AfterDawn: Tech news

AT&T starts testing bandwidth caps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 05 Nov 2008 23:10 User comments (48)

AT&T starts testing bandwidth caps Just one month after Comcast began imposing a bandwidth cap of 250 GB on all of its subscribers, AT&T has begun testing a cap of their own, however with a much smaller limit, 150 GB.
The cap will have tiers as well depending on how fast your connection is, slower users will only get 20 GB limit while the fastest users will get the 150 GB cap.

The test, beginning in Reno, Nevada today, will "evaluate a usage-based model that could potentially help address today's trend of explosive bandwidth usage, [and] may be extended to one other market by the end of the year," said AT&T.

Anyone in Reno who uses over 150 GB per month will automatically be enrolled in the full bandwidth trial at the end of the year.

Any trial participant that exceeds the limit will be given a one-month grace period but if they do it again they will be fined $1 for every GB over they go.

Unlike Comcast however, AT&T will provide all customers with a "bandwidth measuring tool" and will also notify customers when they have hit 80 percent of their limit.

"A small group of customers are using the majority of bandwidth on our network," added AT&T. "In fact, almost 50 percent of total bandwidth is used by just five percent of customers customers, for example, who are uploading and downloading the equivalent of more than 40,000 YouTube videos or 40 million e-mails a month. This kind of heavy usage has an impact on all of our customers."

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48 user comments

16.11.2008 0:07

While I am not a fan of caps, I do applaud AT&T for giving users a bandwidth monitoring tool as well as notifying them when they hit 80% of the limit.

Unlike AT&T, Comcast doesn't do anything except send you a threat if you go over and then kick you off for a year if you go over again.

26.11.2008 0:21

Best to steer clear of such companies. Go with a provider who offers unlimited downloads.

36.11.2008 1:12

I Believe That There Should Be No Banwidth Caps The Internet Bandwidth That We Pay For Should Remain Unlimited

SideNote Its Good they gave you a bandwidth monitoring tool

46.11.2008 2:26

lol looks like i'll be moving to a new provider as soon as it moves to my state...

56.11.2008 3:11

Holy CRAP!!! I almost switched from Comcast to AT&T about a week & a half ago! Good thing my parents ran up that phone bill in my name when I was 16 and didn't tell me! Thanks Mom & Dad!

66.11.2008 3:57

We have pretty low limits here in Ireland, my current limit with 3 mb broadband is 30 gb a month. And i believe our fees are expensive compared to yours too! :(

76.11.2008 4:14

yeah i guess it is nice that they actually NOTIFY you unlike comcast but i'm still not sold on the cap limits even though I really think they would cut down on piracy

86.11.2008 5:47

you should be grateful to have 150GB BW limit.

here in my country, we get

1GB/month = 25USD
50hours/month = 25USD

unlimited = 90USD

its all in very slow ADSL.
512kbps download (about 60KBps)
96 Kbps upload (about 12KBps)

96.11.2008 8:08

IF anybody is applauding the states internet speeds and caps then I'd hate to live in the country you're from, lol. I think the companies suck over here. We pay entirely too much and don't get enough in return.

106.11.2008 9:47

20GB is ridiculous. 150GB for the top tier is okay, but Comcast's 250GB is better... However, NO LIMITS are the best. This is complete crap that these companies are trying to pull.

I pay a bloated price for infrastruce and service that is never upgraded. DSL isn't fast to begin with and my RoadRunner is behind smaller countries, only getting 15mbps down for nearly $60! It's highway robbery and now companies want cap how much I download? Complete bull.

If Comcast and AT&T follow suit, it won't be long before everyone else jumps on board.

The way I see it, they are punishing those who get the most of their service; just another way for the Telcos to squeeze another buck out of the consumer, as more and more services rely on broadband.

116.11.2008 9:56

Whilst collusion is not allowed in a regulated competitive economy you will find that the others will quickly fall into line, just like the banks did with fees. 150 GB per month, hah, I would kill to get that at the price you Yanks enjoy! We pay thru the nose in Australia- ALL the ISPs have different plans involving different download amounts. For $70 I get 25 GB per month download at poor (by your standards) ADSL2+. If I exceed that the line will get "shaped" to 64k/s. Believe it or not that is a pretty reasonable deal here, there are much worse available.

Believe me I'm not gloating, it is unfair, but you guys have had it way easy compared to the vast majority of the developed world. I'm not surprised that your ISPs are pulling back having observed what is going on elsewhere. It has nothing at all to do with piracy and everything to do with profit.

