dslreports logo

story category
AT&T Threatening Overages Without Providing Meters?
Cap and Overage Effort a Rather Sloppy Affair
by Karl Bode 02:28PM Monday Jul 09 2012
Last year we were the very first to report AT&T was planing to apply caps and overages to their U-Verse and DSL services. More than a year later and the effort appears to still be a rather ham-fisted affair. AT&T caps on DSL and U-Verse users were supposed to officially go live on May 1 of 2011, with DSL users facing a 150GB monthly cap, and U-Verse users facing a 250GB monthly cap (both paying $10 per each additional 50GB consumed). At the time, AT&T confirmed that not all customers had access to the meters, though the company was never clear on when all users would see the option.

More than a year later and many users say they aren't seeing any meters, and many of those who do continue to insist that the meters don't accurately track usage. At one point one user was informed AT&T had had trouble accurately tracking U-Verse usage, something AT&T denied to us when asked. Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM notes that AT&T continues to warn users about using too much data and threaten overage fees -- while at the same time failing to provide a meter to track usage. AT&T gave Higginbotham this statement in response to their no-show meters:
All customers will hear from us early and often if they are close to exceeding their data plan. Before a customer’s usage surpasses his or her data plan and an additional charge is applied, we send that customer an alert when they reach 65, 90 and 100 percent of their monthly data plan. And we offer two billing grace periods.

The majority of our customers have access to the tool today and we continue to deploy the needed technology to make the measurement tool even more widely available.
We'll not once again for the record that no regulator in North America has deemed it important enough to ensure that carriers are measuring usage accurately (as a result, many aren't). AT&T customers: have you been billed for overages yet? Do you have a meter? If so, is it accurate?

54 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments


East Amherst, NY

4 recommendations

reply to morbo

Re: Monopoly style greed

I question the need for a meter. What exactly are you charging for? The infrastructure is a fixed cost so any utilization under 97% is inefficient. Not to mention that meters has nothing to do with congestion (a supposed reason) or traffic control.

Most people don't even know that AT&T makes money TODAY from netflix. For instance Netflix owns their own global CDN platform, and they house servers/proxies in AT&T datacenters for which they PAY for. In addition they pay for the transit to ingest that data (via their CDN) into said AT&T datacenters, so in effect AT&T transit cost for said content is already ZERO--they are actually paying for the benefit, meaning once the content is in their networks it costs them NILL, ZERO to deliver it to you.

So now that they already charge Netflix to get your data and it costs them nothing to deliver it sans a small infrastructure cost of say $3-$4 per month, and that any network under 97% utilization is inefficient, why exactly are we even talking about meters?

This is the biggest fleecing of American's yet and everyone is arguing about "accurate" meters like a free byte on a pipe is something that actually costs money to provide. Ok maybe its a billionth of a cent, but it's not tied to the byte, its tied to the traffic utilization and management.

People this is not water, electricity, gas. Nobody has to drill it, refine it, or put chlorine in it. And a network pipe that is not being fully used is being WASTED not PRESERVED like an actual utility.