AT&T says broadband meters not enabled in all markets

Earlier this week, AT&T officially imposed broadband caps on both its DSL and U-Verse services. The company was also supposed to offer a tool for its customers to check to see if they were approaching those caps. But customers have complained that the meter tool is not yet available. This week Broadband Reports got an AT&T spokesperson to admit that the meter tool is not enabled for all of its broadband subscribers.

The caps themselves limit subscribers to 150 GB a month for DSL subscribers with 250 GB a month for U-Verse users. AT&T does allow people to go over those caps but customers must pay an extra $10 for every 50 GB they go over the established limits. While the AT&T spokesperson told Broadband Reports that the meter tool is available for "the majority of our customers" the spokesperson did admit, "In some locations the tool is under construction and will be available at a later date." The spokesperson would not reveal exactly how many customers have access to the meter tool.

Customers who go over the broadband caps without the meter tool shouldn't have to worry about their bill going higher than normal immediately. The spokesperson said, "Any affected customer will hear directly from us before any account changes are made: first, when the ability to measure their own usage is available and numerous times when they approach their usage allowance -- unless and until then, there is no impact."

As we reported earlier this week, another AT&T spokesperson said that the new caps were actually put into place due to customer demand. The majority of broadband Internet customers in the US are now under some kind of cap limit, although AT&T is the largest provider that offers overage charges rather than simply shutting down a user's account as is the case with other broadband ISPs.

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I still don't understand how this cures congestion?

Without caps: "I'm sorry, you may not be able to reach the advertised speed during peak hours because x% (where x is in the minority, this is important) is downloading more than their 'fair share'."

With caps: "I'm sorry, you may not be able to reach the advertised speed during peak hours. That's why we advertise 'up to' X Mbits."

AT&T can provide its service to 98% of people on their infrastructure and upgrade plan with their current plans.
They can provide 100% of people if they slightly adjust the product. The product sold use to be a "6mbit/sec connection" now it is a "6mbit connection capped at a certain data usage limit"

Why can the product only have a single metric of speed for sale?

Why are people crying foul play because they are a minority that want to be subsidized by 98% of the population?

There is 2 choices:
1)cap the 2% and charge them for their excess
2)charge 98% more money to subsidize the other 2% of people

Nothing is for free. Dont cry because you believe you should be given things for free.

All these news post show is that a whole heap of young Neowin American users have no idea about business.

IN the UK they have dealt with caps for years.....despite unlimited claims, the actual cap is usually no more than 100gb, and much much much more than $10 for 50gb...think per GB. Americans have been lucky up till now and these limits are very generous to be honest.

Tartan said,
IN the UK they have dealt with caps for years.....despite unlimited claims, the actual cap is usually no more than 100gb, and much much much more than $10 for 50gb...think per GB. Americans have been lucky up till now and these limits are very generous to be honest.

It actually depends on your ISP. Most of the crappy speed ADSL ISPs have varying caps but the only cable ISP has a 250gb softcap

With the cloud and everything I'd expected Internet to become subsidized and supported by the Industry itself. Imposing caps will only restrict people from consuming heavy online services....
Oh and ... by the way, welcome to the 3rd world.

Radster said,
With the cloud and everything I'd expected Internet to become subsidized and supported by the Industry itself. Imposing caps will only restrict people from consuming heavy online services....
Oh and ... by the way, welcome to the 3rd world.

Only for a short time. Once a major part of the customer base starts hitting this cap, companies will be forced to up the cap and improve infrastructure. In 10 years, the caps will be sitting at 100 terabytes(random number choice but you get the idea).

ILikeTobacco said,

Only for a short time. Once a major part of the customer base starts hitting this cap, companies will be forced to up the cap and improve infrastructure. In 10 years, the caps will be sitting at 100 terabytes(random number choice but you get the idea).

