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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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USA vs The rest of the world
By RedemptionAD on 3/14/2011 9:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
USA is lagging behind on ISP Service because we have a lot of space. It is an unfair comparison to put us on the same level as Japan or the UK or anywhere else. The backbone of the internet here has to cover a much larger area. Getting gigabit Ethernet around your house is easy, getting it over an area the size of Texas is a much more expensive and complex task. Japan and most European countries are about the size of Texas. The USA is 10 times larger than that with a smaller population density in a lot of the areas the backbone has to get through to get to where people are. Yes, the monopoly and biopololy systems suck due to lack of competition, but without it most areas would have no internet or dialup at best.




RE: USA vs The rest of the world
By kitonne on 3/16/2011 6:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is no excuse for not having same service as Europe at competitive prices in the big US towns. I can understand why there are are will be some farms in the middle of nowhere which will not have some services available to them, but in big cities we should be able to get comparable services with the rest of the world.

We could use the same old solution used before - break the pipes (cable internet and DSL) from content providers, same as it was done when ATT was broken up last time (long distance service [content] part separated from the local monopolies [pipes part]). It worked quite nicely for lowering the price for long distance calls, it should work again for lowering the cost of content and eliminating caps. The other solution would be to force ATT to apply the same caps to ALL THEIR CUSTOMERS, including their UVerse TV customers, which would force them to use reasonable caps.

I do not think many will disagree that the future is content (live TV, movies-Netflix, shows-Hulu, YouTube, etc.) over IP - and this means a lot larger caps then 150 or 250GB / mo.

I have UVerse Internet, with no TV or phone service bundled, and my land lines are on their way to voip land (third party, not ATT). I went to ATT UVerse internet specifically because of no caps, compared to Comcast, and lower network latency to the servers I care about most. Both high speed internet service providers in my area have (or will have shortly, it seams) 250GB caps. This is not enough for IPTV, even in standard definition, and FIOS deployment has been stuck 20 miles away due to monopoly arrangements with the city governments in the area.

I have no use for the TV bundles offered by UVerse (or Comcast) - I end up looking at the same 3-5 channels and paying for a lot of channels I never watch. There are enough free TV stations streaming live for news I want to watch, and a Netflix subscription is a much better use of my money, but I need internet access with a fairly big cap - 250GB is too low for comfort. I hate to conclude that it may be time to move to a place where I can get FIOS service :(


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