AT&T is waiving home internet data caps during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many of our AT&T Internet customers already have unlimited home Internet access, and we are phasing out Internet data rates for the remaining customers,” AT&T said in a statement provided to Ars today.
AT&T pulled it monthly key data of 150GB on DSL, 250GB on fixed wireless, and 1TB on most of your broadband services. Average costs are $10 for each additional 50GB, up to about $100 or $200 per month, depending on the program.
AT&T provides unlimited data to customers when they subscribe to the gigabit speed tier or when they purchase both Internet and TV service. There is also an option to pay an additional $30 per month for unlimited data.
We asked AT&T if it plans to relax any data caps and speed limits imposed on mobile service but have not yet received an answer.
With AT&T, we sent emails this morning to 10 home, mobile, and satellite ISPs asking if they plan to move or relax data caps while the coronavirus forces many students and workers to stay house.
Comcast, the largest internet provider in the United States, has not told us whether it will suspend data caps, so apparently the caps are still in effect for now. Comcast announced today that it raises speeds from 15Mbps download / 2Mbps upload to 25Mbps / 3Mbps on Internet Communications, a service for low-income Americans. Comcast said it is also offering 60 days of free Internet Communications service to low-income customers.
According to the motherboard reporter Karl Bode, a Comcast representative said “there are a lot of conversations” going on right now regarding the outbreak, but he was unable to confirm whether suspending the usage cap would be part of the company’s playbook.”
AT&T is the second provider to enforce data caps on home Internet service. AT&T’s statement today also noted that it “continue(s) to provide Internet data to eligible households limited to $10 per month” through Access from AT&T discount service, but the company has not announced any changes to that plan.
FCC Democrats Urge Data-Cap Establishment
We also contacted the offices of all five FCC commissioners today. Two Democrats on the Republican Caucus got back at us and urged ISPs to remove or relax their data caps. Three Republicans, including Chairman Ajit Pai, have not commented.
FCC Democrat Geoffrey Starks calls for 60-day waiver on data caps:
In light of the number of Americans who will be telephoning, using telemedicine, taking online classes, and otherwise using the Internet more, I am calling on broadband providers to remove data caps in affected areas for days. The next 60. This standard method will cost the telephone companies, but you know the speed of the time. Action by wireless providers is especially important because 26 percent of low-income Americans have a smartphone, but not broadband at home. “
FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said that, because of the coronavirus, “we will explore the expansion of telecommunications, telecommunications, and telecommunications education like never before. This means receiving the connection is disconnected. It also means rest objects like data keys. and money that can bring customers back to get online. The government and the private sector need to rise to this challenge and do the right thing. The time to act is now. “
FCC Republican Michael O’Rielly’s office declined to comment when contacted by Ars. We have not heard back from Pai or FCC Republican Brendan Carr. (UpdatePai announced that dozens of ISPs agreed to waive late fees and keep customers connected when they miss payments. Pai also said he urged ISPs “to relax their data cap policies in appropriate circumstances.”)
Eighteen US senators, all members of the Democratic caucus, sent one letter to ISPs urging them to “temporarily suspend broadband caps and related charges or waive them for all areas affected by COVID-19” and to coordinate with schools to provide free or low-cost broadband for students.
Mediacom, a cable company, told Ars that it is “giving all customers on all service levels 50GB of additional data through March 31” and will “revisit” the topic in April “to see whether this policy needs to be expanded or changed.” Mediacom Data Keys where you from 150GB to 6TB per month. Customers are charged $10 for each additional block of 50GB.
Cox refers to a sentence regarding coronavirus preparation but does not remove data keys. A company spokesperson told us to expect a further update today or tomorrow. “Students and remote workers are top of mind as we consider policy and service changes across the board,” a Cox spokesperson said. Update: Cox doesn’t remove data caps, but it is upgrade speeds on some plans for the next 60 days, and offering a free month for new customers who sign up in a low-income plan.
Suddenlink owner Altice has not told us whether it will retain data keys. “We are closely monitoring network usage and are evaluating all of our policies and procedures to best support our customers during this unprecedented time,” an Altice spokesperson said.
Viasat, which operates the Exede satellite Internet service, told Ars that “Viasat does not have hard data caps and we do not require our customers to buy more data… We expect that more customers will come online during the day- and they will have it. access to use energy, as it is – without any additional costs.” But that is misleading because Viasat’s “unlimited” plans provide a set amount of high-speed data, such as 40GB or 100GB per month, and reduce speeds after customers hit those thresholds if the network is blocked. On some plans, can pay more to bypass the limits through Viasat’s “Buy More“program, which lets you” buy more data in 1GB increments without upgrading to a higher data plan. If you’re close to your monthly data allowance and don’t want your service slowed down and/or restricted, Buy More will give you the data you need to stay at regular speeds.”
“The number of customers currently with the Buy More option is very small and at this time we are not planning any changes to that plan,” Viasat said.
ISPs we are still waiting to hear back from include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, and HughesNet. We will provide updates from carriers as we receive them.
Charter and Verizon do not impose data caps and overage fees on home Internet service. On mobile service, Verizon and other companies impose many limits on high-speed data and hotspot use, even on “unlimited” plans.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Agreement, which includes section 13 of the Charter, is part of Advance Declarations. Advance Publications is Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.