AT&T announced that it will impose a limit on monthly internet use ("fair use") for DSL and U-Verse Internet customers. This means that AT&T will implement usage caps just like those of broadband cable and satellite internet providers. The limits will begin May 2.
In the past few years, DSL internet speeds have jumped from a maximum of 1.5 Mbps to 6 Mbps. The increase in speed along with the demand to stream and download high definition movies has resulted in a huge jump in internet bandwidth usage.
The monthly limit for AT&T's DSL internet will be 150 gigabytes of data. If a customer exceeds the 150 gigabytes limit more than twice, he will be charged $10 for every 50 gigabytes surpassing the limit, beginning with the third infraction. It seems this AT&T understands that it may take some adjustment for some users to get used to streaming and downloading less from the internet.
For U-verse customers, the limit will be 250 gigabytes per month. While this may seem like a big allowance, streaming high definition movies, hours of music, uploading and downloading photos begin to add up — see what you can do with 150 gigabytes.
To put this into perspective, cable broadband internet providers have been limiting monthly usage to 100 gigabytes with a 150 gigabyte limit for premium users. Their overage fees are often $1 to $1.50 per gigabyte over the 150 GB limit. AT&T's excess fee is a great deal by comparison. Satellite internet provider limits are considerably lower.
Also, according to an AT&T representative, AT&T DSL High Speed Internet Direct Elite service tops out at 6 Mbps and costs $24.95 for the first year and $45 thereafter. Compare that price to cable broadband service that may have speeds up to 60 Mbps and cost almost $100 per month. Both have the same limits. The DSL service is still a bargain and doesn't lend itself to massive downloading habits. U-verse customers can get up to 18 Mbps and its limit is 250 gigabytes. This is still a good deal.
What's more, according to a story by Broadband Reports:
"AT&T claims their average DSL customer uses around 18GB a month, and these changes will only impact about 2% of all DSL customers — who the company states consume a 'disproportionate amount of bandwidth.'"
Similar to wireless usage notifications, AT&T will let customers know when they exceed 65%, 90% and 100% of their monthly usage allowance.
We can only hope that as internet speeds continue to increase and we begin to stream 3D movies, that AT&T, cable and satellite providers will adjust the limits to accommodate the demand for internet use.