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Posted Mar 16, 2011
2:23:12 PM
AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a month.
AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a month.

 

ATT USERS BEWARE!

ATT is setting a limits on the amount of Download (Bandwith) you can use for DSL subscribers   CNN posted this MSG today in its tech section.  TELL ATT this wont be tolerated.  If your like me watching vids via netflix, or CNN news streaming media or online gaming (Flight Sim X online) you will meet this limit very fast and be forced to pay more with 10.00 per every 50GB downloaded.    Please help us reverse ATT decision on this poor choice. 

 CALL / EMAIL    ATT AND SAY NO TO THIS POLICY!

 

(WIRED) -- AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a month.

Traditional DSL users will be capped at 150 GB per month, while subscribers to the fiber-backed UVerse system have a 250-GB limit. Usage over that will be charged at $10/month for 50 GB, the company says.

The company says that currently only a small percentage of users -- around 2% -- use this much data a month. If that's the case, it's not clear why the company is bothering to install the caps.

It is, however, the same rationale (and the same usage stat) that the company relied upon to explain why it would be capping iPhone data plans last summer, which had hitherto been "unlimited."

WIRED: Congressman wants to ban download caps

DSL and UVerse connect fairly directly to a hub -- unlike cable connections where users share a local loop that can become congested. Bulk-bandwidth costs for an ISP are a tiny portion of its business costs, and those prices continue to fall even as users consume more and more data.

So, how could a user end up hitting these caps? Streaming video such as HD movies from Netflix, using bittorrent to download movies and heavy gaming with services like Steam can easily eat up lots of data, especially in households with multiple heavy internet users.

AT&T isn't the first large broadband provider to impose caps. Comcast imposed a 250-GB cap shortly after the company was caught throttling bittorrent downloads.

Time Warner Cable tried going further with trials of a service that imposed very low limits for users, which led to a furor among users and lawmakers.

There's little data to demonstrate whether large ISPs actually are experiencing real issues with congestion. Skeptics see the limits as ways to discourage cable video customers from "cutting the cord" and getting their video online, or as a way to pocket profits instead of re-investing in bulking up their infrastructure.

Derek Turner, the research director for the net neutrality advocacy group Free Press says the limits will discourage online innovation, and that with the growth curve of internet usage, the limits will soon catch many internet user.

"When ISPs force their customers to watch the meter, experimentation, innovation and business will suffer," Turner said.

"AT&T's actions are another troubling symptom of a broadband market that lacks meaningful competition, and this move may be the start of a race to the bottom among other providers to see who can squeeze its customers the most. At worst, this is a plan designed to discourage cord-cutting and pad profits; at best, this is another example of an antiquated phone-company business model being forced onto an otherwise vibrant and limitless marketplace."

 

Thanks for reading

AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a month.

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Mar 17, 2011 2:40:30 AM
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Pretty simple equation for me... AT&T institutes download caps = all AT&T accounts cancelled.  I pay for 4 different u-verse accounts in my family, and for 3 different offices accounts.  The service has already recently taking a huge web performance hit recently, web pages often go unbrowseable from all my different accounts, while other non-web traffic has no problems getting through.  As it is, because of the poor support and sub-optimal network quality with all of the u-verse accounts - I end up getting at least 10% of my traffic as retransmission traffic, and the quality of the streams through web services often is throttled for services like ESPN3.com to where I can't even maintain 3 out of 5 quality on the stream, and yet I have no problems on my RCN accounts at the same time.

 

If I feel I need to cancel my u-verse accounts, I will also be cancelling all of my Metro Ethernet Services through AT&T.  I fell victim to the one bill thinking a long time ago, and have removed all my other services from AT&T up until this point, landline, cable, cellular service due to degrading support and service quality while prices have risen.  It looks like soon my internet and connectivity services will follow. 

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Mar 17, 2011 3:33:26 AM
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I'll probably drop my 6.0 plan. It's just a power move to hurt Netflix so they can keep on with their tv service...

Btw AT&T doesn't use nodes like cable companies do, so I don't see how data hogs are slowing others down.

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Mar 17, 2011 11:00:14 AM
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I recently heard about this move and needless to say I am quite aggravated. I have just upgraded to the highest bandwidth / speed offering available for u-verse.

First off, what is the point in having high bandwidth offerings if you cannot take advantage of them. With that much bandwidth, 250GB will be used in less than a week.

