Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



February 3, 2021

Senator Needleman Happy as Nearly $500 Million in Federal Emergency Relief Funds Released in Effort to Reduce Educational Disparities, Including $3.651 Million in Local Funds

Today, the leaders of the Energy & Technology Committee, including Senate Chair State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), House Chair State Representative David Arconti (D-Danbury) and Ranking Members State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) and State Representative Charles Ferraro (R-West Haven), said they were relieved to see Comcast’s announcement that it will drop all data caps impacting customers in the Northeast until July. The Comcast policy change was announced shortly before Connecticut Attorney General William Tong held a press conference Wednesday morning on the Capitol steps, decrying the late-2020 imposition of the caps and calling for their removal.

“While this temporary rollback is undoubtedly good news for tens of thousands of Connecticut residents put under increased stress by data caps being imposed while many are working from home and just as many children are learning from home, we must continue to apply pressure to Comcast and its fellow internet service providers,” said Sen. Needleman. “In the middle of a pandemic, this move is nearly indefensible, but even in good times, ISPs have been known to impose data caps as a means to increase revenue more than protect their services. It’s good that Comcast delayed its data caps for six months. It would be better if ISPs didn’t impose customer-unfriendly policies at all.”

“A temporary roll back is a good short-term solution, but our committee is committed to finding policies that will permanently address this concern,” said Rep. Arconti. “Now, more than ever, broadband internet service is critical to our personal and professional lives. We must protect our consumers against any predatory plan that hinders the ability to access work and education. This is a vital resource that should be regulated as such and that includes providing PURA with the necessary staff to do that.”

“I’m glad to see that Comcast reached a common sense solution to suspend data caps which would have added additional hardships for their pandemic-beaten customers,” said Sen. Formica. “Internet service is now more important than ever for Connecticut families. Comcast’s decision to choose people over increasing profits will enable Connecticut ratepayers to attend class, to ‘go to work’ and make that call to a loved one instead of forcing them to miss these important events simply to avoid a fee increase. Now, the Connecticut Legislature should follow Comcast’s example and work collaboratively to avoid increasing the financial demands on its residents and businesses by raising taxes.”

“I am pleased to hear that Comcast will rollback its data cap imposition on Connecticut residents,” said Rep. Ferraro. “This will certainly come as good news to the many residents who are working from home as well as the many children who due to the pandemic are also in the home doing distance learning. I realize that this is a 6 month moratorium but it is my hope that going forward that ISPs will realize imposing such data caps are extremely consumer unfriendly.”

On Wednesday, Comcast announced it would suspend the data caps it imposed on 12 Northeastern states beginning in January, partially in response to announcements made by state Attorneys General including AG Tong and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The data caps, which are in place in most other parts of the country, are designed to limit a customer to 1.2 terabytes of data per month, which represents 1,200 gigabytes of data. If a user goes above that total, they are charged $10 for each additional 50 gigabytes used, up to $100 extra per month. Comcast said it will reimpose the caps in July with more transparency provided to customers when the caps return.

The data caps’ imposition in the middle of a global pandemic drew scorn from critics, many of whom noted working from home and remote learning have been adopted by millions around the country in response to the threat of COVID-19. With digital video conferencing, streaming video and many more technologies using more data as new breakthroughs in delivery are found, data caps stand to hit consumers in their wallets at a time they are already struggling.