An ethernet cord being cut with scissors.

gustavomellossa/Shutterstock (Licensed)

The FCC wants you tell them how much you hate data caps 

The FCC is urging the public to fill out a ‘Data Caps Experience Form.’


Andrew Wyrich


Today in Tech is a weekly column that unpacks the internet rights and big tech news that are emerging on the popular platform and runs on Saturdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking the public to tell them how much they hate data caps imposed by their internet service providers (ISPs). 

The call for horror stories comes as FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called on her fellow commissioners to support a formal Notice of Inquiry “to learn more about how broadband providers use data caps on consumer plans.” 

Data caps typically restrict the amount of bandwidth or data a consumer can use before they are throttled or charged more money. 

The goal of the Notice of Inquiry, according to the agency, is to “better understand the current state of data caps, their impact on consumers, and whether the Commission should consider taking action to ensure that data caps do not cause harm to competition or consumers’ ability to access broadband internet services.” 

“Internet access is no longer nice-to-have, but need-to-have for everyone, everywhere.  As we emerge from the pandemic, there are many lessons to learn about what worked and what didn’t work, especially around what it takes to keep us all connected,” Rosenworcel said in a statement

“When we need access to the internet, we aren’t thinking about how much data it takes to complete a task, we just know it needs to get done.  It’s time the FCC take a fresh look at how data caps impact consumers and competition,” she added.

The announcement from Rosenworcel was cheered by consumer advocacy groups, who pointed out that data caps can interfere with low-income consumers trying to access services online like educational tools, Video Relay Services, telehealth, and more. 

“There is scant evidence that such caps are necessary and their consequences can be especially disastrous for vulnerable populations,” Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss said in a statement, later adding: “In general, data caps are not popular with consumers, nor are they an effective means of managing network congestion.” 

Why it matters 

If you are one of the many people who probably have a word or two to say about data caps, the FCC is urging you to fill out a “Data Caps Experience Form.” The form isn’t a formal complaint, so it won’t be shared with your ISP

Of course, if the FCC were to get to the point of taking regulatory action against data caps, they’d likely need a full 5-person commission with a Democratic majority—something many of you long time readers know has been a process filled with false attacks, lobbying, and more

The Daily Dot