Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

AT&T confirms plan to begin broadband data caps

AT&T broadband customers will soon be charged a fee if they go over a new limit for data usage.

March 14, 2011|By Wailin Wong

AT&T Inc. confirmed that starting May 2 it will impose a monthly data cap of 150 gigabytes on users of its DSL broadband service. Subscribers to its U-Verse service get 250 gigabytes a month. Consumers who go over this limit three times will be charged $10 for every 50 additional gigabytes of usage.

The new data caps represent the latest move by an industry grappling with unabated and significant increases in bandwidth usage, fueled by online video consumption. According to the latest data from the Nielsen Co., U.S. viewers spent nearly 45% more time watching online videos in January than in the same month a year earlier.

AT&T, like other service providers that have experimented with or imposed data caps, emphasized that less than 2% of its Internet customer base, or "those who are using a disproportionate amount of bandwidth," would be affected. The vast majority of subscribers won't come close to 150 gigabytes per month with typical e-mailing, Web surfing and casual video watching.

But the growth trends are concerning. An October report by Sandvine, a Canadian technology company that helps service providers manage their networks, said that Netflix streaming accounts for more than 20% of downstream traffic in the U.S. during peak hours. Wireline companies want to avoid the same network congestion issues that took mobile phone operators by surprise after the introduction of Apple's iPhone.

wawong@tribune.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|