AT&T to cap Uverse usage - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/13/a...overage-fees/#

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Ladies and gentlemen, the days of unlimited broadband may be numbered in the United States, and we're not talking wireless this time -- AT&T says it will implement a 150GB monthly cap on landline DSL customers and a 250GB cap on subscribers to U-Verse high speed internet starting on May 2nd. AT&T will also charge overage fees of $10 for every additional 50GB of data, with two grace periods to start out -- in other words, the third month you go over the cap is when you'll get charged. DSLReports says it has confirmation from AT&T that these rates are legitimate, and that letters will go out to customers starting March 18th.

How does AT&T defend the move? The company explains it will only impact two percent of consumers who use "a disproportionate amount of bandwidth," and poses the caps as an alternative to throttling transfer speeds or disconnecting excessive users from the service completely. Customers will be able to check their usage with an online tool, and get notifications when they reach 65 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of their monthly rates.

We just spoke with AT&T representative Seth Bloom and confirmed the whole thing -- rates are exactly as described above, and the company will actually begin notifying customers this week. He also told us that those customers who don't yet have access to the bandwidth usage tool won't get charged until they do, and that AT&T U-Verse TV service won't count towards the GB cap.

Update: What prompted this change to begin with? That's what we just asked AT&T. Read the company's statement after the break.

We are committed to providing a great experience for all of our Internet customers. Less than 2 percent of our Internet customers could be impacted by this approach - those who are using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. We will communicate early and often with these customers so they are well aware of their options before they incur any additional usage charges.

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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post #2 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 12:16 PM
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I saw this last night and fear this is going to start a trend. Time will tell
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post #3 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 12:34 PM
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So much for "unlimited" Netflix streaming, eh.
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post #4 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 12:45 PM
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I actually put in a request to cancel my U-Verse this coming week. I've had nothing but problems since I had it installed almost a year ago. Boxes constantly freezing, complete loss of service frequently. I had technicians come out to my house at least 5 times, and of course, some one has to be there to let them pretend to work on it. Coupled with the fact that my free internet promotion just fell off, so my account went up $40 to over $200 a month.

Here is what I don't understand, if you don't make me sign a contract, then don't act surprised when I cancel the second my bill goes up. Why would I have any incentive whatsoever to stick around when Comcast is offering me a better deal to switch, with no contract. I will keep switching around, until cutting cable completely in favor of streaming becomes more accessible.
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post #5 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:03 PM
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This is going to be the way of the future if the big Telco/ISPs can get away with it. Forget about the innovation that companies like Netflix brought to broadband, let's just kill it because it threatens our tradional biz model.
Another reason why I would never use ATT for internet. Way too much shady stuff going on behind the scenes like deep packet sniffing, and now things like this designed to maximize profits w/o delivering better service.
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post #6 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:06 PM
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This is happening everywhere, even Verizon FIOS has hinted they are going to moved to tiered bandwidth monitoring. Comcast has been generous with 250gb/mo, but with Netflix not giving you an option on weather or not you want to stream HD, it could be a problem for heavy users who are giving up on Cable TV and getting their content via services like Netflix/PS3/xbox360....

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post #7 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadRusch View Post

This is happening everywhere, even Verizon FIOS has hinted they are going to moved to tiered bandwidth monitoring. Comcast has been generous with 250gb/mo, but with Netflix not giving you an option on weather or not you want to stream HD, it could be a problem for heavy users who are giving up on Cable TV and getting their content via services like Netflix/PS3/xbox360....

Exactly. These companies are not just going to let these dollars walk out the door. Another forum I frequent has a thread about ditching cable/phone etc and going to Magicjack/roku etc... My opinion is that will work well now, but as it becomes a more popular solution companies are going to find ways to make you pay for the privilege, ala tiered data packages.

I currently have ATT uverse, jammy what are they doing that I shouldn't like? For the most part I'm happy with my service and I have very little concern that I will come anywhere close to the cap they will be setting.

On principle I don't like the direction this is heading, but practically speaking this has zero impact on me currently. (Unless xbox live gaming uses alot more data than I think it does...)

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post #8 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:34 PM
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People impacted by this:
1) Pirates
2) Families with lots of internet users
3) People who turn to the interweb for their entertainment instead of, say, flipping through the cable box.

2 and 3 are the big ones.......if you have a couple of teenagers who stream movies in HD or who are constantly using bandwidth, you're going to hit a cap pretty quickly.
Comcast you can move to business class, with no data cap...well, within reason..if you're burning up a TB every month expect them to suggest you move to a dedicated line ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) but otherwise...it gives you wiggle room.

Isn't Cox and Time Warner offering something absurd like...40gb max per month?

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post #9 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone know what the average Xbox Live! gaming session runs in bandwidth per hour of use?

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post #10 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadRusch View Post

People impacted by this:
1) Pirates
2) Families with lots of internet users
3) People who turn to the interweb for their entertainment instead of, say, flipping through the cable box.

2 and 3 are the big ones.......if you have a couple of teenagers who stream movies in HD or who are constantly using bandwidth, you're going to hit a cap pretty quickly.
Comcast you can move to business class, with no data cap...well, within reason..if you're burning up a TB every month expect them to suggest you move to a dedicated line ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) but otherwise...it gives you wiggle room.

