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The end is near for all-you-can-eat broadband plans

If you are an AT&T DSL or U-Verse customer and just so happen to be an extreme data hog, your reign of terror will soon be over. DSL Reports is indicating that AT&T plans to implement new data caps on customers starting May 2 (notices will be sent to customers between March 18 and March 31).

The data caps will be set at 150GB for DSL customers and 250GB for U-Verse customers. As somewhat of a token gesture to customers, the bandwidth limit can be exceeded twice over the life of your account without ill effect. However, overage fees will be put in place upon the third time that your monthly data allotment is exceeded. 

Overage fees will be $10 for every 50GB that you go over the limit. However, AT&T will send notices to customers at the 65, 90, and 100 percent data cap thresholds, so there should be no excuse for customers to not know when they are approaching their monthly limits.

AT&T already imposes data limits on its wireless plans, so this move to landline data connections should come as no surprise. Like its wireless data caps, AT&T cites a small minority of customers that hog a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.

"The top 2 percent of residential subscribers uses about 20 percent of the bandwidth on our network," said AT&T in a statement to Engadget. "Just one of these high-traffic users can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households."

If you're used to an all-you-can-eat buffet when it comes to online video streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, it looks as though those days are slowly coming to an end.

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By superPC on 3/13/2011 10:04:05 PM , Rating: 3
it's not overselling actually. think of it like subway system. at peak hour there would be more people that use the system, so it's less convenient to the people that uses it. but the system is design to use averages, not peak capacity. if a system is design so it can handle full load all the time it would be very expensive for everyone (not to mention wasteful since most of the time maybe 70% of the time all that capacity would go unused). it's the people that uses their internet 24-7 at peak capacity that makes averages calculation seems faulty and if they're only 2% of overall consumer than they should pay more.

i think capping is good as long as it can be cheaper. and there's still unlimited plan (at a large premium) for those who wants it. AT&T doesn't seem to plan any cost reduction so this time it's all about corporate greed i'm afraid.

By Gzus666 on 3/13/2011 10:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
THANK YOU! At least someone has a basic understanding of capacity planning. While I don't like the way management of AT&T is going with this, they have to do something. My preferred method would be to throttle the top 2% of users during peak hours. Simple token bucket shaping should function for this just fine. They can still do their insane usage, but they can't infringe on other people's normal usage.

Other idea could be a system of percentage utilization, if they break a threshold, they are shaped down or given lower queuing priority. Could even work with a normal policer to drop their excessive traffic at peak hours.

By dsx724 on 3/13/2011 10:54:34 PM , Rating: 3
I expect the money I pay for services to go to infrastructural improvements at AT&T and Comcast. I don't expect it to be squandered by multimillion dollar bonuses to executives that find more ways to exploit me as a customer. Your profit should go into improving your services and not constantly trying to cut mine.

Cornering the market through franchise licenses, exclusive and back room deals merely hinders the consumer's choice. Just because monopoly profits can be made at the expense of the majority doesn't mean it should be.

As for paying more, I don't use my health insurance but I still dump more than five thousand a year into it. As a pool, we can support each other to negate those that need large amounts of a service such as the elderly, those born with birth or genetic defects and fat people.

All companies in all industries want to cut these "heavy" users under varying pretexts. However, all they do after driving those users away is to milk profits instead of reducing service charges. Just be careful what you wish for.

By Gzus666 on 3/13/11, Rating: 0
By ajoyner777 on 3/13/2011 11:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's funny. Do you really think they are going to lower the prices on their packages? It's just a ploy to make more money/not upgrade the equipment/backbone. Obviously as more people get broadband usage will increase. I like the highway analogy somebody came up with, except the part where I can drive on them 24/7/365 if I want and not pay a dime more.

By Gzus666 on 3/13/2011 11:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
Look out, evil corporations, yada yada. Carriers lower prices all the time, give free bandwidth upgrades to customers and so on.

I like the highway analogy somebody came up with, except the part where I can drive on them 24/7/365 if I want and not pay a dime more.

This is the dumbest crap I have ever read. So you think if the roads wear out prematurely, they will just crap money and fix the roads? Or do you expect the road repair fairy to come out and take care of it? Or, do you think maybe they would be required to find the money in taxes or tax you more to fix it?

On top of that, you didn't understand the analogy, it was meant to clarify capacity planning, not maintenance.

By ajoyner777 on 3/13/2011 11:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is the dumbest crap I have ever read. So you think if the roads wear out prematurely, they will just crap money and fix the roads

Of course not, don't be ridiculous. They would have to do the unheard concept of cutting into their bottom line/cutting dead weight/running a business with some intelligence. Sticking it to the customer is not a good way to go about things, period.

By jimhsu on 3/14/2011 12:28:47 AM , Rating: 2
Actually you can ... except for the part about getting stuck in rush hour traffic and not being able to "go anywhere". When was the last time they "upgraded" your highway to solve that problem?

By Alexstarfire on 3/14/2011 2:06:01 AM , Rating: 1
Around here it seems to be about every year they are doing something to the highway. Of course the solution never fixes the original problem let alone problems that'll arise later and it inconveniences everyone while they are doing it. Honestly, it'd almost be better if they just left shit alone until they could like double capacity.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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