South Jersey residents will no longer have to worry about how much internet they use in 2021.
Comcast has announced it will delay the start of its new data plan for residential Xfinity internet customers in its Northeast region, including New Jersey, until 2022.
“We recognize that our data plan was new for our customers in the Northeast, and while only a very small percentage of customers need additional data, we are providing them with more time to become familiar with the new plan," said Jennifer Bilotta, a Comcast spokesperson.
Under the new plan, Xfinity residential internet customers could be charged up to an additional $100 per month if they exceed a monthly data usage threshold of 1.2 TB.
The internet service provider began to roll out the plan in January, and was called out by South Jersey legislators as "ill-timed and insensitive" due to the ongoing pandemic forcing families to work and attend class from home.
Comcast then agreed to push the start back to July, and on Thursday announced it would postpone its start until next year.
Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Delran, was among the legislators pushing Comcast to postpone or abandon the plan.
In January, he was one of three state lawmakers to introduce a bill in the New Jersey Senate that would prohibit internet service providers from increasing rates during a public health emergency.
On Friday, he called the postponement a "positive step in the right direction."
"Fueled by hundreds of emails, phone calls, and social media messages, we have argued that any plans to limit data, and effectively raise rates, was opportunistic, insensitive, and tone-deaf," Singleton said. "Especially when nearly every resident in the Garden State is relying on internet connectivity to learn, work, and socialize during this pandemic."
"This is an even longer extension than previously announced, and while we are thankful for the additional time being given to their customers to prepare, we will keep pursuing a permanent solution," Singleton continued.
Assembly members Jean Stanfield and Ryan Peters, Republicans representing the 8th Legislative District, also condemned the new plan in January. The district covers parts of Atlantic, Burlington and Camden counties.
"Everyone came out in full force against this new fee that would jack up prices for users that went over a certain amount data," Peters said Friday. "We're glad that it continues to get delayed, now by a full year."
Customers who exceed or come close to exceeding the data cap will receive an email notification each month, Comcast said, reminding them about the upcoming data cap and providing tips for avoiding overcharges and how to purchase more data.
Comcast said it began to notify its customers of the new plan in November and December, and that the 1.2 TB data cap only affects a "very small percentage" of customers.
According to Comcast, 1.2 TB of data allows for its customers to video conference for 3,500 hours a month, watch 1,200 hours of distance learning videos or stream 500 hours of HD video per month.
The company said its internet customers use around 400 GB of data per month on average, or about a third of its proposed limit.
To learn more about the new plan, or to learn more about data usage, you can visit https://www.xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/data.