 

I live in a household of 4 family members. All of which utilize the internet on a daily basis. 2 kids playing internet games. Wife reading emails and watching videos. Myself streaming video, audio and gaming. I also program so the internet is a vital resource for information as well my connection back to my office. I can see me exceeding my limit in less than a week. With family overseas, Skype has been perfect for staying in touch and this will limit our usage of that as well... The rates offered to the country we call are more than we we want to pay on a regular basis. Not covered under international dialing packages.

 

Out of curiosity I wrote a quick script to scrape the "Traffic Statistics" from my gateway. What I found was just with streaming audio that I can get to about 8Gb in roughly 3 hours. I say about because I do not know how much of that is background traffic such as OS updates or my browsing. If I were to through on my connection back to the office, which is a constant VPN connection, I'd imagine it could grow substantially.

 

As a family we enjoy watching movies together so Netflix is the ideal choice. Streaming those movies is perfect as we can decide that night what we want to watch. I occasionally use Hulu as well provided through AT&T for watching shows. How will this impact my downloading shows through U Verse to my iPhone for viewing later? It's bad when they have also placed caps on the internet through the smart phones. I also use the smartphone internet for work as well.

 

These limits will do nothing but hinder me and may cause issues with my work duties if I cannot afford to connect back to the office after exceeding the 250GB limit. I will be tweaking my scripts further to get finer detail for my usage but at first glance, this does not look good. I may have to seek Internet access elsewhere. I can see where my usage may be considered heavy but I expect quite a bit when I pay as much for my features as I do. Perhaps I should just drop the service as a whole... We could probably use the exercise anyway.

 

Where can we write to voice our concerns over this change? Aside from TV, what will not count against the bandwidth?

 

If you are going to cap your customers, you should remove the "We don't limit bandwidth" page related to U-Verse. (http://www.att.com/u-verse/explore/resource-landing.jsp)

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Mar 17, 2011 1:10:59 PM
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I should probably add to that putting a cap on the internet kind of defeats the idea of cloud publications I would think.

 

I also order my software electronically whenever possible and those files can be large... 180MB - 2GB alone.

 

It seems to me as well that the website content these days is happiest with greater amounts of bandwidth which I would translate to meaning more data transferred for a better experience.

 

With the news events lately too, I have been streaming video from UStream as well as from friends Japan.

 

Just more thoughts on the matter.

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Mar 17, 2011 1:42:33 PM
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This is just another case of the big companies flexing their muscles. 

 

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Mar 17, 2011 2:16:27 PM
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I have been a long time user of AT&T dsl and now after reading this I am going to have to drop my services. I have 2 pcs networked and we both use it for either surfing, gaming but mostly Netflix. Quit lagging behind AT&T and upgrade your infrastructure we are so behind Euro countries its sad.

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Mar 17, 2011 4:26:44 PM
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While AT&T is not like a cable modem system where 500 or so homes share a "local node" near the home, there is still a point at the Central Office where all the DSL lines come together and go to the internet backbone.  So you still "share" the central office's total bandwidth. While I am sure they have a large pipe, many people running high speed downloads at the same time does indeed slow down others as the total bandwidth is used up.  You are right, it is not the same as cable, but it is still a shared system.

 

Strangely, while cable modems share a local node for bandwidth, they also share bandwidth at their head end as well with all the nodes. They have two limits that are shared, while typically DSL has only one (although the local concentrator where the DSL terminates may also have bandwidth shared limits, your CO may vary!)

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Mar 17, 2011 4:41:26 PM
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I find it amusing that AT&T and Comcast (and other service providers) all flap their wings and pound their chests at just how much "faster" they are than their competition. And then they limit how much you can use. What's the point of being faster if the quantity is small? It is like having a fire hose attached to a 5 gallon bucket. Yea, you get the water fast, but you use it up quickly and have nothing. 

 

Yea, I have heard the arguments that 150GB is a lot of data, and while I suspect that I seldom reach that amount, I have, and probably will more and more as more of my services move to streaming and more and more of my software is downloaded, etc. etc. I am a Microsoft Developer, and ALL their software, hundreds of gigs of it is distributed electronically now.  If I have to do an update, it will cost a small fortune in AT&T charges.

 

And I am a good citizen. When I download such data, I throttle my speed so I do not use all 6 Mbps (which they have not provided in a long time!), and run it slowly during the days and evenings, and only speed it up some (to 3 Mbps) during the nights. I guess there was no reason to do that. 

