I received a tiny note from AT&T about changes to the terms in service. Normally I never pay attention. However, this notice specifically called out DSL service, not just phone. That caught my attention.
I had to click through about three pages, enter my area code and prefix and then some other click to finally find the page. I am linking the new AT&T Broadband Usage FAQ article here for easy reference.
They are establishing monthly caps for maximum downloads. Not speeds, that is per package. But the amount of data you may download monthly without penalty.
Are there any usage limits for my broadband service?
Yes. As of May 2, 2011, AT&T’s residential DSL High Speed Internet plans will have a usage allowance of 150 Gigabytes (“GB”) per month, and its residential U-verse High Speed Internet plans will have a usage allowance of 250 Gigabytes (“GB”) per month. The usage allowance is the amount of data you can send and receive each month.
Why is AT&T implementing a usage allowance?
AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network.
So in essence, you have a few weeks before the new rules go in effect. I like the idea of tier data usage charges based on that magic 2% of people.
AT&T has launched a new site MyUsage.Att.com that allows you to go and see your usage before penalties or notices. This will become important is you strream or download a lot of content.
If your usage does not show on the site then you are not in danger of breaking the limits, according to the FAQ. But the listed charges appear to be:
continue your normal usage patterns and pay $10 for each additional 50 GB of data over your monthly allowance
So for my 2% of heavy users on AT&T, I would bookmark that MyUsage site and check for a while, mainly as usage increases.