A planned Comcast broadband data cap policy for its markets in the Northeast has been pushed back again. The nation’s largest wireline broadband service provider by total subscribers says the data cap policy will be delayed until 2022.
This is the second delay for a Comcast broadband data cap policy which caps monthly broadband bandwidth usage at 1.2 Terabytes (TB). Comcast bowed to pressure from the Pennsylvania Attorney General earlier this month, announcing it would delay implementing the data cap policy until August 2021.
“We’ve learned a lot during this time, and we thank our customers for trusting in Xfinity, as our services have never been more important for our customers so they can work, learn, and enjoy entertainment from the safety of their home,” Comcast notes in a prepared statement. “With that in mind, we are delaying implementation of our new data plan in our Northeast markets until 2022.”
The plan was initially to take effect in January of this year. Comcast already has a broadband data cap policy in other markets. The planned implementation would have been the first time it extended the policy to its large Northeastern footprint, the most heavily populated part of the country.
The plan charges an additional $10 for each bucket of 50 GB in bandwidth above 1.2 TB. The plan maxes out additional fees at $100 per month.
Comcast came under intense scrutiny for plans to implement broadband data caps during the pandemic, which has led to dramatic growth in bandwidth consumption. According to the latest OpenVault OVBI, the average subscriber now consumes 483 GB of bandwidth per month, with 14.1% of all subscribers consuming 1 TB or more.
But OVBI data also points to what may be driving Comcast broadband data cap thinking. According to OVBI data, broadband providers with unlimited usage plans see nearly 30% more extreme power users, or those who consume 2 TB or more of bandwidth each month, than usage based billing providers.
That and other OVBI observations highlight higher average revenue data points for usage-based billing providers over unlimited data plans. For example, on average, customers on those plans tend to subscribe to higher ARPU broadband tiers.
Even though Comcast is taking heat for implementing data caps in the Northeast, the company must see some tangible value in the practice, especially considering it competes with Verizon Fios in the Northeast, which offers fiber-based unlimited data usage plans.