AT&T To introduce traffic limits

According to DSLReports, AT&T, the popular American communications network, will introduce traffic restrictions to all of its DSL customers on May 2, including those on the company's U-Verse package. Standard users will receive an allowance of 150GB per month, with U-Verse users being given an extra hundred gigabytes to bring the total up to 250GB. Starting from the 18th of this month customers will start to receive letters informing them of the changes to their contracts.

Seth Bloom, an AT&T spokesperson, has confirmed the rumour and added that users will be subject to overage charges if they exceed their caps, however only the ones who repeatedly ignore this limit will be penalised. The newly-formed charges will be an extra $10 per 50GB of data used over their agreed cap, meaning that if a customer uses a total of 500GB of bandwidth per month on a standard tariff they may be billed an additional $70.

The company claim the average user only uses around 18GB of data in total per month, which to many may seem a very low figure, and only two percent of customers exceed this. "Using a notification structure similar to our new wireless data plans, we'll proactively notify customers when they exceed 65%, 90% and 100% of the monthly usage allowance," said Seth Bloom.

The company has tested out capping before by conducting trials a few years a go in Reno, Nevada and Beaumont, Texas, testing out limits ranging from 20GB up to 150GB. These trials were considered a success and may have had something to do with the new caps being introduced.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

iPad 2 Jailbroken

Next Story

Windows Phone users hit by duplicate contact bug

50 Comments

View more comments

Brian Miller said,
Why? Bandwidth does not cost them anything.
Just because they can measure it, it doesn't mean they should chard for it.

don't know how true this is but someone was saying ISP's typically pay around $0.02 per GB of data (maybe less). which if that's true, even if someone did 250GB a month that's still $5 and they are making WAY over that with the monthly fee's they already charging you.

ThaCrip said,

don't know how true this is but someone was saying ISP's typically pay around $0.02 per GB of data (maybe less). which if that's true, even if someone did 250GB a month that's still $5 and they are making WAY over that with the monthly fee's they already charging you.

Data pricing is tricky once you get into the big leagues and have to deal with packet distance, trunk and tier access levels, peer agreements, etc.

However if you are ATT, you own a lot of the major data connections around the world, so their only motive would be to reduce load in their local infrastructures and to reduce usage to have more bandwidth to sell to others.

Sadly, a larget segment of the US population are in areas of the country that have one choice for high speed internet, and often this choice is ATT, as they have re-acquired the majority of all the old school telephone providers.

Even for markets that don't have ATT as an option, but only have one high speed option, this will set an example for them to start reducing what they offer their customers as well.

thenetavenger said,

However if you are ATT, you own a lot of the major data connections around the world, so their only motive would be to reduce load in their local infrastructures and to reduce usage to have more bandwidth to sell to others.

Yeah, I think I might be seeing somewhere between the lines here; consider that AT&T has to contend with Verizon for the iPhone user market now, and both of the wireless carriers are trying to provide "reasonable" bandwidth limits for their customers. But here, Verizon has had no problem blowing AT&T out of the water with higher data caps (and thus less expensive all-day Pandora streaming,) and so I'm thinking that this data capping for DSL users is a way for AT&T to scavenge out bandwidth that they can then use for the mobile market. Considering that mobile usage is still on the rise, I don't think that's too much of a stretch.

Why doesn't bandwidth cost them anything? :-s

Anyway. Welcome to the rest of the world. Capped Internet. Don't worry, as stated above, think of the poor ******* in NZ.

And to anyone in NZ. Trust me. When I used to have a 50GB plan here in Australia, I didn't think my new 150GB plan (then unlimited) would get used. 150GB was EASY.

So this is there way of milking the old copper network by running everybody off it?
I'm not saying everybody will bolt, but those with the option will bolt.

"Someone reminded me I once said "Greed is good". Now it seems it's legal. Because everyone is drinking the same Kool Aid." - Gordon Gekko

Wow, 150 GB/month is a lot more than what most ISPs offer here in the UK, which is either 2 GB/month or 40 GB/month

sickening, 150GB cap? If you read three online newspapers each day, the commercials alone will bring you past that limit

Pretty soon, someone is going to have to start an ISP just for customers who actually USE the Internet...for more than browsing recipe web pages and emailing the kids that is.

excalpius said,
Pretty soon, someone is going to have to start an ISP just for customers who actually USE the Internet...for more than browsing recipe web pages and emailing the kids that is.

probably not far from the truth in the future. lol

because it appears they only want people who barely use websites and youtube a little and basic email. if you want to do more than that, your pretty much dead to them and considered a 'heavy user'.