I do find the idea that you will get "fined" $1/GB appallingly draconian though. That was tried in the early days here. You'll probably find that won't stick with consumers and shaping will become the norm for you too.

PS. I get a voip account too. Not a regular phone account. My line works out to around 8mbps. Whining about only having 15mbps with an unlimited download and calling that a rip-off just seems laughable. You've been lucky bastards till now.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Nov 2008 @ 10:43

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

126.11.2008 10:24

Quote:
The test, beginning in Reno, Nevada today, will "evaluate a usage-based model that could potentially help address today's trend of explosive bandwidth usage
This is typical of all US businesses. Instead of expanding and upgrading their infrasturcture to meet a growing demand, they'll instead degrade the service. It's all about how much $$$ they can put in the share holders pockets.

So now that they're considering switching from an unlimited plan to a limited plan, does that mean the customers monthly bill will go down? After all, like I said, they are offering less service. Of course not... I'm sure a price hike will be follow. The isp will have some kind of excuse about extra costs for them to monitor customers usage.

136.11.2008 11:27

Truth be told, we're damn near trapped in a monopoly. You either get the cable company in your area or telco for broadband. At least with dial-up, there were "other" options available.

146.11.2008 12:04

The monitoring system is a must, and I applaud AT&T for realizing that. 2009 will be an interesting year as many ISP's scramble to do whatever they can to exploit the "infrastructure limitations" excuse for as long as possible while filling their pockets as much as possible

I just switched from DSL to Cable because my DSL provider is going to impose a ridiculous cap soon. From what I read, Optimum Online does throttle their basic plan (15Mbps) if there is a constant upload for a long period of time (seeding torrents). And if you complain, they give you the run-around until you finally are told that to lift the cap, you have to upgrade to their Boost (30Mbps) plan, which is another $10/month. But according to many forum posts I've read, it's extremely rare that they throttle Boost customers. I don't really use torrents, so I shouldn't have to worry. I got Boost free for a year for switching over to them, but I may just subscribe to it when the promotion is over. I just hope my downloading doesn't draw too much attention. Even though Cablevision has not implemented caps, I did find out that they would probably follow suit eventually.

I really feel bad for Australian customers. Such a high price for so little. I was able to get 3 receivers, HD channels, VOIP and the Boost plan for internet for a little over $100(USD)/month. $55 less than my DSL plan which included a phone land line service.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Nov 2008 @ 12:08

156.11.2008 16:51

I wonder if this means they'll start introducing different pay scales for monthly use? I know Virgin was trying to do this.

166.11.2008 17:04

Originally posted by emugamer:
I really feel bad for Australian customers. Such a high price for so little. I was able to get 3 receivers, HD channels, VOIP and the Boost plan for internet for a little over $100(USD)/month. $55 less than my DSL plan which included a phone land line service.
Ah well Emu... Australia is possibly the only country in the world that can fake orgasm whilst being raped.

:D

176.11.2008 17:46

No..... this trend must stop. hopefully enough customers will change providers and AT&T realizes that most subscribers wont stand for it.

186.11.2008 18:58

Originally posted by SProdigy:
20GB is ridiculous. 150GB for the top tier is okay, but Comcast's 250GB is better... However, NO LIMITS are the best. This is complete crap that these companies are trying to pull.

I pay a bloated price for infrastruce and service that is never upgraded. DSL isn't fast to begin with and my RoadRunner is behind smaller countries, only getting 15mbps down for nearly $60! It's highway robbery and now companies want cap how much I download? Complete bull.

If Comcast and AT&T follow suit, it won't be long before everyone else jumps on board.

The way I see it, they are punishing those who get the most of their service; just another way for the Telcos to squeeze another buck out of the consumer, as more and more services rely on broadband.

Dude, if it makes you feel better, I'm dropping $60 a month for 1.5 mbps download speeds through Alltel's wireless internet. It beats putting up with dialup or Hughesnet though (from what I've heard)
Thankfully though, it is unlimited, even though I don't really download much nowadays.

196.11.2008 22:19

Haha for wireless Internet in Australia Optus an ISP, offers a "massive" 2GB of data. But I suppose we pay heaps because we do not have as many people as the US and we are further away

206.11.2008 22:40

Quote:
Originally posted by SProdigy:
20GB is ridiculous. 150GB for the top tier is okay, but Comcast's 250GB is better... However, NO LIMITS are the best. This is complete crap that these companies are trying to pull.

I pay a bloated price for infrastruce and service that is never upgraded. DSL isn't fast to begin with and my RoadRunner is behind smaller countries, only getting 15mbps down for nearly $60! It's highway robbery and now companies want cap how much I download? Complete bull.

