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Comcast will expand broadband usage data caps to a significant portion of its footprint, beginning next year. Comcast limits data usage to 1.2 TBs on its non-unlimited data plans before charging additional fees for subscribers who exceed that monthly limit.

Comcast has a long history of enforcing broadband usage data caps, but had suspended the practice during the early part of the pandemic. The expansion brings the usage caps to Comcast’s northeast footprint, reaching 14 states and the District of Columbia.

Customers who exceed 1.2 TB in a given month will be charged an additional $10 for each 50 GB that they exceed past 1.2 TB, up to a maximum of an additional $100 per month. The change begins in January 2021, but Comcast will issue credits during January and February if customers exceed the cap.

Beginning March 2021, customers will get one courtesy month if they exceed the cap. Overage charges will commence after the courtesy month for customers who exceed the cap.

It’s a bit of an interesting competitive posture for Comcast, given this expansion of broadband usage data caps into the Northeast is Verizon Fios territory. Verizon’s FTTP service offers both unlimited data and symmetrical speeds, a competitive advantage against Comcast’s DOCSIS-based broadband service.

Apparently, Comcast isn’t worried much. I guess you can’t blame them, given the record pace the company has seen in broadband growth. Comcast added 633K new broadband customers in 3Q20, its best quarter ever.

For what it’s worth, Verizon also had an impressive quarter, seeing 4x growth in Fios subscribers from a year ago. The expansion of Comcast usage data caps into Fios territory should make for an interesting competitive petri dish.

Power Users

Comcast reports that only about 5% of current customers exceed 1.2 TB per month. But that percentage is most likely on the rise. Recent data from OpenVault reports surging growth in power users, who are defined as subscribers who exceed 1 TB of usage per month.

power user growth chart
Power User Category Growth (Source: OpenVault)

According to OpenVault’s latest OVBI, close to 10% of subscribers now use over 1 TB per month or more, with 1% using over 2 TBs per month. Power users of 1 TB per month have grown 110% in the past year.

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