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AT&T's Still Not Enforcing DSL, U-Verse Usage Caps
Still Clearly Having Problems With Internal Systems
by Karl Bode 02:47PM Monday Jan 23 2012
In March of last year we were the first to exclusively report that AT&T would be imposing caps on DSL (150GB) and U-Verse (250GB) users, with consumer having to pay $10 for every 50GB over the cap they travel. Our leak caught AT&T a little by surprise, as the company wasn't quite ready to announce the plans yet. Our users quickly started reporting that the meters AT&T was using were completely inaccurate, with home routers showing drastically different consumption readouts than AT&T's official website monitoring tool. As of August, AT&T still hadn't figured out how to bill for overages.

Click for full size
Last summer AT&T informed us that the company hadn't started billing users because they were "still providing time for customers to understand and learn about their usage."

We're getting closer to a year since we broke our story about caps and AT&T still isn't enforcing them. Several users tell us their usage has yet to trigger a single warning from AT&T, and at least one user seems intent to push his usage into the terabytes each month and hasn't heard a peep from AT&T. Users aren't complaining, they just find it -- odd.

You can be fairly certain that if a company like AT&T (breathlessly eager to please investors with new usage surcharges) was able to accurately bill users for usage they'd already be doing so. That they're not suggests the company still hasn't quite worked out the back end billing kinks in their systems. We've seen similar problems in Canada where companies like Cogeco have struggled to accurately measure usage. AT&T's at least holding off until their systems work, knowing how touchy this issue is to many U.S. consumers.

AT&T users: have you received any warnings from AT&T? Does your area have a working website usage meter in place?

Update: Some DSL users in select markets say they have started getting charged for overages.

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page: 1 · 2
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1

Caps will not happen.

The 2wire router's are faulty. No way they can deploy internet caps now. They would have to replace every U-Verse modem router. Failed!

djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4

Re: Caps will not happen.

No way they do it by the modem/router. On every other provider who has caps, does it via the network. The modem or router is not used for caps.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

Re: Caps will not happen.

comcast uses the cmta, but identifies the customer by the modems mac address.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
T is moving away from 2Wire and moving to MOT products.

siouxmoux2

@sbcglobal.net
ATT know that there is No Way U-Verse could never Compete on Speed. I hope they never turn on the Data Caps

Rambo76098

join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH

Re: Caps will not happen.

Problem is they don't have anyone to compete with in some markets.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Caps will not happen.

What market? While there may be isolated groups of subscribers that are outside of a cable operator's franchise requirements but are close enough for DSL/UVerse*, I'd wager that it's cable customers who are far, far, far, more likely to have no competitive choice because the incumbent telco hasn't deployed fiber or invested in remote facilities. Far more customers are just too far from the CO to serve vs. not able to get cable.

* - There will always be isolated examples of unlucky customers who are on a municipality's border and the cable company won't run a line to them or wants to charge them a year's worth or mortgage payments to install it.

Anonymous12

@mycingular.net
Its not done by the router its there network....study tech!
amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable

good

Not that I am likely to go much past the 150GB on my 6Mbps plan at the moment, but it's good to know they aren't being jerks about it (yet).

Currently have a 2Wire modem/router in bridge mode anyway since I wanted to use my own router (with Tomato).

sirwoogie
Blah
Premium
join:2002-01-02
Carleton, MI

I beg to differ (Michigan)

I've gotten hit by "Internet Usage" fees of $10 dollars for the past two months. I've called BS on them as while I'm close to the cap on my side (about 140G for the billing period according to the metrics on my DD-WRT router), their side shows about 160-170G. Obviously their inability to account for the ATM PPPoE overhead falls about in-line with that measure (10-20% depending on traffic). Coupled with the fact they don't provision the speed so that I can get "up to" 3Mbps (they sync at 3008/512.... thus I get about 2.5Mbps/420Kbps), they're dinging me on the front AND the back because of the overhead!

