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Comcast to start an overage fee

Beginning Jan. 1, Comcast will be rolling out a new data plan that will charge for overage that 95% of its Xfinity customers nationwide never reach.

To put Comcast’s new monthly 1.2 terabyte data plan into perspective, it’s enough data to stream 500 hours of HD video, play more than 34,000 hours of online games, videoconference for nearly 3,500 hours a month, watch almost 1,200 hours distance learning video on Seesaw or Google Classroom and stream 21,000 hours of music.

“Our data plan is structured in a way that the very small percentage of our customers who use more than 1.2 terabytes of monthly data and generate the greatest demand for network development and capacity pay more for their increased usage,” a Comcast spokesman said.

An average Comcast customer uses 308 gigabytes, about 25% of the new 1.2 TB cap, the company said. Internet speed will not be affected. The new data plan will align Comcast’s Northeast customers with the rest of its customers across the country, a company spokesman said.

Besides West Virginia, the move affects customers in 13 other states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, parts of Ohio and North Carolinas, plus the District of Columbia.

Customers will have a grace period, a company spokesman said. There will be no new charges in  January or February, and March will be a courtesy month, meaning the first bill won’t hit until April and be due in May.

For the 5% who will reach the monthly cap, Comcast will offer unlimited data plans that vary from $11 to $30 more a month. Comcast said it will also notify users when they reach 75%, 90% and 100% of their allotted data through text or on Comcast’s mobile app. Overage charges will be  $10 for 50 gigabytes up to a maximum of $100 additional each month, The Washington Post said.

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