That doesn't logically follow from the actions that have been taken recently by most ISPs and wireless carriers. So far, their reaction to increased useage has been exactly the opposite (imposing caps on services that were previously unlimited). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: tobacco seems to have fried your brain.

roadwarrior said,
That doesn't logically follow from the actions that have been taken recently by most ISPs and wireless carriers. So far, their reaction to increased useage has been exactly the opposite (imposing caps on services that were previously unlimited). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: tobacco seems to have fried your brain.

and yet your the one suggesting that as speeds go faster than the infrastructure can handle, they shouldnt slow the speeds down to give a better user experience. before they had to start doing that, it was new technology and nobody had anything that could completely fill up the infrastructure. with our faster connects now it is a different story. they are just putting restricting in place where they should have had them from the start but had no data to know where to put them. the put the limit where it doesn't hurt anyone but some edge cases.

according to what you are saying, by the time speeds are up in the 100Mbits for most users, we will all have caps of 100mb a month. you are doing a great job showing that you understand how the real world works.

ILikeTobacco said,

and yet your the one suggesting that as speeds go faster than the infrastructure can handle, they shouldnt slow the speeds down to give a better user experience. before they had to start doing that, it was new technology and nobody had anything that could completely fill up the infrastructure. with our faster connects now it is a different story. they are just putting restricting in place where they should have had them from the start but had no data to know where to put them. the put the limit where it doesn't hurt anyone but some edge cases.

according to what you are saying, by the time speeds are up in the 100Mbits for most users, we will all have caps of 100mb a month. you are doing a great job showing that you understand how the real world works.


So if we consider your point of view, caps should have been in place a long time ago. Okay. Caps on what though? What exactly is the problem? AT&T says congestion. Congestion wouldn't be caused by someone going over a set amount of data. Congestion is implying a real-time problem; download SPEEDS. If AT&T wanted to please customers, they wouldn't sell more high(er) speed connections than their infrastructure could handle. AT&T uses that as a selling point though. You see? They are not really looking out for the customers. They are saving the money they should be spending on upgrading their networks.

DSL has been around for over a decade. The top speed that is available in my area is now only 4x what it was when it was first introduced (6Mbps vs. 1.5Mbps). Are you trying to tell me that with 10 years of steadily increasing data useage, AT&T is just NOW coming to the conclusion that they should have put these caps in place from the start? It isn't as if there hasn't been a steady trend for the last 15 year or more of increasing demand. This isn't something that has happened overnight.

I'm done replying to you. It is obvious that you are either trolling or are completely clueless about anything related to business and technology.

roadwarrior said,
DSL has been around for over a decade. The top speed that is available in my area is now only 4x what it was when it was first introduced (6Mbps vs. 1.5Mbps). Are you trying to tell me that with 10 years of steadily increasing data useage, AT&T is just NOW coming to the conclusion that they should have put these caps in place from the start? It isn't as if there hasn't been a steady trend for the last 15 year or more of increasing demand. This isn't something that has happened overnight.

I'm done replying to you. It is obvious that you are either trolling or are completely clueless about anything related to business and technology.


im clueless yet you are the one suggesting att has done 0 upgrading and everything should happen overnight because it all works off of magic and rainbows. sorry buddy. only one here that is clueless is you. you are just another product of our society that thinks you are entitled to everything for free without paying for it.

Xenosion said,

So if we consider your point of view, caps should have been in place a long time ago. Okay. Caps on what though? What exactly is the problem? AT&T says congestion. Congestion wouldn't be caused by someone going over a set amount of data. Congestion is implying a real-time problem; download SPEEDS. If AT&T wanted to please customers, they wouldn't sell more high(er) speed connections than their infrastructure could handle. AT&T uses that as a selling point though. You see? They are not really looking out for the customers. They are saving the money they should be spending on upgrading their networks.

they are presented with two choices. either throttle the speeds or cap the data. throttling every ones speeds effects everyone. capping the data forced people to be mindful of what they are doing.

ILikeTobacco said,

they are presented with two choices. either throttle the speeds or cap the data. throttling every ones speeds effects everyone. capping the data forced people to be mindful of what they are doing.

Throttling speeds is not acceptable! AT&T should not be selling high speed connections that it cannot be sure it can even provide. What is so hard to understand?

Xenosion said,

Throttling speeds is not acceptable! AT&T should not be selling high speed connections that it cannot be sure it can even provide. What is so hard to understand?