I have a case open with them right now to get those fees rescinded and either have the cap removed or moved at least to the Uverse cap (250G) as they don't feel we're fit to be blessed with that deployment (and my usage would stay under it).

We'll see how THAT goes.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

said by sirwoogie:

Coupled with the fact they don't provision the speed so that I can get "up to" 3Mbps (they sync at 3008/512.... thus I get about 2.5Mbps/420Kbps), they're dinging me on the front AND the back because of the overhead!

This was the thing that most angered me with ATT. They advertise "up to" speeds and set it up so that you will never get the top speed. When I had U-Verse 6/1, I would actually get 5.7/.95. With my 15/1 cable internet I get 15.6 (sometimes 16.4!)/1.1. I'm actually getting what I pay for, and then some.

sirwoogie
Blah
Premium
join:2002-01-02
Carleton, MI
Regrettably, I do not have another HSI option. Charter decided to let this little patch of area stay unserved, and no local WISP exists (don't get me started on 3G/4G with their caps). What irritates me is this isn't the sticks, I have a major city in several directions no more than 5 minutes away, and I'm less than 2 minutes from my main town. Yet, I suffer with maximum speeds that I was able to get 14 years ago when I lived a little more urban. Sad story, I know....
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

Your area of Carleton doesn't have FTTH U-Verse??

sirwoogie
Blah
Premium
join:2002-01-02
Carleton, MI

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

Not sure if that was sarcasm or not.

Most of Monroe county doesn't have Uverse.
slckusr
Premium
join:2003-03-17
Greenville, SC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

it wasnt he barks at people without having all the facts.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

Carlton Michigan is Serviced by FTTH from Ameritech/SBC BEFORE the ATT merger.

So sorry that sickusr doesn't know that. I know several people that do have it. Their only options are ATT FTTH or Charter.
sandman_1

join:2011-04-23
11111
I remember when I had Bellsouth DSL 3Mbps. I was only getting maybe 2Mbps or a little more out of my line. I called in and complained and they synced the modem up to the next tier, 6Mbps, and capped the speed at 3Mbps. I was getting every bit of 3Mbps if not a little more. I was actually happy with the Bellsouth service. Then one day AT&T bought them out and I went back to DSL and the same plan. Well wouldn't ya know it, I had similar problems as before so I called in and complained. AT&T happily told me, "Tough f'ing luck. Live with it", basically what the conversation came down to.

sirwoogie
Blah
Premium
join:2002-01-02
Carleton, MI

Re: I beg to differ (Michigan)

Similar conversation. I could sync to about 4.5Mbps and about 1Mbps up according to my line conditions at the 2Wire. I said I'd be willing to pay for the 6/1 tier as long as they provisioned for something like 4Mbps (they don't do uncapped provision, which I get). They refused as then they'd have to support other tiers and they mentioned some nonsense about lawsuits on speed provisioning. Imagine that, I'd be willing to pay for service that I couldn't get at the same rate as if I was... and they turned it down. Yeah, it's peanuts to them, but come on.
ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA

"uncapped" ADSL sync

said by sirwoogie:

I could sync to about 4.5Mbps and about 1Mbps up according to my line conditions at the 2Wire. I said I'd be willing to pay for the 6/1 tier as long as they provisioned for something like 4Mbps (they don't do uncapped provision, which I get). They refused as then they'd have to support other tiers

Been there, done that. And this is where you are doing it wrong. They indeed cannot have every single profile for every single speed, so I can't imagine anyone stepping forward to honour your request as is, as it's already outside of their protocol.

I've had a similar situation with the old Sprint, and "please provision non-standard 4Mbps" will get you absolutely nowhere, guaranteed.

