Announced in March, today is the day when AT&T catches up with Comcast by also placing a monthly limit on how much bandwidth a customer can use from their “unlimited” services before facing steep overage charges. DSL customers will have a cap of 150 gigabytes per month and U-Verse customers will have a cap of 250 gigabytes per month, which matches Comcast’s current limit. Comcast took the approach of “3 strikes and you’re out” for those that cross the line but AT&T is seeing a profit opportunity. After consuming 250 GB in a month, customers will be charged $10 for every additional 50 GB consumed that month.
A fact that AT&T is apparently oblivious to, in the past two and a half years bandwidth usage has only gone up, not down. Using services like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, individual TV networks’ streaming shows, online backup services, and many other sites, makes it very easy to reach this bandwidth cap legally. Previously, ISPs have used the argument that rampant downloads and piracy were the trends of customers that reached these bandwidth caps. Now with roommates, family members, and cord-cutting, reaching the bandwidth cap will be very easy to do. Near the end of March, Netflix began offering lower quality videos in order to stay below Canadian bandwidth caps. That seems like a step in the opposite direction since technology usually improves and capacity increases with more time.
It looks like we’ll be celebrating Net Loss Day on October 1st and May 2nd.