I am not disagreeing with that point but that point only works if not brought into the real world. They are making money and not doing anything illegal in the process. Your point is a moral answer. There function is to make money. Morals doesn't even play a part in it. For all but the edge cases, this cap has no effect so as far as business and making money goes, it makes sense. It keeps the edge cases from abusing it and affecting everyone else and gives them time to upgrade. Upgrades simply don't happen over night. If they never upgrade, then yes even I would be getting upset but their network is constantly being upgraded.

another AT&T spokesperson said that the new caps were actually put into place due to customer demand.

What a load of s**t. Who would honestly believe that? Customer: Hello, ATT? Yeah. I love a thick d**k in my rear every once and again. Could you please put restrictions on my bandwidth and charge me for going over? Thanks kindly, your slave.

Xenosion said,

What a load of s**t. Who would honestly believe that? Customer: Hello, ATT? Yeah. I love a thick d**k in my rear every once and again. Could you please put restrictions on my bandwidth and charge me for going over? Thanks kindly, your slave.

Pretty sure the convo went more like: "hello, ATT? I am paying for a 6Mbit connection but every weekday in the evening hours I can only connect at about 3Mbits. On weeks i only get 3Mbits. How can I fix it?" "You are living in a high congestion area with a select few people hogging most of the bandwidth."

People need to lay off the movies for knowledge. Companies are not out to crew you. They want you to be as happy as possible in order keep you as a customer. If this cap effects you in any way, it means you are one of the people that are being complained about. Hitting this cap is next to impossible on those connections speeds unless you are unemployed, not in school, and never leave the house for anything at all.

While I was being extremely melodramatic in my reply, I stand by my point.

What AT&T is trying to do is save money. It is as simple as that. When you are talking about DSL, you have a direct connection to a central office where data is routed. Same goes for every connection in every area. If there is "congestion" it is by their equipment not being able to provide the level of service they have sold to the area.

Cable is different because that truly is a shared area connection, although with extremely high bandwidth in total, it is possible for your scenario to be truthful.

So no, when someone complains about speed and AT&T's response is "congestion" it is a cover for inadequate infrastructure. If they can't provide the level of service they are selling (ie. my 24Mbps line) they are in the wrong.

ILikeTobacco said,

Hitting this cap is next to impossible on those connections speeds unless you are unemployed, not in school, and never leave the house for anything at all.

Further, that is pretty stereotypical and inaccurate. You can't really believe that. You realize it is possible to download stuff while not actually staring at your screen? Or that it is possible you aren't the only one using the connection?

Xenosion said,

Or that it is possible you aren't the only one using the connection?

You mean like when you add a phone line to a family plan, at which point you pay an extra $10? On the 3Mbit connection, you could download at max speed for 250 hours straight and still come slightly short of the cap. I have a 6MBit connection. I am on it for about 5 hours a day. Netflix, gaming, and streaming radio and surfing the web. 120-140gb a month. Again, to hit this cap you have to literally have no life.

Xenosion said,

Further, that is pretty stereotypical and inaccurate. You can't really believe that. You realize it is possible to download stuff while not actually staring at your screen? Or that it is possible you aren't the only one using the connection?

Exactly. I tend to start large downloads just before I go to bed at night, so they are done: 1. when I'm not using the computer and 2. during non-peak hours when my connection is likely to be the fastest (not that it is ever much of a problem where I live anyway). On my 6Mbps connection, I could easily download just over 21GB overnight. If I did that each night for one week, I would go over my new 150GB cap. I also do some video and photo work for a couple of web sites, which means that I also have to do large uploads at least a couple of times a week.

Edited by roadwarrior, May 5 2011, 6:43pm :

roadwarrior said,

Exactly. I tend to start large downloads just before I go to bed at night, so they are done: 1. when I'm not using the computer and 2. during non-peak hours when my connection is likely to be the fastest (not that it is ever much of a problem where I live anyway). On my 6Mbps connection, I could easily download just over 21GB overnight. If I did that each night for one week, I would go over my new 150GB cap. I also do some video and photo work for a couple of web sites, which means that I also have to do large uploads at least a couple of times a week.

And exactly what are you downloading that isn't illegal in the first place every night that is that big. Also realize that any given business decision made to help the majority customers is going to screw an edge group. Either conform or switch to a different company. The rest of the customers will be unaffected in any negative ways and enjoy being able to use the internet at the advertised speeds.

