Spectrum Asks FCC to Allow Data Caps on Broadband Plans

Charter Communications has asked the FCC for permission to add data caps on its Spectrum broadband plans.

Charter has been unable to impose caps due to the conditions of its 2016 merge with Time Warner Cable. At the time of the merger, the FCC shared these conditions for the company in its order to approve the merger.

“For seven years, we prohibit New Charter from imposing data caps or charging usage-based pricing for its residential broadband service. This condition ensures that New Charter will continue Charter’s past pricing practices and protects subscribers from paying fees designed to make online video consumption more expensive leading subscribers to stick with a traditional pay-TV bundle.”

In June, Charter went to the FCC with a petition to end that seven year ban, arguing that companies including AT&T, Cox, Altice, and Comcast aren’t being limited in the same way.

“They are able to do so because, unlike Charter, they are not subject to a condition that artificially and unilaterally restricts the packages available to their customers. For instance, their websites reveal that Comcast, Cox, Altice, AT&T UVerse, and Verizon Fios each have data cap or similar data usage policies.”

Charter claims that ending the ban would help the company best meet the needs of customers, stating “Charter, like many other established broadband providers, is actually actively working to increase its subscribers’ access to online video services. Eliminating these Conditions at the end of five years will therefore advance, rather than thwart the competitive gains that have been made, giving Charter the flexibility it needs to best meet the data usage needs of all of its subscribers and to configure its network to deliver data in the most efficient way possible.”

The FCC has opened the issue up for public comments, which are due by July 22. You can make comments through the FCC website.

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