified alcohol geek. Tv buff. Subtly charming internet aficionado.

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