Are Data Caps necessary or a scam
Are Data Caps necessary or a scam? Image: CNBC.

A data cap is a limit imposed by an Internet Services Provider (ISP) such as Comcast, who has recently enforced one back in October. Data caps restrict data consumption to a given memory limit for a preestablished period.

For example, Comcast’s cap called the “Xfinity Terabyte Internet Data Usage Plan” only allows users to consume 1TB of data in their home network a month.

The company states that 99% of its subscribers never reach this quantity, but complaints still abound.

Corporations argue that data caps exist because they help them ease internet congestion but most users believe the practice is just another way for them to make more money.

Arguments for data caps

Business representatives maintain some key reasons, the most famous being the fact that users always pay more when they use more of a given product. Last year, Joseph E. Young, Senior Vice President of Mediacom, sent a letter to the FCC defending the claim.

He remarked that, for example, a two-pack of Oreo cookies costs $2, a price that would not get any customer the family-size version, which has more cookies. In his view, this happens with all services (including water and power) and should also happen with broadband internet.

“In the case of virtually everything you buy, the fact that your cost goes up as you consume more will neither surprise you nor set you off on a passionate crusade to get the government to force producers to sell an unlimited quantity at a fixed price,” Young wrote.

Data caps might not be necessary anymore

Most users complain about the fact that if this was a consistent plan, then they should receive charges according to their data usage, and not a single price for a limit they might never reach in a given month.

Bandwidth limits were most likely necessary when the Internet became a reality for traffic reasons and limited infrastructure. Companies used this argument to create them and enforce them in the first place. However, the pillars that support the Net nowadays are solid and should not have problems dealing with traffic.

Users have started to theorize the practice is about getting more money than “relieving congestion” or any other reason. A person who uses a lot of data is likely to purchase an unlimited plan, which can cost from $35 to $50 more.

This strategy generates extra revenue for large enterprises in a way that many consider (if not unlawful) extremely unethical. The ‘data caps’ argument has drawn the attention of the FCC, which has worked in the past to counter it.

Source: Make Use Of


  1. Data caps are a complete scam. Data caps were enacted once streaming services, such as Netflix, began to replace cable television. So, the cable ISPs decided to limit the amount of data. Their attitude was, “so you don’t want to pay us to watch tv? Fine! You’ll pay us extra to watch Netflix instead. The cable ISPs are monopolies, so they can raise prices and enact these abusive consumer policies without fear that customers will leave. Where I live, I have one lousy choice, Armstrong Cable, for Internet service. They forced a 200GB data cap on their customers.

  2. Filed my Complaint to the FCC in regards to COX pushing data caps. Longtime customer of 8+ years. Amazing how entitled Cox became of my money in those 8 years. Constantly raising prices consistently. Then putting on data caps. All that hard work they do…. SCAM