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Study: Broadband Internet caps now covers over half of US Internet users

If you live in the US and get your Internet access at home via some kind of fast broadband service, the chances are good that you are under some kind of data cap via your local provider. According to a study at Multichannel News, 56 percent of all US are now under some kind of broadband cap for their service.

That means that of the 75 million people who currently subscribe to some kind of broadband Internet service in the US, 42 million of them have to deal with a limit of how much data they can download. That includes AT&T customers of its DSL and U-Verse services. Broadband caps for those business just went into effect on Monday. DSL users have a small 150 GB cap while the faster U-Verse service gives its customers a somewhat higher 250 GB limit.

The study points out that AT&T is currently the largest broadband internet provide that charges its customers overage fees if the customers happen to download enough to go over those new caps. AT&T will charge $10 for every 50 GB over the current broadband caps. Other ISPs, including Cox Communications, Comcast and Charter, have their own broadband data limits. However they typically will warn their customers first if they see they are going over those limits. If the warnings don't work, some providers suspend the customer's Internet access or even cut them off permanently.

AT&T and other ISPs have said that only a small fraction of their customers go over their broadband caps currently, but as more and more services move onto the Internet "cloud", including streaming video services like Netflix or even streaming game services like OnLive, it's likely that those broadband caps will be tested by more and more people.

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