So your biggest claim is that people who are using "too much bandwidth" (which is completely subjective) deserve to have to pay more. So, based on someone's opinion, I have to pay more. Regardless of the inadequacies of the infrastructure.

Why do you care what content someone is downloading or how it is done? I pay for internet, that's all you need to know. "You" being yourself and AT&T.

ILikeTobacco said,

And exactly what are you downloading that isn't illegal in the first place every night that is that big.


Not that it is any of your business, but I do have to occasionally download videos and other files (often very large) that others have filmed that work for the same site. There are other things as well, but again, WHAT I download is none of your business.
Either conform or switch to a different company.

Oh, if were only that simple. Unfortunately, in my area (as is the case in most places in the US), there are only a couple of options for broadband: AT&T DSL or Comcast Cable. Currently, AT&T is still the better option, but if they keep adding restrictions to services I pay for (restrictions that weren't in place when I signed up), then I will change ISPs.

Xenosion said,
So your biggest claim is that people who are using "too much bandwidth" (which is completely subjective) deserve to have to pay more. So, based on someone's opinion, I have to pay more. Regardless of the inadequacies of the infrastructure.

Why do you care what content someone is downloading or how it is done? I pay for internet, that's all you need to know. "You" being yourself and AT&T.

You must not live in an high density area where if enough people get on, your bandwidth goes down. If you did and you understood anything about business, you would know that preventing a select few people from over using the network is better than everyone suffering because of those select few people. Losing a few people that overused the network is a better result than losing hundreds of customers because of those few people.

ILikeTobacco said,

You must not live in an high density area where if enough people get on, your bandwidth goes down. If you did and you understood anything about business, you would know that preventing a select few people from over using the network is better than everyone suffering because of those select few people. Losing a few people that overused the network is a better result than losing hundreds of customers because of those few people.


You say I don't understand business. You couldn't be more wrong. I understand completely what AT&T are doing. They are saving money. Money that would otherwise have to be spent in upgrading their infrastructure to accommodate the service they have sold. I explained this. The reason you may have decreased speeds due to what they like you to believe is congestion, is because their core equipment can't handle it. Not because your neighbor is download porn.

ILikeTobacco said,

You must not live in an high density area where if enough people get on, your bandwidth goes down.
If AT&T is having these issues in high density areas then perhaps they should be investing some of the money they are making from those huge numbers of people in that area towards upgrading their infrastructure to handle the load, just like any other reasonable business does. What does your local highway department do when traffic outgrows the two-lane roads that they built 40 years ago? They use the taxes that people have paid in order to build a 4-lane road or a highway to accomodate the growing needs of their "customers" (drivers). They don't place restrictions on how many miles you are allowed to drive per week.

roadwarrior said,

Not that it is any of your business, but I do have to occasionally download videos and other files (often very large) that others have filmed that work for the same site. There are other things as well, but again, WHAT I download is none of your business.

Oh, if were only that simple. Unfortunately, in my area (as is the case in most places in the US), there are only a couple of options for broadband: AT&T DSL or Comcast Cable. Currently, AT&T is still the better option, but if they keep adding restrictions to services I pay for (restrictions that weren't in place when I signed up), then I will change ISPs.

never said it was, i was simple wondering. you could have chosen not to answer so no reason to state the obvious or be annoyingly rude because of an inquiry that someone made that you dont even know.

Most people don't download movies. They stream theme. The average American watches between 13-20 hours of video a week. That's about 80 hours a month and at the fastest speed that Netflix and Hulu streams music, you still have 70gb of data you can download. Once again, you and most of us on this website, are the edge group that is the minority. Most of use close to or more than the limit but it doesn't matter because we take our technology to the limits. The average consumer does not. The average consumer inherently represents the larger market share and the most money which is why the ISP's will listen to their complaints of slower speeds before our complaints of caps. We belong to the 1% they really don't care about as long as the 99% are happy.

and it really is that simple. you complain with words which companies really dont care about. speak with your money or not at all. money is all they are worried about. if this doesnt hurt you enough to stop doing business with you, as far as they are concerned, they dont care.

roadwarrior said,
If AT&T is having these issues in high density areas then perhaps they should be investing some of the money they are making from those huge numbers of people in that area towards upgrading their infrastructure to handle the load, just like any other reasonable business does. What does your local highway department do when traffic outgrows the two-lane roads that they built 40 years ago? They use the taxes that people have paid in order to build a 4-lane road or a highway to accomodate the growing needs of their "customers" (drivers). They don't place restrictions on how many miles you are allowed to drive per week.