HOWEVER, the good news is, it is almost certain that you could be put onto the 6Mbps profile and automatically sync at 4.5Mbps. NO NEED FOR A 4Mbps PROFILE! It's a tiny detail, but it makes a huge difference to the argument. So, I suggest you forget about "4.5Mbps" part whatsoever, and persist that your line supports higher speeds, and require to speak with some local/whatever provisioning engineer/whomever who could provision your line to 6Mbps. Make sure to tell them you accept all responsibility for line instability. After many attempts, when I finally got this right (as above), it worked great with the old Sprint, and was definitely worth it. In my situation, however, it didn't involve the billing department (long story; basically, faster speeds were already cheaper and billing upgrade was no-questions-asked), but I think it's still worth a try even in your case where both billing and engineering would have to be involved at the same time.

sirwoogie
Blah
Premium
join:2002-01-02
Carleton, MI

Re: "uncapped" ADSL sync

I took the exact route you suggest as well. Again, they referenced that some "legal action" was taken that prevents them from doing a 6Mbps profile with a line that is shown not able to do so. I argued that going with the profile doesn't make a special one, and that I still fall in the "up to" language for delivered speed (I'm above the minimum and I'm not near the maximum). I did this with two different engineers in the higher level escalation and they both gave me the same answer. Sales obviously only cared what the tech guys stated.

I may drop a note in the direct form to see if I can get anywhere that way.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: "uncapped" ADSL sync

and if you're line wasn't able to sync at 6megs or more and got sub-lower speeds you'd be on the phone with ATT bitching about lower speeds.
MTU
Premium
join:2005-02-15
San Luis Obispo, CA

CAPS

SOP. Draw a line and 98% will never cross it. Paranoia, guilt etc.
When I was told by At&t that they were monitoring my snail-like DSL I immediately hunted for some way of tracking my own usage (actually bought a new router for that purpose), lest I offend the mighty machine.

We've been we'll trained by our overlords.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

Typical ATT

ATT royally screwed up (at least in my case) when they announced usage caps. It enabled me to convince my wife to make a change. I ended up going with WOW for uncapped internet and phone and I'm currently paying $10 less per month for 15/1 internet and advanced phone compared to what I was paying for U-Verse's 6/1 internet and unlimited phone. I've only gone over 250gb once since I left last May (although I'm usually in the 230/240 gb range). My kids and I couldn't resist the holiday dl game sales last month.

Boricua
Premium
join:2002-01-26
Sacramuerto

Gigs..

I've been downloading gigs of data each month and haven't heard not one peep. Each time someone brings me their laptop/desktop for repairs, I have to get online and find the OS to that machine and their drivers. On top of that, I have Winamp playing 24/7 The Edge 101 (one of fave station). That is not including one roommate downloading whatever he's downloading and my other roommate "addicted" to You Tube videos.
--
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. Robert Orben

OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH

Re: Gigs..

Hell, I was re-dl every month my iTunes TV shows (Thanks iCloud!) on purpose to excede the cap by 2 or 3 times, even on 6meg DSL and still herd nothing. Though I did discover how crappy the router/modem combos they have are whe you "stress" the line like that.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Pathetic

While I understand to a point some sort of caps on wireless use, though I don't like the caps they've set which are set way too low in order to make money, not for a legitimate network management, which probably could be better handled with throttling.

But on wireline internet access their is simply no need for caps, wireline internet is not as limited of the resource as spectrum is and their are very simple things they can do to ensure everyone gets good speeds, spliting nodes throttling very heavy users based on network congestion (not as a purely punitive measure for using a lot of bandwidth). Bandwidth is getting cheaper not more expensive.
it's just a money grab and an excuse to put off network investment.

Shadow01
Premium
join:2003-10-24
Wasteland

1 recommendation

Re: Pathetic

said by MovieLover76:

While I understand to a point some sort of caps on wireless use, though I don't like the caps they've set which are set way too low in order to make money, not for a legitimate network management, which probably could be better handled with throttling.

But on wireline internet access their is simply no need for caps, wireline internet is not as limited of the resource as spectrum is and their are very simple things they can do to ensure everyone gets good speeds, spliting nodes throttling very heavy users based on network congestion (not as a purely punitive measure for using a lot of bandwidth). Bandwidth is getting cheaper not more expensive.
it's just a money grab and an excuse to put off network investment.

