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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 kitonne on 3/16/2011 6:51:43 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked, each evening, ALL THE HOUSES in my area have the lights on :) This means that the utility has a network which meets the demand, and each time new buildings are build, the power guys are adding transformers and new high voltage lines, as needed. True, I have a meter, and I pay for usage, BUT because the power company has a local monopoly, their rates are REGULATED and they cannot charge whatever their shareholders would like. They also GUARANTEE service levels for what they sell. If I loose service, I can get a check for the spoiled food in my freezer (yep, you have to file a claim, document your losses, but they pay).

If ATT wants us to pay for usage, their rates WILL be subject to local cost controls, and their selection of the same 250GB for a cap is too close to the Comcast cap number (also 250GB) not to rise some anti-competitive concerns.

Internet access is becoming an utility, and it is only a matter of time until it is regulated and billed as such, BUT I think that rates need to be in line with real costs, like rates for water, electricity and garbage collection, not with CEO's bonus targets....

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