Posted by Darcy Pierce on April 4th, 2011
Many of those who have AT&T’s residential DSL High Speed Internet have probably already heard the news that AT&T is putting a monthly usage cap on their broadband service. The average AT&T customer will not be affected by this. In fact, only the top 2% of users may be affected. Interestingly though, this group of customers use about 20% of the totally capacity of the network.
According to AT&T their average customer uses only 18 GB per month. This means that 150 or 250 GB is more than enough for 98% of customers. However, if you are in the 2%, you will be charged $10 for every 50 GB over your usage allowance. AT&T is being courteous though, giving users a grace period of 2 months to change their usage habits, and then subsequently will begin to charge overage fees.
Although we understand why internet providers like AT&T and Comcast have a cap on their broadband services, we can’t help thinking about who might be included in the top 2% and how their communication and business habits might be affected. Being that we are Social Media Specialists, we sympathize greatly with the large amount of social media consultants and contractors that work out of their homes. Since going over your usage relates greatly to how much you upload and download various content, we feel that any social media contractor, or any individual working out of their home may be affected by this.
On the non-business side, others who may be affected are those who do not have cable television and instead stream all of their movies and regular TV shows from the internet. Some groups of college students may be affected as well, such as film production and photography students who may frequently upload and download large files.
Another issue that could arise with this new usage cap is the increased importance of network security. Although most people already have their wireless networks password protected, there is now an added risk if they do get hacked with the addition of overage charges.
Internet usage caps like the ones we just described can also have an influence on less obvious areas. GigaOm, who posted a similar article about the issue, expresses how caps like these may potentially hinder innovation.
Here is a chart provided by AT&T that breaks down what you can get out of you allowed monthly usage.
What are your thought on broadband usage caps?