For AT&T and Comcast high-speed internet customers in South Florida, more generous data caps are on the way.
Beginning Monday, AT&T will be effectively instituting data caps on all its plans. AT&T’s caps have technically been in place since 2011, but in the past caps were not enforced on most plans.
Depending on the plan they have, customers will now get 300 or 600 gigabytes or one terabyte of data per month for no additional charge. After a three-month grace period — once the cap has been reached — regardless of what plan they have, customers will be charged $10 for each additional 50 GB of data, up to $100.
An unlimited data plan is available for $30 more a month or free for customers who bundle U-verse services. Tools on att.com/InternetUsage can help customers estimate, monitor and manage data usage, AT&T said.
Comcast announced in April that all customers in data trial markets, including South Florida, will move from a 300-gigabyte data cap per month to a terabyte beginning June 1, regardless of the speed of their internet plan. Customers needing more than a terabyte can sign up for an unlimited plan for an additional $50 a month, or they can buy additional buckets of 50 gigabytes of data for $10 each, the company said.
A terabyte of data is “far more than most of our customers will ever use in a month,” Comcast said at the time of its announcement. With a terabyte, Comcast said, one could stream about 700 hours of HD video, play 12,000 hours of online games, and download 60,000 high-resolution photos a month.
Both companies said their customers average far less usage than the data cap. Even so, with “cutting the cord” — or dropping cable services — becoming more popular, more customers are streaming movies and television shows from services like Netflix and Amazon heavily, and large multi-device households can eat up data quickly.
The moves to increase the caps come on the heels of thousands of customer complaints nationwide. The Wall Street Journal found that consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission skyrocketed in 2015.