At AG Shapiro’s Urging, Comcast Delays New Data Thresholds

February 3, 2021 | Topic: Consumers

Comcast to delay implementation and waive early termination fees as more Pennsylvanians rely on home internet

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that under a set of commitments agreed upon by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) and Comcast, the telecommunications provider will delay its planned implementation of usage-based data overage charges to existing customers until July 2021 in its Northeast Division. 

“As Pennsylvanians continue to navigate this pandemic, we know millions are relying on the internet for school and work more than ever. This is not the time to change the rules when it comes to internet data usage and increase costs,” said AG Shapiro. “My office negotiated with Comcast to delay the implementation of these overage charges and waive any early termination fees for customers who opt out through December 2021. We also limited the impact of these changes on low-income households.”

The new, amended rollout plan includes both a delayed start date to accommodate parents and students, and changes to Comcast’s policy that makes it easier for Pennsylvanians to terminate their existing contracts without fees.

As a result of dialogue and at the urging of Attorney General Shapiro, Comcast has agreed to:

  • Forgo the data threshold on low-income users who are enrolled in the Internet Essentials program or IEPP programs for the duration of 2021;
  • Disclose data threshold information more prominently in the contract execution process;
  • Delay implementation of the overage charges until July, to be seen in the August bill; and
  • Waive any early termination fee normally charged only for cancelling all Xfinity services early, through December 31, 2021, for any customer who entered into a term contract prior to November 2020.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Comcast continue to work on ways to increase transparency and educate consumers. Comcast customers are encouraged to review their data usage prior to July 1 to see which data plan best suits their household under these new terms. As noted previously, under these commitments, affected customers may cancel a contract because the plan will not be charged an early termination fee, which Comcast normally applies only when all services are cancelled. Pennsylvania consumers concerned about how Comcast’s data threshold may affect them should file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer protection.

Statement from Comcast:

“We appreciate the productive, open dialogue with Attorney General Shapiro’s office regarding the 1.2 TB data plan, and we understand that customers in Pennsylvania may need additional time to become familiar with the data plan. We are committed to evaluating and adapting our approach to best serve the needs of our customers, particularly in these challenging times. To that end, we are providing customers in our Northeast markets, including Pennsylvania, a total of over six months of notice before our data plan goes into effect so that they have ample time to understand their data usage and their service options, and plan accordingly. The earliest that the very small percentage of customers who exceed 1.2 TB of data could have any charges due under the plan is August 2021.

To the extent any of our customers – including our term contract customers – have questions about the data plan, we are committed to working with them to address and answer those questions.  We can help customers understand their household historical and current data usage – and, as noted, the overwhelming majority of our customers will be unaffected by the plan; we can walk through tools available to track usage; and we can explain the options we offer customers to address their specific circumstances and usage needs. This includes working to repackage  — or, if relevant, excuse ETFs – for our term contract customers.”

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