What's New: AT&T Plans DSL Usage Limits

This week AT&T started limiting DSL subscribers in certain areas to download/bandwidth usage limits between 20 GB and 150 GB. In force in Reno, Nevada, as a test, AT&T plans to implement usage caps in at least one more market by year's end. New subscribers of the least expensive 768 Kbps service will be limited to 20 GB of downloads, while subscribers of the highest (not always available) plan will be limited to 150 GB of usages. The plan is to warn users when they reach 80% of their limit, and (after a warning the first month) charge $1 per GB of usage over that limit. Existing DSL customers in the trial area will be limited to 150 GB per month.

AT&T claims that 5% of users use over 50% of their network capacity. The limits are similar in concept to limits implemented by Comcast and Time Warner cable operators earlier this year.

In our view, 20 GB is a relatively small limit, but not seriously restrictive; it would be the equivalent of about 30 hours of standard-definition TV programming per day. Then again, AT&T has historically tried to concentrate on lower cost (vs. higher value) service.

Wednesday, Nov 5, 2008 03:04 pm CST

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