Internet data caps are monthly limits on the amount of data you can use over your internet connection. When an internet user hits that limit, different network operators engage in different actions, including slowing down data speeds, charging overage fees, and even disconnecting a subscriber. These caps come into play when a user either uploads or downloads data. Caps are most restrictive for wireless Internet access, but wired Internet access providers are also imposing these caps.
Whatever the variation of data cap, they all have the same effect—they discourage the use of the internet and the innovative applications it spawns.
Think of the effect data caps have on visual artists, for example. Films, photographs, images of paintings, and other works of art are often data-rich, requiring significant bandwidth. These artists rely on the ability of new audiences to easily discover their work, but in a world with data caps, people may be less inclined to explore new things because of concerns about exceeding their cap.
Data caps also make it impossible to do all the important things 4G LTE supposedly lets you do. T-Mobile released evidence that showed that users with capped or throttled broadband use 20x-30x less broadband than users with uncapped broadband. and 37% of subscribers don’t use streaming media because they fear going over their data caps. This hurts not only the ability of consumers to use broadband to its fullest potential, but it has serious implications for net neutrality.
What PK Is Doing…
PK is working to increase oversight for the implementation of data caps.
Check out John Bergmayer’s “AT&T is Reminding Us Why the Video Marketplace Was Traditionally Highly Regulated.”
Check out Kathleen Burke’s “Keep All Americans Connected By Prohibiting Data Caps During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Check out “What’s The Problem With Data Caps?” below.
Here are the PK experts on this issue: