Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



January 26, 2021

Senator Needleman Supports Raising Bill to Address Data Cap Limits

Just as the issue of internet utility providers imposing restrictive data caps on customers yet again becomes pressing and frustrating statewide and beyond, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, today supported the committee’s effort to raise a bill addressing the issue.

“In December, the leaders of the Energy & Technology Committee spoke out against Comcast’s proposed data caps, noting the financial cost they give customers with little, if any, service benefit,” said Sen. Needleman. “We know this predatory practice is largely intended as a financial incentive for companies. For Comcast, and other companies, to implement such a program is them seeking to profit off their customers, who often have few if any alternatives. And for the cap to go into effect in the middle of a pandemic driving increased data usage is cruel. We plan to take action against these data caps this year with solutions that provide customers with real solutions.”

This renewed focus on data caps by the committee, with specific legislation to come in the next weeks, comes as the restrictive practice takes on new significance in Connecticut and beyond. While many internet service providers implement data caps, Comcast recently expanded its 1.2-terabyte data cap into Connecticut at the beginning of this year. That means Comcast customers who use more than 1,200 gigabytes of data on one service will have to either pay an additional $10 for every 50 extra gigabytes of data they use or upgrade their plans to more expensive monthly ones.

While research by industry vendors found that just under 10 percent of internet customers use more than a terabyte of data per month, that number has likely risen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced children and adults alike to shift daily routines from schools and workplaces to home offices and kitchens on digital devices. A Zoom group meeting can use as much as 2.4 gigabytes of data per hour, while watching a high-definition two-hour film on Netflix can use up to 6 gigabytes of data, and digital technology is only using more data as advances continue to be made.

Additionally, data caps can be considered a source of revenue for companies, even as company leaders may claim they protect internal systems. Earlier in 2020, when Comcast waived its data cap for customers, it boasted its network handled the increased usage, which questions why reimposing such a cap is necessary at this time.