Telecom giant AT&T says it will keep in place a waiver on broadband overage charges through the end of the year.
The move is intended to satisfy concerns from customers and advocates who claimed the overage charges were hampering remote working and distance learning efforts brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
AT&T and other Internet providers typically cap the amount of broadband data a residential customer is allowed to use in a billing cycle. This cap is generally around 1TB, and AT&T and others say most residential customers never reach this limit.
Those who do are typically charged between $10 and $100 a month in overage fees, though customers are able to lift the data cap for a flat fee of $30 to $50 a month, depending on the provider. AT&T lifts its broadband data for free if customers agree to bundle their Internet service with AT&T TV or its satellite sister service DirecTV.
After the coronavirus pandemic forced employees to work from home, AT&T and other competing services agreed to temporarily lift broadband data caps through the end of June. AT&T restored its data cap but agreed not to charge customers who exceeded the 1TB limit through the end of September.
Customers and advocates raised concerns that plans to restore the cap on October 1 would lead to overage charges at a time when children are using data-heavy services to attend school remotely. Subscribers of AT&T’s low-income service called Access were expected to be among the hardest hit by overage fees when the data cap was restored.
On Friday, AT&T said it would voluntarily waive overage charges through the end of the year, ensuring customers who need access to videoconferencing services and other remote work and learning tools aren’t hit with excessive use fees.
The move affects customers who use AT&T Fiber, AT&T U-Verse and Access from AT&T.
AT&T plans to restore its overage charges for Internet customers on January 1, 2021.