My local highway department starts that very long process of getting approval to do it. then 2 years down the road we have our new upgraded roads. not over night like you both seem to think happens in the tech world. the technology to access the internet is upgrading faster than the infrastructure. i am not saying dont upgrade. the town i live in currently has 100% coverage of the 3Mbit and only about 25% with the 6Mbit. last year it was about 75%/10%. they are upgrading all the time but it doesnt happen over night. since more customers are going to it every day, if they can't keep up its better to put caps in place to prevent the people causing the issues on the current available hardware.

roadwarrior said,
If AT&T is having these issues in high density areas then perhaps they should be investing some of the money they are making from those huge numbers of people in that area towards upgrading their infrastructure to handle the load, just like any other reasonable business does. What does your local highway department do when traffic outgrows the two-lane roads that they built 40 years ago? They use the taxes that people have paid in order to build a 4-lane road or a highway to accomodate the growing needs of their "customers" (drivers). They don't place restrictions on how many miles you are allowed to drive per week.

This.

Lucas said,

This.

Not disagreeing with them needing to upgrade their infrastructure. They are doing it, just having issues keeping up with the markets. Caps are a short term solution, upgrading is a long term solution. Upgrading isn't physically possible on the scale that would be needed since it takes time.

The problem with his illustration is that law makers are looking at taxing drivers based on mileage to help cover the costs of roadwork. The is the exact same thing as what ATT is doing now as it forced the tax payer to pay more or not drive as much.

ILikeTobacco said,
Again, to hit this cap you have to literally have no life.

You don't have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

ANY modern FAMILY will hit these caps very quickly since the kids are watching netflix in HD, hulu in HD, streaming Pandora or iTunes music, purchasing and downloading games via Steam that are 5-10gb each, etc.

Any media PROFESSIONAL working from home (VERY common and becoming more so) will hit these caps very quickly, since all video, PSD files, etc. are huge in comparison to games and standard email traffic.

Or cumulatively, since all of these things, even in moderation will add up to cap-breaking.

And the trend is to use MORE data not less as time goes forward. This is why they are trying to get these things introduced now.

The ENTIRE point of this, mr. apologist for the cable industry, is to maximize profits by artificially reducing AT&T's need to expand their infrastructure...a hard cost they want to avoid spending, even at the cost of the technological progress of the entire nation.

They are also trying to protect their competiting technological infrastructure investments, re: the already outdated cable TV distribution model in the case of Comcast and TWC, for example.

The transmission cost of the data itself is nigh upon nil. They just want to avoid spending what they need to spend to keep us competitive with the rest of the developed world.

The capitalist system is supposed to allow new competitors to come up and force change through better prices and services. But when the big five media companies own everything vertically from content creation to all means of distribution...and they are not competitors, they are in collusion regarding development of content, release of content, price fixing, etc....then there is no way for another vendor to invent "a better mouse trap", so to speak.

The problem with these cartels, rackets, and colluding monopolies is that they will gladly retard the technological progress of the entire human race in exchange for a few pennies a share for the stockholders.

By surrendering your right to free and unlimited data access just as the Age of Information is gaining steam, you are unwittingly slowing down the progress of the species at one of the most critical junctures since the inventing of the printing press.

excalpius said,

You don't have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

ANY modern FAMILY will hit these caps very quickly since the kids are watching netflix in HD, hulu in HD, streaming Pandora or iTunes music, purchasing and downloading games via Steam that are 5-10gb each, etc.

Any media PROFESSIONAL working from home (VERY common and becoming more so) will hit these caps very quickly, since all video, PSD files, etc. are huge in comparison to games and standard email traffic.

Or cumulatively, since all of these things, even in moderation will add up to cap-breaking.

And the trend is to use MORE data not less as time goes forward. This is why they are trying to get these things introduced now.

The ENTIRE point of this, mr. apologist for the cable industry, is to maximize profits by artificially reducing AT&T's need to expand their infrastructure...a hard cost they want to avoid spending, even at the cost of the technological progress of the entire nation.

