Due to a longstanding FCC agreement, Spectrum doesn’t enforce data caps on its home internet plans. But this agreement expires on May 18th—afterward, Spectrum is allowed to implement data caps. Unfortunately, we’re not sure what Spectrum plans to do with this newfound freedom.
Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications, made a bid to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2015. It was a massive deal that positioned Spectrum as the second-largest ISP in the United States. So, when the FCC and U.S. Justice Department approved this acquisition, they enforced some antitrust rules, including seven years of unlimited data for customers.
Spectrum hasn’t announced any incoming data caps. But as Cord Cutters News notes, Spectrum initially tried to end this deal in January of 2021—two years early. It even submitted a petition to the FCC (though this petition was quickly withdrawn).
We hope that Spectrum isn’t interested in data caps. After all, ISPs face stiff competition these days, and many providers offer unlimited data (at least with high-speed plans). But Spectrum is one of the largest providers in the United States, and in many regions, it is the only provider. Data caps would not be a surprise, particularly in regions with zero competition.
Either way, here are a few things to consider; Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge recently shared that 20% of broadband customers chew through 1TB of data (or more) each month. Enforcing a traditional 1TB data cap (which charges you $10 for every 100GB you use beyond 1TB) would generate a massive amount in revenue.
On the other hand, Spectrum is well aware of the competition, and it’s intentionally trying to build a more marketable brand. In fact, Spectrum is currently rolling out symmetrical internet (matched upload and download speeds) as a marketing tactic—during an investor conference (via Fierce Telecom), CEO Tom Rutledge argued that symmetrical internet isn’t useful beyond a “marketing claim.”
I suppose that we’ll learn more after May 18th. Be sure to join our free newsletter if you want to keep up with this story.
Source: Cord Cutters News