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AT&T to Limit Internet Access, Charge for Excess Usage

AT&T has announced that it will limit customer’s internet usage and impose overage penalties for exceeding that limit. AT&T broadband customers will be forced into a tiered internet system, limiting customers to 150 gigabytes per month. Go over that, and it will cost you $10 per 50 gigabytes. If you watch too many movies on Netflix, spend too long playing online video games, or participate in any bandwidth-intensive activity like file sharing, get ready to pay extra starting May 2.

According to Raw Story, net neutrality advocates and tech businesses slammed AT&T’s decision, saying it will force other companies into a restrictive business model. Innovation could also suffer as internet users monitor their bandwidth consumption and try to stay within the 150 gigabyte limit.

Some industry analysts predict a grim future for online movie rental giant Netflix, especially now that the company is offering more and more titles in high definition. If Netflix were to offer full-fidelity 1080p high-definition video, AT&T customers would have to limit their daily viewing time to 90 minutes in order to avoid overage fees.

AT&T isn’t the first broadband provider to limit customers’ bandwidth usage. Comcast has been doing so since 2008. And only about 2% of AT&T users regularly exceed 150 gigabytes each month, with the average customer using around 18 gigs. The company issued the following statement:

“The top 2 percent of residential subscribers uses about 20 percent of the bandwidth on our network. Just one of these high-traffic users can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network. Our new plan addresses another concern: customers strongly believe that only those who use the most bandwidth should pay more than those who don’t use as much. That’s exactly what this does – and again, 98% of our customers will not be impacted by this.”

 

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8 Comments

  1. BillJune 7, 2011 at 4:02 pmReply

    Screw AT&T. This is a load of horse crap!! Comcast ONLY limits DOWNLOAD per month and does not include streaming and online gaming in the limit. I know from experience, being a former Comcast customer! Now being an AT&T customer I will be looking into going back to Comcast for my internet usage! This LIMITED INTERNET BULL SHIT is not what I signed up for!! (wither I exceed the limit or not)

  2. Terri BauscherJune 20, 2011 at 9:23 pmReply

    What are you kidding me?? Is there a seperate package for a home business?? There are 3 people in a household doing roof adjustment for insurance companies working up to 12-16 hours during a storm. And there is going to be overage charged on a “normal” day of watching a HD 90 minute netflix movie. ATT may loose a ton of business over this, guess in the following message Comcast is the way to go!

  3. Justin SAugust 25, 2011 at 6:06 pmReply

    This is ignorant! I looked at my instant activity and compared it to AT&T’s usage graph. Turns out they fudged the numbers. I used 0gigs in june/july according to their graph. But that was my heaviest watch month. They doubled the current months gigs so we’ll go over. Its a friggen scam!

  4. VinceNovember 22, 2011 at 6:15 pmReply

    Imagine if you had no option. AT&T ignores what the consumers want and assumes what the consumer will tolerate.AT&T is all about profits. Could careless about the consumer. Unless they leave in mass of course.

  5. Jim B.December 30, 2011 at 7:50 amReply

    You folks are lucky. You have an alternate to use. I live in a rural area. AT&T is the only line source. Their solution to problems is “You can’t have it.” I have been cut on speed several times and they won’t upgrade the equipment. If I had a choice, AT&T would be gone.

  6. Vaughn LoganJanuary 24, 2012 at 9:14 pmReply

    *** Must Read ***

    I urge everybody to file a complaint with the FCC. They will examine if there is a policy violation on unlimited plans regarding bandwidth throttling. Every complaint has to be answered in writing by AT&T in writing within 45 days. Phone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

    *** Example Text ***

    I wish to file an informal complaint with the FCC against AT&T Wireless. I want to examine the possibility of Policy Violations and/or Violations of Policy that are In Development on the part of AT&T.

    AT&T has determined that I am in the top 5% of monthly data consumption users, but has not clearly defined in specific terms (either in Kilobytes of Megabytes) how much monthly data usage they arbitrarily consider too much. And if this were a genuinely defined Unlimited Data Plan, it should not matter.

    I am under a 2-year contract with AT&Ts grandfathered Unlimited Data Plan. I pay on time each and every month for this signed, committed, and contracted wireless service. I have also recently paid to upgrade my handset to an iPhone 4S 64GB for the express purpose optimizing my data speeds and enhancing my data performance.

    AT&T banners itself as a Network of Possibilities offering 2 layers of network technology that deliver 4G or Fourth-Generation Wireless speeds that encompass HPSA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technologies. Yet, AT&T is limiting my data by invoking Bandwidth Throttling and/or Bandwidth Capping at rates that are considerably less than even accepted 3G speeds.

    Unlimited is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

    1. lacking any controls : unrestricted
    2. boundless, infinite

    I believe that AT&T has knowingly misled their customer base by falsely offering an Unlimited Data Plan to capture early market-share. To now compensate, AT&T is now imposing intentional and substantial data limits. I believe that AT&T has oversubscribed their network capabilities while failing to upgrade their network capacities to support current market demand. We the customers are left holding-the-bag because AT&T has failed in the proper Capacity Planning and Capacity Execution of their network.

    *** Additionally ***

    (1) Be Sure To File An “Informal Complaint” vs. a “Formal Complaint”. An Informal Complaints Insures That There Is No Cost To You. A Formal Complaint Is Used To Lay The Groundwork For A Law Suit … Big $$$.

    (2) Be Sure To Use The Term “Violations of Policies That Are In Development”. This Covers Grey Areas Which Are Yet To Be Defined Under Current Laws.

  7. Robert EvansMarch 16, 2012 at 1:59 pmReply

    ATT’ usage report is a pile of junk. I do not use Netflix or play games. I have no smartphone and my simple cell phones are turned off most of the time, yet ATT has me using gigabytes abatch. Last month it was over 200 gigs. All should both call ATT and the FCC with complaints.

  8. Todd Van HyningMay 10, 2016 at 2:12 pmReply

    Retired, both my wife and I are close to 80 and have no other choice other than AT&T in our area. On a limited income this is truly awful as our sole entertainment is television and the computer. Having put our trust in AT&T and bundled (with a $20.00 a month charge if we discontinue the “bundle”) and that is for a two year period, we have been “screwed”.

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