As cable cutting continues to become more widespread, internet service providers (ISPs) have begun clamping down on data usage and net neutrality in efforts to regulate new consumer behaviors. While the net neutrality debate has made its way all the way to the floors of congress, data usage is inconsistently controlled among individual ISPs. Case in point: in some rather unfortunate news for cord cutters living in certain areas, Cox Communications is now expanding its data caps to include four more states.
Cox already imposes 1TB data limits on users in Georgia, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, Omaha, Nebraska, and Sun Valley, Idaho. That means for every 50GB users in those areas exceed over 1TB, Cox imposes a $10 fee. Now, Cox subscribers in Arizona, Louisiana, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma will be faced with the same fee for heavy data usage. The data cap is set to go into effect on July 6, 2017.
While 1TB might sound like plenty of data, many users have work or personal needs which can easily use up over a terabyte each month. Streaming HD video, particularly 4K, uses up quite a bit of data. Add in music streaming, online gaming, and downloads, and some households with can easily reach 1TB each month.
Many Cox subscribers took to Reddit to vent their frustrations with the move, decrying the fact that Cox does not send any warning about exceeding 1TB, instead automatically applying the free to users’ monthly bill. There are data trackers on Cox’s website and a mobile app Cox users can download to monitor their usage, but these have done little to calm angry Cox subscribers.
Other telecomm firms have been stepping up similar data caps in recent months in order to recoup some of the lost income widespread cable cutting has caused. While most households currently use less than 1TB, HD video and audio could change things in the near future. Could data caps bring an early end to cord-cutting?