 

I have AT&T DSL, AT&T home phone service, and AT&T Cell service, and should this change take place, I will seriously consider moving services. Right now, Comcast offers 250 Gb/month, which is a more reasonable limit (if limits can be reasonable). but 150 is just too low.  And I was thinking of getting Uverse when it came t my area, but this will just push me to renew a new 2 year contract with Dish network. No to UVerse now.  And when my iPhone contract expires, this is just another reason to consider moving to Verizon.

 

Think about this carefully AT&T. Yes, I know you need to manage bandwidth usage, but I have to agree with others, this is just your way of stopping streaming video from companies like Vudu and Netflix, and hoping people will buy more from you. For me, it will just have the opposite effect. I need a reason to drop my landline, stay with Dish, and move to Verizon cell service. This is reason enough for me. 

 

As a broadband engineer, I fully understand the need to control bandwidth, but a cap with high rates is not the answer. Here is a suggestion: Lower your rates for each of the plans, and then add a smaller fee for each 10 GB of data after that. So instead of $35, offer 6 Mbps/100 Gb.month  for $25, and then charge $2.50 for each 25 GB over that. Now, smaller users get a break, and bandwidth hogs like me pay more, and it is still reasonable. 

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Mar 17, 2011 7:06:12 PM
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I've already contacted netflix, hulu and a few others because AT&T is violating the neutrality internet law. I'm disabled I use the internet a lot where as others use it rarely and this 150gig cap is a slap in the face not to mention the past few weeks the internet service has been terrible. I have already contacted Sudden link do you hear that AT&T I will not tolerate this crap from one of the lesser quality providers on the market.

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Mar 17, 2011 8:05:02 PM
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[Keep It Relevant and Appropriate]

They act as if this will only hurt big gamers who sit on their butts all day, but in reality, it is us hard working people it is hurting. good luck

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Mar 17, 2011 9:01:40 PM
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I just realize this is not the end. At&t, we the people will not stand for what you are trying to do.  We will not be undermined by this PONZI scheme. That is all I have to say.

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Mar 18, 2011 1:37:32 AM
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All I'm going to say is that it's going to hurt those on disability that can't get out of the house. AT&T Should at least be fair to those on SSI payments and etc when it comes to the internet.

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Mar 18, 2011 12:15:54 PM
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This is extremely disappointing that they have decided to take things down this road.  I, for one, will be cancelling my service before May 2nd.

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Mar 19, 2011 10:47:58 AM
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For those of us with no choice to move away from this greedy company, the best option is to downgrade your DSL to a slower speed.

 

A 6mbps connection allows Netflix and youtube etc to serve an HD quality picture, which according to AT&T themselves will eat up 150Gb in just 20 movies (and that doesn't include everything else you might use the net for.) I checked my net use yesterday on one PC, and without watching any more than a half-dozen short youtube clips along with my normal work-related use and email, I'd used up over 1Gb in a day. So my Netlfix movie watching is probably going to be cut to one movie ever couple of days if I don't want to be charged extra by AT&T for it every month. It's a pretty outrageous abuse of monopoly, if you ask me.

 

A slower connection means receiving less than HD video, but uses up less bandwidth per movie. So that's the way to go if you don't want to be overcharged by the phone company. It's ironic that those already paying AT&T more for a faster connection are the one most likely to pay overage charges.

 

The usual company line that there are lots of 'bandwidth hogs' out there pirating movies and downloading illegal software is just so much laughable (remove expletive with B and S in it). AT&T want to grab extra revenue from the success of companies like Netflix, who have (had?) tremenduous growth potential, and do a better job than they do of providing online services, but they prefer to steal it rather than compete fairly.

 

It's time AT&T were broken up into units that actually have to compete, rather than allowing virtual monopolies in what is supposed to be a competition-driven economy.

 

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Mar 19, 2011 1:05:35 PM
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AT&T, please don't do this to us.  I can barely afford your packages now, this is going to hurt me.  Be the better company and stand up for your customers.  Few companies do these days, you could be the example.  If you cap us, I'll have no choice but to move to another provider for wireless, internet and telephone.  I've already been shopping around for VoIP and internet, and have serveral options available to me.  I am not under contract on wireless either, so I can go to any provider I choose.  Don't sacarfice your customers and your bottom line, stop this capping nonsense now.

 

Not only will I cancel my internet and wireless with AT&T, I will also cancel the 3 landlines we have in our home for business purporses.  Yes, 3 landlines, and you know those are cash cows to you.  I will completely cut AT&T from every aspect of our lives if you do this to us.  You DO know that MOST of your customers have other options for their communication needs, and I am fully prepared to use other providers for everything unless you back down from this ridiculous money grab of yours.