This is counterproductive:

250GB + 24mbps = 2 days

What's the point of that kind of speed if you can't use it?

Shouldn't they be encouraging people to use more bandwidth?

Boeing 787 said,
This is counterproductive:

250GB + 24mbps = 2 days

What's the point of that kind of speed if you can't use it?

Shouldn't they be encouraging people to use more bandwidth?

yes! by all means, but that encouragement comes with the FEE they make off nothingness. 500GB of data throughput does NOT cost them $35 to deliver, much less $70 plus the base fee. They were already delivering that for the base fee alone. so $70 pure profit.

So what are you really paying for? the service (connection/rated speed), or the data (actual usage)? or wait.. NOW you pay for BOTH!

Boeing 787 said,

250GB + 24mbps = 2 days

Shouldn't they be encouraging people to use more bandwidth?

Actually:
24Mbps * 2 days = ((((24mbps * 60s) * 60m) * 24h) * 2d) / 8 (bits per byte) = 518.4 GB

A person running at full blast could knock out 250GB in a single 24-hour period, theoretically, couldn't they?

Like anyone selling a service, AT&T's goal is to sell as much service as possible while encouraging people to use as little of it as possible so they can sell the same service to more people. But I wonder what would happen if everyone got online and started streaming HD videos all at the same time?

So now are you locked into those contracts you signed with no data limitation? Seems you shouldn't be. But I bet you are. Contracts really protect your purchase right?

Ruciz said,
So now are you locked into those contracts you signed with no data limitation? Seems you shouldn't be. But I bet you are. Contracts really protect your purchase right?

No, I think if AT&T is notifying people of a change to their contracts like the article says, that means that people are going to have a chance to exercise their legal right to exit the contract; when you make a legal contract (even a time-delimited contract with a service provider) the law allows that if one party chooses to change the contract then the other party has the right to opt out of the contract, thereby breaking it. What AT&T will probably do is what everyone does, and put the notice at the end of the bill where most people won't see it, and then wait out the 60-day period that their customers have to break the contract. All the customer has to do is call AT&T and say, "I want out of my contract because this is a major change" and they might try to persuade you to stay on the contract (or they might try to tell you that you are wrong when you are not) but if the customer sticks to their guns, AT&T should drop the contract. Here's the problem: does the customer have the option to switch? I don't believe in a market without another option, isn't that called a monopoly? I think the customer could just get out of their contract and go month-to-month, at least you have more power in that because you can cancel the service at any time without a penalty, and that's when you have them by the balls, if you're willing to pull the plug.

I just got U-Verse a couple of months ago and specifically asked about contracts. AT&T does a month to month contract now on their services. When I got DSL almost three years ago, they did have a contract in place, but I think they have changed that for DSL now. As far as a competitive market, it isn't really a monopoly, simply because other services such as FIoS just isn't offered in areas, as U-Verse isn't as well, but they are both services still being used in the areas you are in, just not the one you specifically area at. It's not that they are telling you that you can ONLY use their product, they invite you to go find something else or get out of what you have now with them.

I think quite a few of you are missing the point with this. Couple of things: This is now turning into the airlines, where they charge you for one thing. Oh look, now we can charge you for what kind of data you have coming to the house. Oh look, now we can offer that data at a 'premium rate' to you for just another $15/month. Oh look, that other data that isn't premium, we are going to charge you another $12/month for servicing fees.
This also paves the way for privately regulated internet with the Feds I'm sure somehow getting their grubby hands on it as well with more fees to include along with their Interstate Commerce charges.
This will get out of hand, make no mistake. They will nickle and dime us to death on this.

Honestly, if you're paying for data now, then speed should be uncapped. Otherwise, they are now charing you twice for the same thing (data and the speed to get it to you).

This blows.. I called up the tech team at uverse and the sales dude who serviced my accounts and neither knew of this, saying "Its unlimited, you pay for the bandwidth". There is no way IPTV services can thrive with 250gb/month caps + 10.00 charges for 50gb increments and unless i see a direct performance increase from this "strategy" its only going to clamp down further as that top "2%" is further reduced.