Isn't Cox and Time Warner offering something absurd like...40gb max per month?

I'm on Time Warner and know nothing about any cap, I'll be PO'd beyond all belief if the capped me. I have no idea how much capacity I use though.
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post #11 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 02:01 PM
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Yeah looks like my news is a bit out of date....they were going to do them, but backed off.....I guess its in limbo? Not sure, I only focus on Comcast

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post #12 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 02:02 PM
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This thread topic seem to be popular today .. at least one other ..

Netflix, 150GB is over 87 hours of 3.8mbps 720p

that's over 20 hours a week .. more if you only do SD ..

It's not the kiss of death .. unless you are a bandwidth hog anyway, and then you should have to pay .. low bandwidth users should get a break, however, IMO, or be able to give the unused bandwidth to those that use it

.. we buy gas by the gallon don't we .. ??

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post #13 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 02:15 PM
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On the plus side, we can probably expect to start hearing about alternatives to typical DSL and cable internet for those of us in that top 2%. Keep your ears to the ground. This may be the last hurrah of the big media corps before we begin moving to free public internet access over the next decade. This may give a boost to those plans.

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post #14 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjr39 View Post

Anyone know what the average Xbox Live! gaming session runs in bandwidth per hour of use?

im sure someone else can dig this up, but i know its very little. theres no way multiplayer games would work with huge packets.
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post #15 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadRusch View Post

People impacted by this:
1) Pirates
2) Families with lots of internet users
3) People who turn to the interweb for their entertainment instead of, say, flipping through the cable box.

5 years ago that would have been correct.
These days pirates are not the dominant users of internet bandwidth, people watching streaming media are.
People are ditching the "TV" part of the cable contract and using the saving to up their bandwidth caps.
They buy a streaming media player/server like Apple TV, Roku, Popcorn Hour, Boxxee, Google TV and then use it to watch Netflix, Hulu, MLB, NHL, etc...as well as streaming niche channels like Twit.tv.

This is going to be a serious issue going forward because most media companies know the future of content delivery is via the internet and not by traditional b-casters. Their income projections are based on broadband internet being reasonable in priced for everyone.
So if ATT and other ISPs limit bandwidth it will definitely have a chilling effect on studios & other content creators making money from having their content available online

BTW -I ditched my Dish HD rig 2 years ago and have never regretted it. I'll never pay for tv via dish or cable again.
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post #16 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Face View Post

im sure someone else can dig this up, but i know its very little. theres no way multiplayer games would work with huge packets.

This detail is going to become very important because under AT&Ts plan your time playing MP games on XBL will count against you.

The packets are small, but it's the volume of data that counts because your Xbox360 is constantly uploading and downloading data to the XBL servers as well as the specific game servers.
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post #17 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 03:20 PM
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Cox has "soft caps" that vary depending on the package you have. I have 35mbps with a 250gb monthly limit. I've hit this limit more than a few times. Sometimes I don't but it's easier than some people think. Cox does not charge you for overages but I assume they would take action if it become and issue of you blowing past your limit month after month.

Cox's ultimate 55mbps plan has a 400gb mthly limit.

Caps are ********. If anyone tries to argue otherwise, they're wrong. Period.
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post #18 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 03:23 PM
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Not to mention Xbox live is more than just playing games, with the Last.Fm, ESPN3, Zune movies and such you could probably tear through some bandwith fairly quickly. I don't use those much but I do watch trailers and use Last.fm from time to time. Not to mention the serious speculation about upcoming IPTV offerings.
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post #19 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 03:27 PM
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That 2% thing is ******** as well. They tried that same thing when they announced caped wireless data plans. Till someone called them on their figures. Someone asked what consisted of their 98% of customers wont be affected? Smart phone users? iphone users? Total cell phone users?? They never answered that I know of. More marketing ******** and lies.
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post #20 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 06:14 PM
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They get by with caps. Metered billing is next. Charter cable already looking into it and talking about it. Way to go consumers. You are doing it to yourselves. Keep on paying those high prices while they tighten the noose more and more. YOU asked for this. Speak with the wallet and cancel. But none will do that. You will just continue to bitch about it while bending over and taking it from the back side. And shame on consumers for not throwing a class action suit against these company's that have caps in place. When they have no means of providing a program to track usage. You will never know how much you truly use and it is their word, against yours. Legally they should not be enforced until we can see what we are using. Only then should they be enforced.
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post #21 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 06:18 PM
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Canceling wont do anything, it just delays. Its like these B.S. "Dont buy any gasoline on This Day" protests....what does it do? Nothing. Don't buy any gas for a month, carpool with your neighbors, NOW we are talking.

Metered billing wont happen....they tried it (Time Warner or Charter) and so many people called up and complained they ditched the program....there is a limit to how much people will put up with, but remember.....most people do what...check email? Download some pictures? Maybe stream a movie if they know how....you're talking like 70% of the internet not using 1/100th of their available bandwidth.....

