Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are AT&T Download caps an attack against Internet Video?

I have measured Netflix and it's sending on average 2.4 Mbps of data while watching a movie, this is 300KB/s.

A 150 GB caps is 138 Hours of Netflix level of streaming video; Or 4.6 Hours of TV viewing per day.

With High definition content like 1080i HD which we can now stream over the Internet we would hit this cap faster.

For now it's probably reasonable to charge a little extra, at least it's a soft cap, rather then just cutting you off.

I think I prefer this to what Comcast is doing by trying to charge Netflix extra or there long history of slowing down connections.

From Wired: AT&T Puts Broadband Users on Monthly Allowance:

AT&T broadband users will soon face a cap on the amount of internet data they can download a month. Traditional DSL users will be capped at 150 GB per month, while subscribers to the fiber-backed UVerse system have a 250-GB limit. Usage over that will be charged at $10/month for 50 GB, the company says

So, how could a user end up hitting these caps? Streaming video such as HD movies from Netflix, using bit torrent to download movies and heavy gaming with services like Steam can easily eat up lots of data, especially in households with multiple heavy internet users.

From Engadget: AT&T will cap DSL and U-Verse internet, impose overage fees (update)

From Slashdot : AT&T To Introduce Broadband Caps

1 comment:

The said...

With all the rate increases of late and now are we supposed to accept limits placed on our usage?

“More than 98 percent of DSL users will not experience any change as a result of this updated policy because the current DSL plans offer far more bandwidth than the average person ever uses.”

Might I suggest that IF this is the actual case that 98% of AT&T customers aren't fully utilizing what they are paying for. Many people pay for DSL only to browse the web and send email. Wether this is a good reason to pay for broadband service judge for yourselves. Internet usage will always increase because the of the number of ways the Internet is being used and the number of users and bandwidth requirements are expanding all the time. For those who may not use the Internet much now, would you like the freedom to find new ways to enjoy it in the future? Might I suggest that everyone, especially those in the alleged 98%, use as much of their 150GB that they are paying for as they can before AT&T decides to take more away. AT&T may have some suggestions on how you can use the Internet more here: http://www.att.com/esupport/internet/usage.jsp

“We made this change to help balance demand across our network, as a small group of customers consume as much as 19 households worth of usage. That level of activity can create congestion and affect the service levels for all customers.”

This is nothing more than divide and conquer. Congestion is caused when lots of users are using the service at the same time, not how much they use it. We are all limited as to the speed we are allowed to use. Make no mistake this has nothing to do with the quality of your service but everything to do with saving AT&T money. If AT&T's service is suffering it is because they are over subscribing without upgrading their network. Might I suggest for those who don't have the choice of a better provider that there is no longer any reason to pay for anything more than the minimal service. Even with the lowest tier of service you can still use 150GB per month.

I have also heard that many have called and successfully demanded a lower rate. There may not be a lot we can do as customers of a monopoly but these suggestions may help send AT&T a message.