So, there it is, that final blow to Netflix’s idea of becoming a streaming empire, or at least put a brake to it, as families with several people watching streaming content will probably run over the limit. AT&T confirmed that starting from May 2nd 2011 there will be no unlimited internet plans. Users on DSL plans will have 150GB monthly usage cap. Those on U-Verse — 250GB.
If, while you’re a customer, you exceed these caps 3 times you get slapped with $10 per 50GB overage charge.
As usual, reasoning is that “only 2% of customers” eat up too much bandwidth and that average granny/user consumes 18Gb a month, so shut up and prepare to be metered.
All current customers will be receiving notifications about new limits from March 18 till March 31st. Given that standard DSL/U-Verse contract already mentions possibility of overage charges/usage limitations there’s probably no way one could sneak out of a contract, though if enough users raise stink there may be some sort of “exception”.
And, of course, Time Warner Cable’s executives continue to claim that metered bandwidth is “inevitability” (and not the fair kind, but $1/GB with low caps) users will be running out of options quickly.
I haven’t seen anything about independent DSL providers being required to impose the limits too, so for a moment there’s a chance to switch to a small DSL provider, that is unless their rack space limits are reached.
p.s. in the grand schema of things AT&T for now is planning to charge only about 20x the cost of GB when user goes into overage (20c versus approximately a penny that it costs to transport). But I wouldn’t trust it not to go up later due to claims of some raising expenses, even though the costs continue to go down.
p.p.s. I wonder how long it will take (well, at least 4 months) for first horror story with a bill shock to appear. You know, because kids did something stupid and maxed out U-verse connection 24×7. That’ll be 24Mbps * 30 days = approximately 7 Terabytes of overage (counting download only). 7 Terabytes / 50 Gigabytes * $10=$1,433.60. Ready for a thousand bucks internet bill? No? 🙂