Well, isn't this a bummer. AT&T isn't just changing up their data plans on the mobile side, but also restructuring things on the home Internet side. AT&T currently provides DSL
and U-verse services, providing high-speed broadband to a great many homes across America. But soon, they'll follow Comcast down the dark hallways of Internet capping. It seems to signal a shift into a new reality, one where people are thrown the "unlimited" label less and less. According to a breaking report from DSLReports (and confirmed by The Wall Street Journal
), May 2nd will mark the day that AT&T turns on broadband capping.
The story goes as such: DSL customers will be facing a 150GB monthly usage cap, with an extra $10 fee applying to every additional 10GB you consume. As for U-verse customers, they'll have a 250GB cap (the same as Comcast's high-speed users). AT&T seems to be assuring people that this change is for everyone's greater good. Or in their words, to better promise a good user experience. By placing limits on usage, it will likely make heavy users think twice before consuming bandwidth that they may not necessarily need. It probably won't go over well with users, but that's the way it'll be. Consumers could always switch carriers if it makes a big difference in their lives.
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, had this to say: "We are committed to providing a great experience for all of our Internet customers." Easy for him to say. On the bright side, AT&T will not be leaving consumers in the dark when it comes to these changes. According to the WSJ: "
AT&T said that it would alert customers multiple times if they are near or exceeding the limit, including proactive notifications when a customer hits 65%, 90% and 100% of their monthly allowance. Similar to its wireless service, the carrier would provide tools to allow customers to check on their usage. The carrier said that less than 2% of its customer base would be affected by the policy. The company plans to send notification of the change later this week."
There looks to be no going back from this as far as AT&T is concerned, and now the real question is whether or not other carriers follow suit, or stand up like Sprint and promise to keep the "unlimited" in unlimited.