AT&T is one of the leading broadband services all over the world. In light of the corona-virus outbreak, the company has released an announcement, where it said no data caps and overage fees would exist for their broadband customers. The decision is taken because of the number of companies implementing work from the home strategy for their employees. And an unlimited data cap is a must in such conditions. After AT&T made the following announcement, various lawmakers and consumer groups are pressuring other ISPs and local broadband services to follow suit and reduce the prices.
According to Motherboard, experts have commented that there exists no justification over putting a cap on data usage and overage fees. It is just a method of broadband companies to extort more money from their customers. Until further notice, the AT&T Company has committed itself to suspend all data cap limits from their customers, and they won’t be charging any overage fees either.
In an official statement released by the company, they said, “Many of our AT&T Internet customers already have unlimited home internet access, and we are waiving internet data overage for the remaining customers.”Source
Sources say that although the data cap limit does not exist for all of its customers, some of AT&T customers with a lower package are provided with a limit of 150 GB to 1 TB for one month. And if this limit is exceeded, the company charges almost $50 per 50 GB of data.
Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Twitter have asked their employees to start working from home, if their job permits. Working from home has hiked up the usage of broadband services for which people are now demanding no data caps. For workers that need to be present in the office for their job will still have to visit the office physically and get on with their job while following strict health protocols such as no physical contact with any other employee. Even Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, in his recent tweet, encouraged people to start contributing to social distancing.
Following AT&T’s decision to work from home, other ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have also suspended data caps from their service policies.
Experts have said that for years broadband companies are squeezing money out of consumers because of lack of competition in the US. They impose high overage fees and provide expensive broadband packages with data caps. With the ongoing health crisis and the resulting increase in video conferencing, home learning, work from home assignments, it’s time for such broadband services to remove their data caps and reduce the price of their services.
Motherboard reportedly contacted the top 10 leading US Broadband providers in the country, and only one of them was willing to provide any information regarding the ongoing debate and go on record for it. A spokesperson from Comcast said that there had been a lot of conversation and debates going on about the ongoing crisis and how to get ahead of the pandemic, but no official decision has been taken place regarding the suspension of the data caps.
A Mediacom spokesperson on conversation Motherboard said, “We feel like we already have some of the most generous data allowances in the cable industry. Still, Mediacom is giving all customers on all service tiers 50GB of additional data through March 31st. We will revisit as April approaches to see if this policy needs to be extended or changed.”
It has become quite clear that due to the pandemic, educational institutes and companies have requested a more ‘learn from home’ and ‘work from home’ environment, to curb the situation. It increases the demand for broadband services. But some of the US broadband services are not willing to do that. It will result in a lack of economic growth in the US.
According to various studies and researches, it has been found that almost 42 million American citizens have no access to broadband services because of their sky-rocket pricing. Not every household can afford it. Due to the lack of competition in this field, the customers of the US are being forced to pay a high price for broadband services. Various petitions have been filed against it, with the hope of some companies paying heed to their customers.
Comcast currently is the one the cheapest service with a 1 TB data cap limit and $10 for every 50 GB of exceeding data consumed.