If Comcast and AT&T follow suit, it won't be long before everyone else jumps on board.

The way I see it, they are punishing those who get the most of their service; just another way for the Telcos to squeeze another buck out of the consumer, as more and more services rely on broadband.

Dude, if it makes you feel better, I'm dropping $60 a month for 1.5 mbps download speeds through Alltel's wireless internet. It beats putting up with dialup or Hughesnet though (from what I've heard)
Thankfully though, it is unlimited, even though I don't really download much nowadays.
Eww... that does make me feel better! I'm not whining, as what I have is fast... but... not as fast as those little Scandinavian countries or Japan for that matter!

217.11.2008 0:00

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by SProdigy:
20GB is ridiculous. 150GB for the top tier is okay, but Comcast's 250GB is better... However, NO LIMITS are the best. This is complete crap that these companies are trying to pull.

I pay a bloated price for infrastruce and service that is never upgraded. DSL isn't fast to begin with and my RoadRunner is behind smaller countries, only getting 15mbps down for nearly $60! It's highway robbery and now companies want cap how much I download? Complete bull.

If Comcast and AT&T follow suit, it won't be long before everyone else jumps on board.

The way I see it, they are punishing those who get the most of their service; just another way for the Telcos to squeeze another buck out of the consumer, as more and more services rely on broadband.

Dude, if it makes you feel better, I'm dropping $60 a month for 1.5 mbps download speeds through Alltel's wireless internet. It beats putting up with dialup or Hughesnet though (from what I've heard)
Thankfully though, it is unlimited, even though I don't really download much nowadays.
Eww... that does make me feel better! I'm not whining, as what I have is fast... but... not as fast as those little Scandinavian countries or Japan for that matter!

Man, I hear ya. I'd love to have your average Japanese internet connection out here in the sticks.

227.11.2008 0:31

the question is, is this upload or download bandwidth? or the combination together?

IMO, I'd recommend an UPLOAD cap, not a download cap. This would prevent would be pirates from uploading crap tons of bluray / dvd rips.

237.11.2008 1:24

The good thing about this is that I made a 1 year contract with ATT. I had comcast prior to ATT, I'm going to have to search for another ISP. I don't upload anything, but I do use Youtube a lot. The cap will affect the way I use the internet.

247.11.2008 1:36
warriorp
Inactive

dont worry....in a little while we will have this dumb new world order crap and then between 2012-2015 some catastrophic disaster will come. they wont have anything to cap then. lol. fuck the banks and the greedy corps! ruining a whole country just to make a few small dick mofos rich. pathetic!

257.11.2008 2:23

Caps dont bother me... MUCH... AS LONG as it is FULLY DISCLOSED & you have some sort of MONITORING tool! & maybe even email notifications or txts to who ever has the acct in there name! I am curious how many people like my brother in law use part of that 5% due to d/l "STUFF" i have warned him & i dont think his parents have ANY IDea!

267.11.2008 9:16

edit

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Nov 2008 @ 9:38

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

277.11.2008 9:37

Originally posted by warriorp:
dont worry....in a little while we will have this dumb new world order crap and then between 2012-2015 some catastrophic disaster will come. they wont have anything to cap then. lol. fuck the banks and the greedy corps! ruining a whole country just to make a few small dick mofos rich. pathetic!
I laughed at first, but it has a truth to it. If America (and my country Australia) used ethanol like Brazil there would be no need to "secure" the oil fields of another country. Yeah, absolutely right.. pathetic! And sad. History has shown that great countries have fallen pursuing an (un-winable) international war they could not afford.

Oh yeah, I get a monitor with graphs of daily usage going back over the last few months, at the ISP's website using a password, and the ability to set email notifications at whatever percentage and frequency I choose. I get 25GB download AND 25GB upload- but this is highly dependant on the provider, most combine the two, one I know of gives unlimited uploads. Some have off-peak and peak limits so it's a minefield of confusing "fine print" details for most users.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Nov 2008 @ 9:46

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.


DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

287.11.2008 9:42

I've had AT&T DSL for almost 10 years. The second I'm notified about a "cap" I'm switching providers. No cap was the one the keeping me with AT&T over Comcast for instance.

297.11.2008 9:44

As I said they will all fall into line, just like the banks did over fees imo.

307.11.2008 11:07
duke8888
Inactive

Originally posted by TBandit:
yeah i guess it is nice that they actually NOTIFY you unlike comcast but i'm still not sold on the cap limits even though I really think they would cut down on piracy
I guess you aren't a Comcast customer as you have an email account with them and I think you have a home mailing address as they sent notices via both sources a month 1/2 ahead of time. I got a total of 3 noptices about the cap from them. I almost thought about Switching to Verizon but I have a feeling they will be putting in a cap to stop P2P users..

