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Verizon plays with data caps in limited billing trial

This is a test, this is only a test, Verizon says.

Verizon customers were surprised to see new DSL data caps.
Getty Images

Verizon is experimenting with what data caps may look like for customers, though the company denies it'll actually be employing these measures.

Customers in New York and New Jersey saw limits on their dashboard on the Verizon website. The company's high-speed internet plan showed a data limit of 150GB, while its high-speed internet enhanced plan had a limit of 250GB, according to a Thursday report by consumer group Stop the Cap. Existing customers in sections of upstate New York and New Jersey who were looking to change or upgrade their current DSL package could see the data limits.

But a Verizon representative said the caps are part of a trial in which the company measures data usage for a small set of customers in Virginia and shows it in their billing.

"While these customers were given the 250GB and 150GB allowances shown in the screen shots, we've never billed customers who exceed those allowances and have no plans to do so," said Verizon spokesman Ray McConville. "The purpose of the trial was more the idea of accurately collecting and displaying usage in billing."

McConville added that customers in New York shouldn't have seen the caps, since the trials are focused on Virginia. The company's IT team is looking into the system error.

Data caps, which limit how much of the internet you can access, have long been a concern for consumers. But those limits have largely been felt on the wireless side, where unlimited plans have just made a comeback over the last year. There've been far fewer incidents of hard caps on the wireline side of internet service. 

First published May 17, 2:44 p.m. PT
Update, 5:40 p.m.: Adds comment from Verizon.