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Comcast delays broadband usage caps as lawmakers threaten rate regulations

Once the plan kicks in, Xfinity customers whose total monthly uploads and downloads exceed 1.2 terabytes will be charged an additional $10 per month for each additional 50 gigabytes of data.
Once the plan kicks in, Xfinity customers whose total monthly uploads and downloads exceed 1.2 terabytes will be charged an additional $10 per month for each additional 50 gigabytes of data.Jeff Fusco/Associated Press

Broadband provider Comcast is delaying its plan to charge extra fees for users of its Xfinity Internet service who exceed a monthly data cap of 1.2 terabytes. The controversial plan was set to begin this month, though Comcast offered a grace period so that heavy Internet users would not have to start paying extra until April. That grace period has now been extended to August.

“We’re providing customers with additional time to understand the new data plan,” said Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman.

Once the plan kicks in, Xfinity customers whose total monthly uploads and downloads exceed 1.2 terabytes will be charged an additional $10 per month for each additional 50 gigabytes of data (up to $100). Alternately, subscribers who rent an Internet gateway from Comcast at $14 per month can get unlimited data for an additional $11 per month. Customers who purchase their own Internet gateways to avoid Comcast’s rental fee must pay an extra $30 per month for unlimited access. For years, Comcast has applied data caps in most of the 39 states it serves, but it had exempted the northeastern United States until it announced a change in the policy late last year.

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In response, Democratic State Representative Andres Vargas filed legislation this week that would ban Comcast or any other Internet provider from raising rates or imposing data caps on Massachusetts residents during the COVID-19 emergency, and for 60 days after the state of emergency is officially lifted.


Hiawatha Bray can be reached at hiawatha.bray@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.