Majority of large ISPs now using monthly data caps, GAO says

U.S. broadband providers appear to be embracing monthly data caps, but customers are confused about the amount of data they use and broadband plan options, according to preliminary findings by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The four largest U.S. mobile carriers and seven of the 13 largest wireline broadband providers have data-capped subscriptions in place, the GAO said. When customers exceed the data caps, three mobile carriers and three wired providers charge customers for additional data, while a fourth mobile carrier throttles connection speeds, the GAO said.

The ISPs’ move toward data caps raises concerns about what customers are getting in return, said Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat who requested the GAO report. Broadband customers want to be able to stream videos, download music and use video-conferencing apps, and “they don’t want it interrupted,” she said.

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