 

I curse the day you destroyed Bellsouth.  Now, look at the result.

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Mar 19, 2011 1:35:00 PM
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BTW, AT&T, we all know this is an attempt to keep your customers from services such as Netflix, to drive them to your Uverse service. The problem there is, Uverse is available almost NOWHERE.  I personally do not know a single person who has Uverse availabe to them.  Unless you live in a very large city, you are out of luck, and even there, it's limited.  Coverage is sporatic in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia...why are you trying to drive customers to a service that you only offer to a tiny fraction of this country?  I live in the suburb of a small city about 50 miles NE of Birmingham, Alabama.  I find it hard to believe you would even bring Uverse to my small city itself, much less those of us in its rural suburbs.  What exactly, do you expect us to do?

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Mar 20, 2011 8:21:34 AM
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At least when AT&T pulled this crap with the Iphone, loyal customers were grandfathered in to the unlimited data plan. We, on the other hand, are granted no such consideration. I consider this a breach of the one-year contract that I just signed up for. As I work from home 3 days a week, have multiple family members who use the internet, stream videos, etc...150 gigs will get eaten up in no time. The only reason I have stuck with this sub-par internet service is the fact that I don't have to read a meter every month.

 

What a joke.

 

I will be submitting another complaint to the BBB. I hope everyone affected by this does the same.

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Mar 20, 2011 8:50:44 AM
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It's really ridiculous that AT&T is trying to use congestion as an excuse. They're a Tier 1 internet service provider and they're not a cable company like Comcast is, so there's no valid excuse that they can hide behind. If there really was network congestion, a competent network management program would be able to clear that up. Like many others have already said, this is just a money grab scheme. That 2% is about $400m of revenue for AT&T (strictly for internet service only, not including landlines, etc), a small chunk of change compared to last year's $20b profit, but AT&T fails to realize that they can lose more than just that 2%. Some people don't like being restricted. Some people have more than just internet service with AT&T and I'm sure those people (myself included) are willing to drop our wireless plans, our landline plans, and our internet service to look for better services.

 

So for those of you that can, drop their service. Comcast is a cable company and pretty notorious for being a crappy choice, but even they have a bigger bandwidth cap than AT&T's paultry 150GB/250GB cap. For those of you that live in an area where AT&T is a monopoly, I suggest getting as many of your friends and family members as you can to drop their services. Make a dent in AT&T's wallet any possible way that you can. You can also help out by filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, the Better Business Bureau, or you can even let AT&T know directly how ridiculous their ploy is. [Keep It Spam Free]

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Mar 20, 2011 9:36:09 AM
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AT&T claims it's only about 2% of its users that are abusing the network, so why do the rest of us have to get punished?  Why not just punish the ones who are using more than their fair share?  I don't mind a cap under a "fair use" policy, but 150g is too low.  Way too low.  That's why I believe this entire thing is just a smoke screen to disquise AT&Ts greed to get more money out of us, and to prevent us from using services such as Netflix, which is competition for AT&T.  I would love to have UVerse, and would subscribe to it in a heartbeast, but it's available almost NOWHERE.  Why is AT&T trying to force users to a service it only offers to a tiny percentage of the country?

 

I personally don't know a single person who has Uverse simply because it isn't available.  That's not our fault, that's AT&Ts fault.  The rest of us get punished for it.  Times are hard right now, and AT&T is already one of my most expensive utility bills, now they are going to potentially take even more money from me while giving me less in return.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.  AT&T, come on. 

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Mar 20, 2011 9:57:46 AM
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evan - their claim is that 2% of users are using 20% of bandwidth... However, on the flip side what is the percentage of users that are using UNDER the average (whatever that may be)... I know people like my father (senior citizen) has uverse, yet he does VERY LITTLE on the internet... In the evenings when he gets home he mostly just emails friends pictures of their vacations, surfs a few website (like ebay), and that's it! I would be surprised if he used more than 10GB per month... But he's paying the same amount as everyone else?

 

This seems like a way for AT&T to make up for someone's mis-calculation on the statistical average use of bandwidth for their customers... They screwed up, not us...

 

I just filed a complaint with the FCC, hopefully others will to.

