Are you using the Internet a lot more since the Coronavirus Pandemic hit?
If so, you’re not alone.
Millions of Americans have substantially increased their Internet usage within the past few months by streaming more TV, movies and music.
And of course millions of others are now working from home.
Together, those two factors have vastly increased the amount of data the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are having to move through their digital pipes on a daily basis.
Handling increased data means more expense for the ISPs. That’s why many of them limit the amount of data a consumer can use in any given month, and users who exceed their plan’s “data cap” are charged an overage fee that’s tacked onto their monthly bill.
And unfortunately, those overage fees can be quite substantial.
When the lockdowns first began, Comcast, AT&T and Centurylink all temporarily stopped charging their customers overage fees for exceeding the amount of data usage allowed under their selected service plans. But now that’s about to change.
According to this article (which is behind a paywall) from The Wall Street Journal, those ISPs are now starting to lift their bans on overage charges.
That means if you’re one of the millions of customers who have been exceeding their plan’s data cap since the pandemic hit you’ll either have to start paying the overage fees or take one of the following steps:
1 – Switch to a different Internet service plan (with the same ISP) that allows you to use more data each month.
2 – Switch to a different ISP altogether to take advantage of lower rates and/or an increased data allotment.
3 – Reduce your streaming and other other Internet activities enough to bring your usage back in line with your plan’s data allotment.
Unfortunately, some users might find it difficult to take advantage of any of those options because they have no choice but to work from home or they only have one ISP serving their neighborhood.
If you’re one of the unlucky folks who ultimately end up stuck with the same ISP and service plan with no opportunity to reduce your Internet usage, I’m afraid you’ll have to start preparing to pay more for your Internet service.
But that being said, I still recommend that you contact your ISP’s Customer Service department and explain your situation and ask if there’s anything they can do to help.
If enough customers do that there’s always a chance the ISPs will come up with some kind of relief or accommodation to keep their customers happy.
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