They are also trying to protect their competiting technological infrastructure investments, re: the already outdated cable TV distribution model in the case of Comcast and TWC, for example.

The transmission cost of the data itself is nigh upon nil. They just want to avoid spending what they need to spend to keep us competitive with the rest of the developed world.

The capitalist system is supposed to allow new competitors to come up and force change through better prices and services. But when the big five media companies own everything vertically from content creation to all means of distribution...and they are not competitors, they are in collusion regarding development of content, release of content, price fixing, etc....then there is no way for another vendor to invent "a better mouse trap", so to speak.

The problem with these cartels, rackets, and colluding monopolies is that they will gladly retard the technological progress of the entire human race in exchange for a few pennies a share for the stockholders.

By surrendering your right to free and unlimited data access just as the Age of Information is gaining steam, you are unwittingly slowing down the progress of the species at one of the most critical junctures since the inventing of the printing press.

Your family arguement: if even if 50 people were living in the house, you would still be limited to 3Mbits at any given time so the limit is the same as a house with only 2 people.

WORKING and PROFESSIONAL implies its job related which means it is a business expense which means they don't pay for it out of pocket. Even if they are self employed, its then a tax write off at the end of the year and they get the money back.

You are correct in saying that the trend is to use more data. That is why they didn't pick a number lower than 150 and 250. If most users are not near that cap, this has no effect on them for a time. Once it does affect them to the point it causes customer dissatisfaction, they will raise the cap. By that time, more infrastructure will be in place.

You comment about artificially reducing the need to expand infrastructure is laughable. They are constantly upgrading it as fast as their workers can(or attempt in the lazy case) get it done. U-Verse isn't available where I leave because a. most people don't aren't connected to a 6Mbit hub yet and b. most people don't need that connection yet. Even if they did need it, the infrastructure for this required numerous approvals from local governments as well as the FCC which means they are limited anyway on how much they can build and even with approval, you are still limited by the speed of the workers you have.

The cost of transmission isn't where the high cost comes from. If you were paying attention to the real world, you'd notice that the cost of metals are shooting up. The cost of labor to build the infrastructure is going up. At the same time the cost of broadband the consumer is expected to pay is going down. $20 for a 6Mbit connection and you want to complain about a cap? How cheap and self entitled are you? My uncle in Germany pays 1 Euro for every gig he downloads. Clearly we are behind them...

Just googled United States Constitution and right to free and unlimited data and it didn't come up anyway. You can't give up a right you never had.

Get off your moral high horse in an argument involving entities that operate from a business stand point and not a moral standpoint. Companies have one and only one purpose. Generate revenue. If they are not breaking the law, they have every right to do what they are doing. If you don't like it, write your local politicians and tell them to make laws banning this. Words don't hurt companies. Only withholding money or laws barring activities.

OK let me get this right. Some people are ACTUALLY ARGUING IN FAVOR of this travesty?

And how come people are using 3Mbps as an example? I mean, it's not that unusual to hit 3Mbps on an HSDPA phone, one would expect to have an even faster land broadband.

Xenosion said,

Further, that is pretty stereotypical and inaccurate. You can't really believe that. You realize it is possible to download stuff while not actually staring at your screen? Or that it is possible you aren't the only one using the connection?

I agree. I don't know what I use but i'm sure it is way over cap. I have 5 pc's laptop and a xbox360 that get used every day not mention Directv on demand downloads and netflix streaming. Why? Well I have kids that use most of the stuff. So know I have to kick them off xbox live tell them no more streaming music and movies etc. all because At&t is money hungry.

Julius Caro said,
OK let me get this right. Some people are ACTUALLY ARGUING IN FAVOR of this travesty?

And how come people are using 3Mbps as an example? I mean, it's not that unusual to hit 3Mbps on an HSDPA phone, one would expect to have an even faster land broadband.

Because we are talking about AT&T and as far as DSL goes, there 3Mbit line is there fastest connection that is available wherever they do business. The 6Mbit is the one that they are working on infrastructure for at the moment and there U-Verse is also widely unavailable. The majority of house holds don't need a faster line than a 3Mbit even with a gamer and netflix user in the house.