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Coffee Talk #348: Internet Bandwidth Caps Revisited


Posted on May 9th, by raymond padilla in Coffee Talk, Geek Stuff, Today's Specials. 15 comments

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, “Sugar” Shane Mosley running away from the smaller Manny Pacquiao, Phil Jackson’s future, or the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As I mentioned in March, AT&T has started bandwidth caps for its DSL and U-Verse Internet services. DSL customers are now capped at 150GB per month, while U-Verse customers are now capped at 250GB per month. The typical (BS) reasons of “network management” and “avoiding congestion” were the reasons given for the caps. The reality is that AT&T will make money from overage fees. Conveniently, the caps also help protect the company’s U-Verse television service from Internet streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.

On the cable side, Comcast remains capped at 250GB per month — you know, the cap that it introduced in 2008. Internet use has only gotten heavier since then, with streaming video and downloadable games really taking off over the last few years. Meanwhile the cap remains the same. Certainly Comcast has improved its network capacity, throughput, and efficiency, but for some reason it hasn’t increased its cap.

If you’re an AT&T or Comcast customer then you should be pissed off by these bogus practices. If you’re not, you should be pissed off by the trend. Bandwidth caps stifle innovation in Internet services. If you like being able to download a full Xbox 360 game as an impulse purchase or want to maximize the value of your Netflix subscription then you should act. Write your Internet service provider and your congressman about AT&T’s caps (pure money grab) and Comcast’s laziness. Let’s start of Monday with some righteous anger and kick this week’s ass!!!





  • smartguy

    So ATT admits their network is crap since it has a cap lower than what a cable system did 3 years ago and has since upgraded. Shenanigans.

  • Big Blak

    250gb seems like a lot of bandwidth per month, but I have no idea what it takes to stream a movie, play online, web surf, etc.

    • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

      HD streaming is the biggest hit out of your activities. A two-hour movie is a bit above 3.5GB. Web surfing and online play isn't that much. If you download a lot of digital goods or torrent things then your usage will be higher.

      • N8R

        It would really constrict seeding the torrents. However… 150 GB in a month is still like 40 movies, 100 albums, and a game or 2. That could get most privateers by in a month.

  • N8R

    So… is that 250 down, or 250 up and down combined?

    • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

      It's combined.

      • N8R

        Ok… that blows… REALLY hard.

        On the piracy side, I could see it slowing down the seeders, but the leechers will still flourish.

        • smartguy

          They aren't concerned with piracy. In fact you could argue that piracy pushes users to adopt the higher tiers which in turn brings in more revenues. The issue with ATT is that the UVerse is now a competitor to internet video. UVerse TV and Internet bundle is quite expensive and laughable when you get their flyers saying "blazing speeds up to 3mbps!".

          This is all about propping up an antiquated business model that ATT is getting in to pretty late. It's amazing how their HD feeds (which you pay for otherwise you get SD over an advanced service) that travel through the same VRADS and nodes do not count toward the cap yet iTunes rentals, Netflix, Amazon streaming and everything else will. Back to AOL walled garden.

          • N8R

            DAMN!!!

            That's shady as hell. It sounds a bit like pimpin' to me.

            Making you pay them for a service somebody else provides.

            • smartguy

              haha. that makes me want to watch Southpark now.

              "that's gay as hell" haha.

          • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

            That's definitely part of the issue, but the one that affects more AT&T customers is the DSL cap. That's just a pure money grab.

            • smartguy

              Yep. It's a way to funnel them towards UVerse and the cap is ridiculously low by today's standards.

              • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

                That's partially true. AT&T's DSL footprint is still much larger than its U-Verse footprint. The money grab is the overage fees. They're completely bogus, especially for users in markets where there aren't many Internet choices.

                • smartguy

                  UVerse is available in most of the DSL footprint here but it doesn't compare well to crappy Charter. That's saying a lot!!

                  I don't see why a 3mbps connection on a UVerse account gets more cap space than a 3mbps DSL account. Both are closed loops and aren't subject to congestion. If there is congestion it's in the ATT backbone past the CO. That's ATT's fault and a cap won't ease the strain during peak times lol

  • bsukenyan

    I think knowing where the cap is would mean more if everyone knew how much they actually used already, and how much it uses to do different activities. Still though, I don't like the idea of a cap on anything I do.