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Comcast to cap data use for Xfinity home internet service

Jeff Fusco/Associated Press


Heavy users to pay more for Xfinity

Broadband provider Comcast is delivering an unwelcome choice of holiday gifts to hardcore Internet users. They can either cut back on their online usage, or prepare to pay more. Starting in January, local subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity home broadband service will have to pay extra if they use more than 1.2 terabytes of data per month. The new caps will go into effect in January and will apply to Xfinity users in Massachusetts, 11 other states in the northeastern United States, and in the District of Columbia. Customers who exceed the cap will automatically be charged an additional $10 per month for an additional 50 gigabytes of data, or they can pay $11 per month for unlimited access. For the first two months of the new policy, Xfinity will waive the additional fee to help customers “understand how the new 1.2 TB Internet Data Plan affects them.” In addition, Xfinity will waive the extra fee for customers who exceed the data cap for one month per year. A Comcast spokesperson said that the new policy change should affect only about 5 percent of its customers, and that the average customer uses only about 308 gigabytes of data per month. Comcast has long applied data caps in most of the 39 states it serves. But up to now, the company has not applied such limits in the northeastern United States, where Xfinity faces competition from Verizon Communication’s Fios service, which does not impose data caps on consumers. Broadband company RCN, which serves a small portion of Boston, also does not impose data caps on residential users. ― HIAWATHA BRAY



GM will recall 7 million pickups over potentially faulty air bags

General Motors will recall about 7 million big pickup trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. The announcement came Monday after the US government told the automaker it had to recall 6 million of the vehicles in the United States. GM says it will not fight the decision, even though it believes the vehicles are safe. It will cost the company an estimated $1.2 billion, about one third of its net income so far this year. The automaker had petitioned the agency four times since 2016 to avoid recalls, contending the air bag inflator canisters have been safe on the road and in testing. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday denied the petitions, saying the inflators still run the risk of exploding. Exploding Takata inflators caused the largest series of auto recalls in U.S. history, with at least 63 million inflators recalled. The US government says that as of September, more than 11.1 million had not been fixed. GM will recall full-size pickup trucks and SUVs from the 2007 through 2014 model years, including the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500, and 3500 pickups. The Silverado is GM’s top-selling vehicle and the second-best selling vehicle in the United States. Also covered are the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and Avalanche, the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, and 3500, and the GMC Yukon. ― ASSOCIATED PRESS



Moderna CEO sells more of his stock shares

Moderna’s chief executive officer Stephane Bancel offloaded another $1.74 million of shares last week while the world waits for the Cambridge biotech company to be the second to file its vaccine for emergency use in the United States. The sale comes after Pfizer and BioNTech became the first companies to complete a submission for a vaccine to US regulators on Friday. Moderna is likely to file its vaccine next week, Morgan Stanley analysts said. Bancel sold 9,000 directly owned shares and 10,000 indirectly owned shares at an average price of $91.73 starting on Nov. 18, according to the filing. Bancel and other freshly minted billionaires gained over $400 million last Monday on the heels of encouraging trial news. The recent rally lifted Bancel’s net worth to $3.1 billion, based mainly on his 6 percent stake in the business, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bancel and other Moderna executives have been steadily selling off their stakes throughout the pandemic, mostly through 10b5-1 trading plans. ― BLOOMBERG NEWS



PayPal CEO says work from home is here to stay

PayPal Holdings Inc. employees will probably spend more time working from home even after the coronavirus pandemic is over. The company envisions the vast majority of staffers splitting their time between working from home and from one of the company’s offices, chief executive Dan Schulman said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The firm employed about 23,200 people globally at the end of last year, with almost half based in the United States. “I don’t think we’re ever going back to what was,” Schulman said. “Some people will forever be at home, and others will be more in the office, but the vast majority will be some kind of three-two hybrid,” he said, referring to the number of days spent working from each place. Promising COVID-19 vaccine trials have prompted many employers to begin weighing how they’ll ultimately return workers to offices after sending them home in droves earlier this year to stem the virus’s spread. ― BLOOMBERG NEWS



Visa to delay increase in fees for some merchants

Visa is delaying plans to raise the swipe fees paid by certain US merchants each time a customer uses a credit card in-store as the coronavirus pandemic continues to crimp commerce across the country. The network told merchants this month it will leave consumer credit card-present retail rates unchanged, citing the pandemic’s effects on in-store shopping, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. A spokesman for Visa declined to comment. Visa had planned to make the biggest changes to swipe fees in a decade this year, with higher rates planned for transactions on e-commerce sites. Some retailers, such as those in real estate or education, were set to see such fees decline. The network opted to delay the changes as the pandemic took hold across the United States, forcing consumers to stay inside and crimping transactions on the firm’s network. The planned changes will now happen in April 2021. ― BLOOMBERG NEWS


Supreme Court rejects Walmart’s bid to sell liquor in its Texas stores

The US Supreme Court turned away a bid by Walmart Inc. to start selling liquor at its Texas stores, leaving intact for now a state law that bars such retail sales by publicly owned companies. The rebuff, which came without comment, sends Walmart’s challenge back to a federal trial court, where the world’s largest retailer will have to show that Texas is intentionally discriminating against out-of-state commerce with the 1995 ban. Walmart said it shouldn’t have to show intentional discrimination because the Texas law has the effect of excluding virtually all out-of-state retailers, violating the Constitution. The company says 98 percent of liquor stores in the state are wholly owned by Texans. The ban “operates to block anyone in a position to compete with Texans in the retail liquor market from doing so,” Walmart argued in its unsuccessful appeal. Texas said the law is a legitimate effort to make alcohol less accessible by preventing large corporations from using their economies of scale to reduce prices and increase the number of liquor outlets. State law doesn’t preclude public companies from selling beer and wine. ― BLOOMBERG NEWS



Clorox can’t keep up with the demand for disinfecting wipes

Clorox Co. is shipping out its disinfecting wipes as fast as the company can make them. It’s not fast enough. While the bleach maker planned to have inventories replenished at major retailers by this summer, unprecedented demand throughout the pandemic dashed any hope of that. To cope, Clorox has added 10 additional third-party manufacturers and is running its own facilities 24 hours a day. “Nearly one million packages of Clorox wipes are being shipped to stores every day,” Naomi Greer, a company spokeswoman, said via e-mail. “As soon as they’re on shelf, people scoop them up.” Throughout a public health crisis that has led consumers to stock up on canned goods, snack foods, and other household staples, perhaps no item has been as highly sought after as disinfectants. Clorox competitor Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC expects to churn out 35 million cans of Lysol spray a month in North America by the end of the year ― more than triple the amount before the pandemic began. Consumers’ insatiable demand for products to fight COVID-19 has forced big-box retailers like Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. to implement policies to limit the amount of wipes customers can buy per visit. To further curb stockpiling, they’ve halted online sales of the products, instead directing shoppers to purchase them in-store. ― WASHINGTON POST