If you can live without the internet then by all means, vote with your wallet, otherwise.....there is no real choice.

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post #22 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

This thread topic seem to be popular today .. at least one other ..

Netflix, 150GB is over 87 hours of 3.8mbps 720p

that's over 20 hours a week .. more if you only do SD ..

It's not the kiss of death .. unless you are a bandwidth hog anyway, and then you should have to pay .. low bandwidth users should get a break, however, IMO, or be able to give the unused bandwidth to those that use it

.. we buy gas by the gallon don't we .. ??

I watch 5 hours of cable a week. My neighbor watches 40 hours. Should he not pay more as he is using more?

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post #23 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 06:37 PM
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To a certain extent, yes....but the problem is that broadband in this country is INSANELY expensive for what you get. I pay $100 a month for my comcast service (just the Docsis 3.0 broadband) but you can get so much more for so much less in other countries. Why? Because I only have 2 choices right now...AT&T or Comcast. There is no competition so they have a stranglehold on bandwidth and pricing.

ps; my list above was not meant to indicate Pirates were the #1 user.....today streaming a movie takes up almost as much bandwidth as downloading it outright, and I agree that as more and more people pick up streaming, the bandwidth caps are going to become a huge problem.

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post #24 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 06:44 PM
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You can't compare digital consumption to consumer goods consumption. 2 vastly different beasts.

A large issue some of you are failing to realize is this will impact businesses as well and guess what they are going to do with their increased costs?
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post #25 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizuno21 View Post

You can't compare digital consumption to consumer goods consumption. 2 vastly different beasts.

A large issue some of you are failing to realize is this will impact businesses as well and guess what they are going to do with their increased costs?

Businesses in what way? People not streaming their services?
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post #26 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 08:26 PM
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Charter, at the moment, has no caps. They also don't do deep packet sniffing or some of the other clandestine **** that ATT and Comcast to that shows them what you emails and files contain.
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post #27 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 08:33 PM
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I'm a Uverse customer, and I'm not sure what I should do now. My kids play Xbox Live quite a bit. (mostly Halo) I don't really play games online, but I'm always downloading a demo or something.

We cut the cord awhile back. For TV/Movies we have been using:

1. Netflix - Usually use it about 3 hours per weekday, and 6 or 7 hours on weekend days.

2. Blockbuster Online 3 movies at a time (we also get 1 movie via Netflix)

3. Over the Air HDTV - Local networks like ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS


The only thing I was missing out on was sports (ESPN/TNT stuff like that). For that, if it was something I really, really wanted to see, I would either catch it a friends house, or a bar, or I would stream it via one of those misc. websites. I don't really like doing the streaming (with the SD sports on the crappy websites), because the video quality is horrible. But it works in a pinch, if I just want to see the last 7 minutes of a NBA game or something. Sometimes, I try to catch the game on ESPN 3 via Xbox, but they usually aren't showing anything I'm too interested in.


I'm not sure what I'm going to do now, because will all the streaming/xbox live, etc, etc, I can't imagine not going over the 250GB cap on a pretty regular basis. I'll guess I'll just have to let the wife and kids now that they need to cut down on their Netflix/Xbox Live usage.
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post #28 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 08:40 PM
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The real way to go about this is to target the media companies that will also be affected by bandwidth caps (Netflix, Sony, Microsoft, and Valve, for example). We'll all be watching fewer movies, less television, downloading fewer demos and games, and so on. If these companies truly want to push the "digital content revolution," bandwidth caps will absolutely screw with their plans. They can't be happy about it either.

Complaining to internet service providers won't do much; though we should all definitely threaten to cancel once this goes into effect. But complaining to content providers (like Netflix) may accomplish quite a bit more. Get the big guys fighting on our side, rather than us little guys fighting alone against the AT&T behemoth.

Hell, we should start writing to the gaming press and getting them bringing the issue into the mainstream.

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post #29 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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"but you can get so much more for so much less in other countries. Why? Because I only have 2 choices right now...AT&T or Comcast. There is no competition so they have a stranglehold on bandwidth and pricing."

No.

Only as a small fraction of the problem.

Look at all of the countries with awesomely cheap and fast broadband. What do you notice immediately? A consistent combination of small size with high population density. The overwhelming problem with broadband cost in North America is the simple fact that the area is far too large, and we are far too spread out. Drop a fast line in to a city block in South Korea and you reach 10,000 people. Drop the same line in the US and you reach 1,000 people.

You can go ahead and keep believing that corporate greed is the overwhelming problem here, but you would continue to be pretty significantly wrong.

The same reason is very much why all four of the primary cellular providers in the US are universally pretty crap. Now you suddenly have four options instead of the two that you claimed were the source of the problems in broadband, but the same issues in coverage and cost per service compared to high population density countries. If your "two companies strangle innovation!!" theory held true, then why would the issue not dissolve with the addition of twice the providers? Right, because lack of choice or competition isn't the problem.
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post #30 of 103 Old 03-14-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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"Hell, we should start writing to the gaming press and getting them bringing the issue into the mainstream."

Did you just use the words "gaming press" and "mainstream" in the same sentence? How cute!
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