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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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RE: WTH
By jarman on 3/13/2011 11:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People like you are ridiculous as you don't think about the logistics, just what you think you deserve. As a network engineer, people like you make me cringe.


How about receiving you have paid for? Is it a crime against humanity to expect a company to live up to a service that it was certainly willing to sell? If AT&T has to cap its bandwidth, then that's fine. Just don't sell it to your customers as something entirely different.


RE: WTH
By Gzus666 on 3/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By RMSe17 on 3/14/11, Rating: 0
RE: WTH
By icemansims on 3/14/2011 10:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but you sound like a corporate mouthpiece. The problem with the argument of "you accept the terms of service" is that the consumer has no choice if they want service at all. This is why laws that protect the consumer have to be in place.
The language itself should be outlawed in the advertisements. "Up to XXX mbits/s" could actually deliver dialup speeds and be well within their contract, technically.
The rest of your argument makes no sense because you DO use electricity 24/7, number one, and number two, this is data transfer. It's closer to having your TV on 24/7 and watching cable the whole time.


RE: WTH
By someguy123 on 3/14/2011 1:49:51 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see them selling it as something different.

New plan will not come into effect until after billing cycles. Right now they're making people aware that, if you stay, there will be a cap if you're someone who uses a substantial amount of bandwidth. At that point you're free to leave the service if you do not agree to the terms.

They're not stealing from you. They're just being greedy and leveraging their position. At the same time, the cost of sustaining the network to please the top percentage of bandwidth users is very high, with zero return and essentially zero performance benefits for the average user.


RE: WTH
By mcnabney on 3/14/2011 11:48:51 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you missed the point.

AT&T is a defacto monopoly in many areas and only competes against a single cable provider in the rest. Only a few select areas of the nation have FiOS available as a third competitor. Because they are defacto monopoly they cannot arbitrarily change policy / pricing without local government approval. Unfortunately, our Federal government is bought and paid for so nothing will stop these monopolists from doing this.

The key option is to allow communities to errect and operate their own data networks - but apparently they can't stand up to the legal attacks from providers if anyone recalls that community in North Carolina that did just that when their providers wouldn't service them very well.

Sadly, we get the lousy and overpriced data network that we deserve.


RE: WTH
By someguy123 on 3/14/2011 12:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hence the word leverage.


RE: WTH
By Solandri on 3/14/2011 7:25:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How about receiving you have paid for? Is it a crime against humanity to expect a company to live up to a service that it was certainly willing to sell? If AT&T has to cap its bandwidth, then that's fine. Just don't sell it to your customers as something entirely different.

That's exactly what they're doing - they are making it so they're not selling it to their customers as something entirely different. They used to sell the service without specifying how much total bandwidth you could use in a month. Now they're saying up-front that you can only use 150 or 250 GB in a month.

It sucks for the folks who signed up when there were no such limits. But I'm willing to bet their contract is worded so the ISP can unilaterally modify the terms like this. ISPs got wise to avoiding binding contracts which committed them to unlimited service back in the 1990s.

The real issue is ISPs advertising unlimited usage, then in the fine print of the contract slipping in that they can cap your usage, thus making it limited. That's false advertisement and the FTC needs to crack down on it. But I see it as a Good Thing that ISPs are finally deciding to be up-front and honest about just how much bandwidth they'll let you use. At least it's not like the BS Comcast pulled where they made a limit, but they wouldn't tell you what the limit was nor how close you were to it, and they'd terminate your service if you exceeded it.


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