Mobile carriers and ISPs had dropped their data caps during the quarantine, and also waived any late fees. Now, companies like Comcast, Cox, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are all going back to having data caps.
Starting July 1, data caps and late fees are going to be back for your ISP and mobile carrier. So if you aren't careful, you could end up needing to pay a lot more than you normally do.
FCC's Keeping Americans Connected pledge is due to run out on June 30
Back in March, when most of the world started shutting down due to the pandemic, the FCC announced its Keeping Americans Connected pledge. This was a pledge that all of the mobile carriers and ISPs had joined in, and would essentially allow customers to stay connected during this time.
Companies lifted their data caps – since most people were at home a lot more than usual, they were using a lot more internet. And it also lifted any late fees, as well as pausing any shut offs. Seeing as over 20 million Americans were unemployed during this time.
That pledge expires on June 30. And right now, it doesn't look like any of these companies are planning to extend the lack of data caps and late fees past that date. Which means, as of July 1, data caps and late fees are back in action. And some of the most hated companies are going to be evil once again.
The lockdown showed that data caps are not necessary
Companies have told us repeatedly, for years, that data caps were necessary. To keep their networks running and not overcrowded. This was particularly true for mobile carriers. But this lockdown showed the opposite.
Everyone had their data cap lifted, and it's pretty likely that most people exceeded it by quite a bit (I know my household doubled what the data cap would have been!). Yet these networks had virtually no issues with the extra data. Now there was a DDoS attack a couple weeks ago that took down some networks and websites, but that wasn't due to everyone being at home.
So the lockdown showed us what we really already knew, was that these companies use data caps to squeeze even more money out of us. Now mobile carriers don't generally (most plans don't anyways) charge you for going over. You're just getting slower speeds. But ISPs like Comcast and Cox do. In fact, Comcast will charge you $10 per 50GB over the 1TB data cap, that you use. And that can really add up.
The FCC should definitely take a look at data caps, after this is all over and we're back to the "new" normal.