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AT&T Won't Explain Meter Inaccuracy, Claims Data Proprietary
AT&T U-Verse, DSL Users Still Say Something's Wrong
by Karl Bode 10:21AM Wednesday Nov 14 2012
AT&T broadband users continue to claim there's something not quite right about the way AT&T calculates data usage for their capped DSL and U-Verse users. As Broadband Reports was the first to exclusively report last year, AT&T began imposing 150 GB caps on DSL users and 250 GB caps on U-Verse users -- with $10 per 50 GB overage fees. The move was unpopular due to the fact AT&T's landline network doesn't see much congestion, making the decision cash-hungry and punitive in nature.

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The decision became even less popular after dozens of Broadband Reports readers reported that AT&T's meters aren't accurate. When we asked AT&T about the meter issues last year, the company insisted there was nothing wrong, and that they were more than happy to work with users one on one to correct what the company implied is user error or confusion:
"We're happy to work one-on-one with any of your readers to walk through the measurement tool and address any questions," AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom tells Broadband Reports. "We're already addressing ways we can make the labels and information on the online tool more clear for customers between now and May...I can also assure you our team is performing checks everyday to ensure accuracy."
Apparently problems persist. A user posts over at Slashdot claims he's been tracking his usage ever since he noticed something off about AT&T's meters. When he contacted AT&T to get them to explain their data usage methodology, he was informed AT&T's usage meters are proprietary:
"As many of you know, AT&T has implemented caps on DSL usage. When this was implemented, I started getting emails letting me know my usage as likely to exceed the cap. After consulting their Internet Usage web page, I felt the numbers just weren't right. With the help of Tomato on my router, I started measuring my usage, and ended up with numbers substantially below what AT&T was reporting on a day-to-day basis. Typically around 20-30% less. By the way, this usage is the sum of inbound and outbound. At this point, I decided to contact AT&T support to determine what exactly they were defining as usage, as their web pages never really define it. Boy, did I get a surprise. After several calls, they finally told me they consider the methodology by which they calculate bandwidth usage to be proprietary. Yes, you read that right; it's a secret. They left me with the option to contact their executive offices via snail mail.
That certainly doesn't sound like the help AT&T promised us last year. As we've noted extensively, AT&T's not alone in having a hard time with meter accuracy. ISPs all across America, from Cogeco in Canada to Suddenlink here in the States (who had to suspend their efforts after users complained about being billed when the power was off), have had problems getting their meters to work. Worse perhaps, is that regulators in both the United States and Canada haven't shown the slightest interest in the problem despite the fact that ISPs are billing like utilities, with nobody but the consumer confirming whether their meters are accurate.

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