AT&T brainstorms Time Warner-like bandwidth cap
"Given the usage trends we're seeing, a form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is inevitable," says company spokesman Michael Coe. "Usage based pricing is one way to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among broadband users."
He's tossing this statement at all sorts of news-minded folk, including The Associated Press. According to Coe, the top five per cent of the AT&T's DSL customers consume 46 per cent of its traffic, and the top 1 per cent accounts for 21 per cent all bandwidth. Total network consumption, Coe says, is doubling every 18 months.
Earlier this month, Time Warner launched a kind of metered internet trial in the Gulf Coast town of Beaumont, Texas, forcing new customers to choose a monthly bandwidth cap of 5-, 20-, or 40GB. Pricing plans range from $29.95 a month for a 5GB cap and 768kbps download speeds to $54.90 for a 40GB cap at 15mbps, and anyone who exceeds their cap is charged an extra $1 per gigabyte.
Meanwhile, Comcast is considering a 250GB cap for all customers. The company has yet to even test this idea, but it's thinking that if users exceed the cap, they'll be charged an extra $15 for each 10GB beyond the cap.
Well-defined caps may be a good thing for US internet users. Though American ISPs have long put caps on bandwidth usage, they're typically top secret. Of course, it all depends what the caps are - and how the ISP charges when you go over.
Time Warner looks to be charging an arm and a leg in its Beaumont trials. But perhaps AT&T - the largest ISP in the US - will be a bit more reasonable. At the moment, they're still thinking things over. "We're always evaluating our broadband plans and services, but we currently have nothing new to announce regarding our pricing structure," Coe says. ®
caps and locally hosted vs peering connection use
Of course they aren't going to include locally hosted content in the cap exactly for that reason.
If you are downloading from another source the bandwidth costs them MONEY.
I'm just glad I recently signed up for a 2-year guaranteed price bundle of digital cable, internet phone, and broadband with Time-Warner. If they try to move the goalposts, I'll see 'em in court.
Can AT&T/Comcrap/Time Warner be tried for murder?
I am someone who works in a small media business and honestly, if AT&T and so forth start putting caps on bandwidth.. how long does that take to get to business class internet? If we had to deal with caps at 25/gigs and so on, we would be literally MURDERED.
As a media outlet it's not impossible for our transfer to be well over 25/gigs a day! It's not all the time either, and it's not just during special business times (9-5). How are we supposed to be in business when we have to resort back to getting everything sent fedex or UPS?
Our online presence is also an increasingly large portion of our business as well, and if that gets taken away we would take a direct sales hit. People that would now be 'bandwidth-sensitive' would just steer clear of everything we offered.
If these Big Internet companies put me out of work, I want them to foot my unemployment.