MATT GEPHARDT

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

Comcast/Xfinity

https://dataplan.xfinity.com/faq/

https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19

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. 

CenturyLink

https://www.centurylink.com/aboutus/legal/internet-service-disclosure/full-version.html

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

https://support.google.com/fiber/answer/9788639?hl=en

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.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Matt Gephardt

FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
1 day ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
4 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
5 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
11 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Utah home sellers drop asking prices as market slows from a frenzied pace

For years, Utah has been one of the nation's hottest real estate markets, but now it appears to be cooling as sellers are slashing prices.
12 days ago
FILE (Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt Busts Inflation: How you can save money by switching from one of the big three wireless carriers to an MVNO

We have all heard of the big guys of wireless networks - Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. But many smaller carriers use the same infrastructure as the big three and for you that means you can get the service you need for much less by switching to one of the other guys.
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Gephardt: Internet Data Caps Returning, Impacting Pandemic Telecommuters