317.11.2008 11:11
duke8888
Inactive

Originally posted by djgizmo:
the question is, is this upload or download bandwidth? or the combination together?

IMO, I'd recommend an UPLOAD cap, not a download cap. This would prevent would be pirates from uploading crap tons of bluray / dvd rips.
Its a combine amount for both.

327.11.2008 11:14
duke8888
Inactive

This is really going to kill the online services from Netflix and Blockbuster as Tivo has signed an agreement with Netflix to use their box to display movies unlimited. So if you watch about 20 or more movies a month you are screwed.

If you go over the limit twice with a 1 year period then you get a ban from the internet service for one year sounds harsh.

337.11.2008 11:23

Greedy bastards. Are they not making enough money off of us already...?

347.11.2008 11:27

maybe I'll just switch to using my unlimited data plan with my phone...3g speeds aren't that bad through a tethered line....

lol

357.11.2008 15:26

I have to say, most if not all you folks here have the right idea. Speaking from the US side of the fence, yes we do have it a bit easier than the rest of the world. Where the US may have started several of the electronic revolutions, it is in the other countries that they practice their bold ass raping experiments.

When offered here in the US, the price is reasonable and for most part accommodating. Once word of mouth gets from the customers to other countries, an outcry for a similar product is evoked and then the experiment begins. Once it is found that other countries will only allow some much pressure to their assholes, the companies here then take advantage and just expect the US to follow suit.

It's this double standard caca de toro that the US primarily whines about. It's not that we are ungrateful (hell, we ARE paying for the service), but its this quick change BS to world wide BFing that we really have the problem with.

Some of the facts stated in the earlier posts are right on the money.

ANY cap is unwarranted and uncalled for by any means. It seems to me that the companies in major control (the US ones anyway) of information traffic are cutting their own throats. They want us to subscribe to digital mediums and then want to restrain what is essentially THEIR advertising dollars.

Call me odd, but when was the last time you paid $7 to go see advertisement at the movie theater? Granted, not the entire 2 hour slot, but you DID pay to see advertising, especially before the main feature (again, here in the US).

Here's another thought... If I pay for cable service, why am I paying a bloated service fee when they still advertise THEIR service and local yahoos. My $100 is not for advertising, especially for a service I already have.

Now what is going to happen with VOIP services? They use bandwidth too. I went to Vonage because I got pissed about paying $100 to just have the phone in the house. I didn't even use the SOB!

I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but something reall does "smell rotten in Denmark".

It just seems to me that if you run over a Capped limit, you may also loose out on some other services that you are paying for in collaboration with your internet service. I.e. Netflix, ANY cable on demand shows, you VOIP telephone, etc..

Greed can be the only motivator for this kind of behavior and it seems odd that this is becoming more of an issue now that the US has a new president that may in fact, knock the nuts off of this kind of price gouging across the world.

So, just for closing... Isn't it odd that the folks who don't care about everyday costs of items aren't the ones commenting on these kind of issues? I for one, metaphorically, had to cut my nails back to the tune of $250 just to make ends meet in my home. I can probably assume that a majority of you fine folks may be in a similar situation.

Just a though....

367.11.2008 20:57

Boo hoo. Here in Australia I have to pay $60 a month for 12GB.

378.11.2008 11:01
susieqbbb
Inactive

Who the heck has at&t anyways..

Most of the phone lines are rigged to comcast and there partner companys.

Along with there broadband service there is really no way to save your @#$ from whats coming.

388.11.2008 11:49

Originally posted by avoidz:
Boo hoo. Here in Australia I have to pay $60 a month for 12GB.
well youre getting raped too

398.11.2008 13:21

Quote:
Australia is possibly the only country in the world that can fake orgasm whilst being raped.:D

408.11.2008 13:25

Originally posted by susieqbbb:
Who the heck has at&t anyways..

Most of the phone lines are rigged to comcast and there partner companys.

Along with there broadband service there is really no way to save your @#$ from whats coming.
Hey, don't be such a pessimist! Find an alternative! There are some dedicated 802.11 ISP's up and coming!

In the house to which I am moving soon, we can get a 900 Mhz 2 Mbps symmetrical wireless connection through surfnet!

I think it's gonna be all about the 802.11 in the near future. Free yourself from The Man's infrastructure!! In the 900 Mhz band, you don't even need line of site to connect to a node over several km from you!

research it.


