Baltimore City leaders are asking the state to investigate Comcast's "data cap" as a form of predatory price gouging.

Baltimore City Councilmembers Zeke Cohen, Ryan Dorsey, Kristerfer Burnett, and the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition sent a letter Tuesday to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh urging him to open an investigation.

|| Read the full letter ||

The letter states Comcast established a 1.2 TB data cap on service plans for new and existing customers on Jan. 1. The letter states that after a three-month grace period beginning Jan. 1, customers without unlimited plans will be charged $10 for every 50 GB they use over the 1.2 TB limit, up to a maximum of $100 a month.

Cohen told 11 News that he and his colleagues seek the attorney general "to look into whether this new data cap constitutes a form of price gouging. We are deeply concerned that consumers in Maryland are being ripped off by this company, that we don't have many options here for internet providers."

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"To learn that in the midst of a global pandemic and economic downturn, that Comcast would establish a data cap on its service and raise fees on customers is simply appalling. Baltimore City residents deserve more than this from Comcast," Burnett said.

The council members and BDEC said the 1.2 TB maximum would put an additional burden on individuals that rely on the internet for work, and families with students that depend on the internet for learning.

The letter reads, in part: "Unless the excessive fees generated by companies like Comcast are addressed, such companies will continue to exclude low-income, Black and Latinx communities from connectivity, a process known as digital redlining."

"Everyone is online right now. We are all on our cellphones, we're all on the internet, all learning online, so to arbitrarily increase the prices based on 1.2 TB of data is just unacceptable. To do that in a pandemic is unconscionable," Cohen said.

"Comcast is already squeezing consumers as hard as they can, in exchange for poor service. To seek to extract even more wealth and creative intentional service constraints – at this time, especially -- is simply untenable," Dorsey said. Read moe at WBALTV