On Monday, AT&T will begin restricting more than 16 million broadband users based on the amount of data they use in a month.
This means that a majority of U.S. broadband users will now be subject to limits on how much they can do online. You can do more, but it’ll cost you – and how!
“AT&T's new limits - 150 GB for DSL subscribers and 250 GB for UVerse users (a mix of fiber and DSL) - come as users are increasingly turning to online video such as Hulu and Netflix on-demand streaming service instead of paying for cable.” – Ryan Single http://www.wired.com/
AT&T joins Comcast and numerous small ISPs in putting a price on a fixed amount of internet usage. Your “Unlimited” plans have gone the way of “dial up” which prevented the growth of the Internet to what it is today.
Now they’ve got you by the short and curlies, let’s see you give anything up. Canada just went through this. Stephen Harper (a fine man and Canada’s PM) put a stop to it there, but at a price: Netflix’s quality has dropped severely.
“Comcast's limit, put into place after it got caught secretly throttling peer-to-peer traffic, is 250 GB - which the company says less than 99 percent of users hit. AT&T plans to charge users an extra $10 per month if they cross the cap, a fee that recurs for each 50 GBs a user goes over the cap. And while 150 GB and 250 GB per month might seem like a lot, if you have a household with kids or roommates, it's not too difficult to approach those limits using today's services, even without heavy BitTorrent usage.” – Ibid
For those not accustomed to calculating their bandwidth usage, video streaming and online gaming use much more bandwidth than web browsing or e-mailing. For instance, Netflix ranges from .3 GB per hour to 1.0 for normal resolution movies and up to 2.3 GB per hour for HD content.
“It should noted that U.S. limits are far from the world's worst: Canada's recently imposed restrictions prompted Netflix to give customers there a choice of lower-quality streams to keep their usage down, because users are charged up to $5 per GB that they exceed their cap. Caps are also worse in Australia.” - Ibid
Hello! Reality check ISP’s:
“It's not about the cost of data – bandwidth costs are extremely low and keep falling. Time Warner Cable brought in $1.13 billion in revenue from broadband customers in the first three months of 2011, while spending only $36 million for bandwidth - a mere 3 percent of the revenue. Time Warner Cable doesn't currently impose bandwidth caps or metering on its customers - though they have reserved the right to do so - after the company's disastrous trial of absurdly low limits in 2009 sparked an immediate backlash from customers and from D.C. politicians.”
What’s it really about? It’s about competition. The ISP’s want to sell you movies, games and video. So do Netflix and other third parties like Hulu. The ISP’s would rather have you spending money on their video services. In other words, they want all the marbles.
So what’s the problem? Instead of laying more pipe, the ISP’s want profit for nothing and to squeeze out the competition by causing the quality of the video to drop seriously if they want to stay in the market. Once that happens, guess what the ISP’s ads will say? “Why pay more for quality like this?”.
As new users are added, the problem will only worsen, and you’ll pay more for even less.
The only solution is to lay more pipe. But that would keep things as they are and the ISP’s would get to Utility Company rates instead of reaping the HUGE profits they do from their fiefdoms. As if Utilities are cheap.
“Indeed, the question of who gets to write the rules about the internet's pipes is the major bone of contention in the net neutrality debate, both for terrestrial and mobile data networks. When the new net neutrality rules go into effect, ISPs won't be able to block their online video competition, but there's no rule against doing that with bandwidth caps or tiered usage pricing.” – Ibid
What sucks the most? It’s about meeting Wall Street’s profit growth expectations, not in making things affordable and reasonable. Screw that (and us).
This greed is also detrimental to getting to and keeping first place in economic, scientific, technological, educational and every other growth you can name.
It throttles the “natural resources” needed to build and encourage the growth. For that reason, if not for your own pocketbook you should be on your feet screaming. BTW – more pipe means more jobs locally to lay the pipe.
This just goes to show, yet again, what's good for Wall Street often doesn't translate into what's good for Main Street.