~Maitland

4110.11.2008 10:05

warriorp, get real! You talk about greedy corporations, when there isn't enough bandwidth to go around why should a few users hog it all?
After saying that, some of the caps ARE ridiculous. There are way too many capping way below 100 G for all activity. Most users have nowhere to go.

4210.11.2008 14:36

Originally posted by Mez:
warriorp, get real! You talk about greedy corporations, when there isn't enough bandwidth to go around why should a few users hog it all?
After saying that, some of the caps ARE ridiculous. There are way too many capping way below 100 G for all activity. Most users have nowhere to go.
The problem is that the "greedy corporations" never told us that there isn't enough bandwidth to go around. Throttling and capping without consent is a slap in the face to a paying customer who signed on based on an advertisemt of "unlimited high speeds." The biggest slap in the face is telling a customer that they were throttled for "abusing" the system, where abuse is defined as whatever they feel is excessive (which was never spelled out in the terms of use). I believe that is where most of the anger comes from. I don't mind the caps, as long as they are up front about it and give people ways of measuring. And as long as they are reasonable. I want to know if I should invest in streaming media. And the only way I can make an educated decision is if I know my limitations.

4310.11.2008 14:56

@emugamer:

It would be nice, though, if instead of stooping to Comcast's level (and, indeed, undercutting them by several notches!), AT&T had chosen to research ways to increase the bandwidth available on the network.

That's why capitalist corporations are a failure for humanity. The only thing that really matters to them is the bottom line, and thus they will almost always choose to decrease quality of service or product rather than improving their offerings to adhere to customer needs or demands. They simply don't have to do it; so, they don't.

Greed. It's sad.


~Maitland

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Nov 2008 @ 15:08

4410.11.2008 14:59

I agree with you 100% emugamer, at least my ISP hasn't reneged on my deal- which as I said is unfortunately fair for here- much less arrogantly penalised me. They will just throttle me if I go over..haha I mean shape me to 64KB\s.

They also claim they will never throttle P2P etc. too and give good tools to monitor it with. Even giving me double the GBs if I use ipfilters in uTorrent. It's a little complicated but essentially it works out 25GBs fastest\external plus an extra 25GBs slower\local piping- where the monitor comes in really handy, coz if I exceed either limit they'll shape the line.

4510.11.2008 16:27

I never thought I would be on this side of the fence but I love an argument!

I do think they made a statement that they could provide enought service because of all the torrent traffic sucking up all the band width. Last Sept torrents were over 50% of the US bandwidth and torrent traffic increased 30% in 6 months in the US. Most of the world even has more torrent traffic.

In Feb Comcast rolled out an attack robot. Now it has dropped off maybe 40% of Feb. They can throttle torrent traffic down to 0. The FCC said No, No you can't throttle the torrent s like that. Yes they should have been forthwith and they are weasels for that.

That is why they are capping us. No one can deal width logrythimic growth. It is out in the open now. Publicly stated reasonable caps is maybe the best we may get it could be much worse.

4610.11.2008 16:50

@Mez:

The internet will just have to morph in order better suit its users. It's as plain as that. Right now it is pretty centralized with the primary backbones being controlled by corporations and universities. This is pretty contrary to the notion of torrents where load distribution is totally decentralized. And if torrents are the largest portion of network use, the network will simply have to change.

I'm really starting to think that as 802.11 becomes more and more sophisticated we will start to see small but powerful wireless network nodes begin to arise in communities and cities. This may help to take the load off of the backbones and serve the dual purpose of freeing users from babylon's wired infrastructure...


~Maitland

4710.11.2008 20:33

maitland, I hope you are right. I would rather see things open up than tighten up. However, there is always too many greedy suits that want to suck the blood out of anything with potiential.

4812.11.2008 19:04
vudoo
Inactive

Its all a bunch of bullshit. There is no critical mass ready to happen from p2p. Only in small rural locations where you have 50-100 homes connected to the same node or maybe a dorm type community will you ever see this kind of bandwidth shortage described here. If this type of behavior becomes the main stream I hope that they have 320 bit encryption as hackers will crack the WEP encryption built into routers and begin hacking other people's wireless networks and using p2p all they want. This shit was going on with cell phones and the hackers simply cloned other peoples cell phones, set up code lines (on business's 800 numbers) and distributed the codes for the public to use. Codes were exchanged everyday and nothing could be done about it. Even caller ID can be spoofed and the same goes for ANI. So if the phone phreakers can get around a system designed to bill you according to the amount of usage you accumulate, so can the hackers of today use hot spots, home networks, and other deceptive measures to do their bidding.

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