 

When I get the TOS notice, even though I"m under a 1-year contract I think this is a good enough reason to switch without incuring a penalty. I plan on using a local ISP that offers DSL with no caps (they've been flaunting that fact ever since the AT&T announcement), and switching to Verizon's home phone service that works via their cell system, I forgot the name...  I'll only be keeping the uverse TV.

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Mar 20, 2011 10:10:16 AM
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I filed the form at the FCC also, but I trust them about as much as I trust uh, AT&T to do the right thing.  Like I mentioned earlier, I have no issues with a cap, but 150g is way way too low.  I'm not what you would call a power user, but I do use my connection quite heavily at times.  I've downloaded a tool called NetMeter and started tracking our usage last week when the news of all this drama came out.  I fully expect to be paying AT&T an extra $10.00 a month on top of the already outrageous fees they charge us for (comparatively) slow DSL.  :smileysad:

 

Those of us in smaller cities with fewer, if any, other options, AT&T really does have us thrown over a log while telling us to squeal like a piggy, and they know that.  I cannot tell you how much I miss Bellsouth.  AT&T took an awesome, customer service oriented company, and completely destroyed it.

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Mar 20, 2011 10:20:30 AM
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If many users file the forms of complaint and try to fight AT&T on their horrible decision, something may happen in our favor. If not, at least it's a way for you to say that you did your part and that you're standing up for what you believe is right. I'm not a big soapbox fan, but this is just ridiculous. If a major ISP like AT&T can get away with this, then any ISP that doesn't already have caps and limits will probably follow the trail too. I'm a big Netflix fan since it supports multiple devices in my household, and that alone is going to suck up my bandwidth. I also buy a lot of high-def music, so that also sucks up a lot of bandwidth.

 

I used to use NetMeter a long time ago until it dumped my recorded usage one day, so if any of you would like an alternate to what AT&T provides or NetMeter, I highly recommend BitMeter OS. It sits in your background and records the usage. You can query your history, make alert listings for bandwidth usage, and many other things. It's a very neat program.

 

 

[Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate].

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Mar 20, 2011 10:21:36 AM
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Thanks, natebear.  I'll also download BitMeter.

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Mar 20, 2011 10:39:54 AM
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I wrote my Senator....hope he joins the fight against AT&T.

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Mar 20, 2011 11:12:28 AM
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Does anyone know if local network usage counts in the caps?  For example, I have a network attached storage device, which I use to stream movies I own to my television.  Does that stuff go against this stupid cap or is it just network traffic from the internet (such as streaming videos from Netflix)?  

 

 

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Mar 20, 2011 11:20:27 AM
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The cap only applies to what you actually download/upload through AT&Ts network.  It won't apply if you stream media from a server or storage device in your home to other devices on your local network.  As long as you aren't using the internet itself, that has nothing to do with AT&T.  I do the same thing with music and movies.

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Mar 20, 2011 1:29:28 PM
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This decision by ATT is just another way that the big ISPs squeeze households.  My biggest issue that is that want this to be a FIXED bill every month.  I don't want to worry about some variable amount every month.  

 

I pay for Xtreme 6.0 and for the price and for the fact that I have been a long-time customer, I would like to think that I would get some consideration.   However, given the way that the ISPs behave,  I would not be surprised that the only way to get ahead in this market is to do the same kind of service churning that people did in the late '80's and early '80's when they deregulated telephone long distance.  I remember switching LD providers 2 or 3 times in 6 months just to take advantage of deals that applied to new customers - but not to existing ones. 

 

A tip - that sometimes works.  Call up and complain.  Say that you can get a better deal with Comcast, Charter, or whoever.  They may just send you to the 'customer loyalty' desk where you can negotiate a discount.  I got my very basic cable TV bill lowered from $105/month to $72 by doing just that. 

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Mar 20, 2011 2:33:00 PM
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In order to provide a consistently high-quality video service, AT&T Uverse High Speed Internet throughput speeds may be temporarily reduced when a customer is using other U-verse services in a manner that requires high bandwidth. This could occur more often with higher speed Internet access products. It may be necessary, for some AT&T High Speed Internet users, for AT&T to set a maximum downstream speed on a customer line to enhance the reliability and consistency of performance. While this performance optimization process will prevent some customers from obtaining the maximum downstream speed capability, service capability speed will not be set lower than the service tier you have purchased. I am Sooooo {word filter evasion} off right now because I am paying for high speed not only are these {Please keep it courteous} at AT&T in breach of contract with the cap but now they are throttling high speed customers who signed up for unlimited internet! [Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate].

Re: AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a

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