AT&T home internet to be capped

Heavy downloaders with AT&T may find extra charges on their bill from May if they download more than 150GB on their DSL service.

Internet plans in the US are usually unlimited, with customers paying for speed rather than for how much they download.

However AT&T has made a shift to place a limit of 150GB for home internet subscribers, and if customers exceed that amount, AT&T will charge $10 per 50GB. Customers who are signed up with a U-Verse plan, which is a DSL service at a faster speed, will be capped at 250GB.

AT&T has said that only two percent of customers actually reach the 150GB, and therefore very few users will actually be affected by the move. However, as more and more home users shift to internet-based TV services, it could help the company make more revenue from extra downloads. AT&T has said users will be warned repeatedly if approaching the capped amount.

According to AT&T, users average 18GB per month. Reasons for customers surpassing well beyond this figure could be due to constant file sharing, movie downloads in HD or video conferencing. 

Other providers in the US simply cut off the user’s internet access for the period rather than charging them extra. Excess usage charges has been trialled previous by a provider in the US, however the scheme was met with complaints, and the provider backed away from the plan.

There aren’t many internet providers who continue to charge a fee for excess downloading on an ADSL broadband service (apart from Dodo and Exetel). Most providers “shape” (slow) the customer’s speed if the download quota is exceeded.