Oddly enough, they're spending TONS of money on a problem that isn't a problem.. 2% bandwidth hogs is something you can fix with a little traffic shaping, not creating a new billing paradigm around. *******s

blahism said,
This blows.. I called up the tech team at uverse and the sales dude who serviced my accounts and neither knew of this, saying "Its unlimited, you pay for the bandwidth". There is no way IPTV services can thrive with 250gb/month caps + 10.00 charges for 50gb increments and unless i see a direct performance increase from this "strategy" its only going to clamp down further as that top "2%" is further reduced.

Oddly enough, they're spending TONS of money on a problem that isn't a problem.. 2% bandwidth hogs is something you can fix with a little traffic shaping, not creating a new billing paradigm around. *******s


They aren't addressing a problem, they are squeezing the customer. It's exactly what they did with their cell data packages. I am kind of shocked that anyone even uses AT&T at this point. My comcast bill is roughly 50 bucks for unlimited (capped 500GB) internet. But the speed is great and it's fairly reliable. If they dropped that to 250GB I would probably cancel and just tether my computers to my Sprint unlimited cell. I have Wimax in my area so I get high speed internet through my phone. I have a feeling that cell phone companies will be competing with the local cable companies for internet service very soon.

It would be thoughtful, nice, and good business practice if AT&T would include one's download usage amount as a new item on their U-Verse bill. Keeping users in the dark is not nice, especially if AT&T does the "gotcha" when you exceed your limit. Better yet, one's downloaded usage for the month to date should be viewable on one's on-line U-Verse site.
However...with typical big company arrogance, this may be a vain hope.

Ha Ha. Good April Fool's Joke... but it's not even April 1st yet.... (I sure hope I don't get a letter, I would probably switch back to TWC on the spot)

I have AT&T Uverse myself. Now, before we get into the mud here, let me make a few things clear. I don't have Netflix, Hulu or any other streaming on-demand service, I don't do MMORPGs, nor do I run a BitTorrent server. That having been said, 250GB download sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Why?

Because my average monthly usage is somewhere around 30GB. Again, it's because I don't do the heavy online gaming/streaming/snarfing that many of the others in this forum have either stated or alluded to. I monitor my usage and keep a close eye on what I'm doing online. I realize that makes me an outlier as far as people here go, but I think I better represent the average user than most of the folks here.

As AT&T has stated, it's the 2% of users who are the ones seriously abusing the networks. And AT&T is at least being more reasonable than Comcast (go over the limit repeatedly and watch your account be cancelled) with their $10/50GB overage. If you need to have a 24/7 saturate-your-network-connection going, perhaps you need to move to a commercial account instead.

But that's just my viewpoint, admittedly not one from a power user/gamer perspective.

Tal Greywolf said,
I have AT&T Uverse myself. Now, before we get into the mud here, let me make a few things clear. I don't have Netflix, Hulu or any other streaming on-demand service, I don't do MMORPGs, nor do I run a BitTorrent server. That having been said, 250GB download sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Why?

Because my average monthly usage is somewhere around 30GB. Again, it's because I don't do the heavy online gaming/streaming/snarfing that many of the others in this forum have either stated or alluded to. I monitor my usage and keep a close eye on what I'm doing online. I realize that makes me an outlier as far as people here go, but I think I better represent the average user than most of the folks here.

As AT&T has stated, it's the 2% of users who are the ones seriously abusing the networks. And AT&T is at least being more reasonable than Comcast (go over the limit repeatedly and watch your account be cancelled) with their $10/50GB overage. If you need to have a 24/7 saturate-your-network-connection going, perhaps you need to move to a commercial account instead.

But that's just my viewpoint, admittedly not one from a power user/gamer perspective.


This is why it's BAD:

Big Families, VideoPhone, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, HD webcam, FON router, Online backups, 24mbps line is pointless now, etc.

AT&T makes enough money already and there is no bandwidth shortage !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DATE; MARCH 14, 2011
AMERICANS SAY; 150 TO 250 GB IS ACCEPTABLE
AMERICA IS DOOMED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

anyone else getting AT&T exaggerating there GB use?

like for example on the AT&T site it 'claims' i did 16GB over the last 2 days (i.e. 3-21-11/3-22-11) when checking my DD-WRT modem's WAN data i did around 2.2GB over those 2 days.

so obviously they are FAR exaggerating my use.

Commenting is disabled on this article.