Gephardt: Internet Data Caps Returning, Impacting Pandemic Telecommuters

Aug 3, 2020, 6:50 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2020, 11:35 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is forcing thousands of Utahns to use the internet as telecommuters so they can work and learn from home.

That uses a lot of data. Scores of telecoms pledged to “Keep Americans Connected” at the beginning of the pandemic by lifting data caps, waiving fees and putting disconnects on hold.

Now that the pledge is over, what are those companies doing to keep subscribers that were hit hard financially by COVID-19?

Utah-based internet service provider Xmission was one of the hundreds of companies that signed onto the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge in March.

“I like to think my businesses is human,” said Xmission CEO Pete Ashdown. “And we want to keep a customer and not torture a customer.”

That pledge expired in July, but Ashdown said Xmission will keep working with customers who have financial issues for as long as they can.

“There are a number of restaurants that approached us and said, ‘Hey, we want to keep our internet connection but right now we’re not doing any business. Is there any way we can suspend it or get a reduction in cost?” Ashdown said. “And we work with all those people (home residents), too. It’s not a big stress on my business to help somebody out.”

Xmission does, however, have a 10 terabyte-a-month data cap. You’d have to watch 200 hours of 4K movies and TV shows to hit that limit, and that’s an awful lot of Tiger King.

Ashdown said his company has rarely enforced it.

“It’s a soft cap we generally have in place in case somebody wants to run a massive server farm in their farm for the cost of a residential connection – we need to recoup that bandwidth cost directly. But overall, it’s somebody who has left some streaming on by accident or their kids are downloading something they don’t know about,” explained Ashdown. “Usually, when we just say, ‘Hey, look, we’ve noticed this spike in your usage,’ it drops accordingly.”

However, other companies are now enforcing their data caps.

Comcast allows 1.2 terabytes a month. If you or your family blows past that limit, you can get zinged $10 for every 50 gigabytes of data past that limit, up to $100 on your bill.

And CenturyLink just brought back its one terabyte data cap for DSL subscribers.  While there are no overage fees, you could wind up enrolled in a higher-level, more expensive plan or get disconnected.

Both companies have resumed disconnects and late fees, but they said they’re still willing to work with struggling subscribers.

How do you know if you’re getting close to your internet provider’s data cap? Most providers have a web page that tracks your usage. Another option is to check your router. Many meter data use.

“Most of the higher-end ones can do that and possibly give you an advisory or notification that this is what your current usage is at – put a ceiling on it,” said Ashdown.

 You should know many cell phone companies also voluntarily pledged to keep Americans connected by waiving late fees and your service connected. That pledge of help has expired as well. 

Excessive Data Use Policies


You won’t be billed for the first month you exceed 1.2 TB, but after that, Xfinity will charge you $10 for every additional 50 GB of data, up to a total of $100 each month.

Comcast said it has created an assistance program that allows customers to keep using their service during the pandemic. 


For DSL subscribers, CenturyLink has no overage fees, but you’ll be asked to reduce your usage, enroll in a higher-speed plan or even switch to a business plan. If you don’t choose any of those options, you could face being disconnected.

CenturyLink said they’re creating new payment plans for qualifying customers with options to pay an outstanding bill over an extended period.

CenturyLink Gigabit Fiber subscribers don’t have a data cap. 

Google Fiber

Google Fiber doesn’t have data caps and it doesn’t charge late fees. Google does charge a reconnect fee if a subscriber gets disconnected. Anyone impacted by COVID-19 who needs to reconnect during the pandemic can contact customer service to get that fee waived.

In an email, Google Fiber said, “We are actively working with our customers who are suffering financial hardship to ensure they don’t lose essential internet coverage. Additionally, we are also developing longer-term options to help customers as this challenging period continues.”

Matt Gephardt

According to new data from Carfax, at the end of last year, there were 609,000 vehicles with an unf...

Matt Gephardt

600,000 cars in Utah need recalls fixed, what is holding up the repair work?

According to new data from Carfax, at the end of last year, there were 609,000 vehicles with an unfixed recall in Utah.

17 hours ago

Lynzee Delapaz explains to KSL’s Matt Gephardt how her car was damaged when it collided with anot...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Who’s legally responsible for damage when cars collide in a car wash?

A Grantsville woman’s car was damaged inside a car wash when the vehicle ahead of her went off the tracks. So, who pays for the damage?

2 days ago

Matt Gephardt speaking to Thelissa Mead about Hyundai not responding to her claims and getting her ...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Utah Hyundai owner seeking reimbursement for overestimated fuel economy

A major automaker was accused of saying their cars get better mileage than they really do, And they promised to pay their customers back. But when one Utah customer wasn't, she decided to Get Gephardt.

6 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

15 days ago

Danielle Addicott showing KSL's Matt Gephardt the fraud charges that were on her Wells Fargo accoun...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps Utah woman who says her bank refused to refund stolen money

A Park City woman says thousands of dollars were stolen from her bank account, but the bank refused to cover her loss. She decided to Get Gephardt.

20 days ago

Credit cards...

Matt Gephardt

Household debt reaches record high but inflation is masking debt progress

Personal finance experts say American household debt is at a record high, but considering the circumstances, it could be much worse.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Gephardt: Internet Data Caps Returning, Impacting Pandemic Telecommuters