... and until customers are willing to discontinue services from these ISPs, they will continue to charge what the market will pay. It is not about choice, it is about being willing to say no and shut off services until the market changes its pricing. No one will die from not having internet. Shut off the service and wait for the pricing to change. The issue is that no one is willing to be inconvenienced by not having internet at their finger tips.
--
»the53.tumblr.com/
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
well on cable Nodes can be over loaded

OneEye

join:2006-04-15
Peachtree City, GA

Which W. Routers have Data Counters?

Need Information.

Which Wireless Routers have data download counters that an end user can monitor to keep AT&T honest when they try to implement Caps?
MTU
Premium
join:2005-02-15
San Luis Obispo, CA

Re: Which W. Routers have Data Counters?

Most stock Netgear routers can be set to track usage based upon your settings. I believe that some Cisco do as well. If you're comfortable with setting up a router with DD-WRT software, that allows tracking usage.

Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

Inaccurate

The first month that the supposed "caps" were in place, AT&T measured my usage at approximately half of my actual usage (according to Tomato).

I checked the week-by-week breakdown to double-check this, as I was very surprised by such a massive discrepancy, even though (this time!) it was in my favour.

The last couple of months it has gotten much closer to what my actual usage is, though it is still not completely accurate.

If any company intends to use a cap then they should be subject to state weights and measurements regulations. How do I know that AT&T's measurements are correct? In my case they clearly have not been, and they want to extort money from me based on this faulty premise.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.gaffonline.com
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Pathetic

Even though it's good for users, it's pathetic from a technical standpoint. But what else should we expect from a company that has very little FTTH, and tries to compete with cable and satellite with a pixelated service that can only support a few streams at a time.

Anyone who has a choice should be on cable, these guys just don't know what they're doing.
chgo_man99

join:2010-01-01
San Jose, CA

I have u-verse in Illinois

and so far I see no meter usage when I log in to my account

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO

I'm not as certain about Karl's speculation

You can be fairly certain that if a company like AT&T (breathlessly eager to please investors with new usage surcharges) was able to accurately bill users for usage they'd already be doing so.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if AT&T were holding off on U-verse caps for strategic reasons. They stand to lose a lot more revenue if caps cause a triple play TV customer to defect. For the time being, the second largest cable ISP offers unlimited access. Time Warner's tail is still between its legs after its previous attempt at instituting caps.

--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.

ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·AT&T Midwest
·Time Warner Cable

Re: I'm not as certain about Karl's speculation

said by djrobx:

I wouldn't be surprised at all if AT&T were holding off on U-verse caps for strategic reasons.

I moved to UVerse soon after the cap was announced. I probably would not have moved otherwise. It is plausible that they figured they could scare some people (like me) off ADSL this way, and get others to reduce usage so they could delay backhaul upgrades on old ADSL equipment that they want to retire. I would love to see their numbers.
--
USNG:
16TDN2870
Find your USNG coordinates:
USNGWeb
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT

Meters

The meter never worked for me when I had U-Verse. It just said that the meter wasn't ready yet.

I canceled U-Verse anyway, and made sure to tell them why. They tried to convince me that the caps were just for DSL, that I shouldn't worry because most people never go over them, etc. I still canceled and switched to Cablevision and now have a much faster speed.

Reno7
Premium
join:2008-10-26
Keller, TX

Not True - I've been billed twice for going over

This story is false.

(Fort Worth, TX - DSL) -- I've been charged twice now for going over. One time (lol) I got to 413GB and my bill was something like $60 or $70 more than normal.

•••
Rekrul

join:2007-04-21
Milford, CT

Had a visit from U-Verse sales today...

My doorbell rang out of the blue today and it was two guys selling U-Verse door to door. I told them that I used to have U-Verse and when they asked why I dropped it, I told them it was because of the planned caps. They had no idea what I was talking about and said that they'd never heard anything about U-Verse having a usage cap.

They also couldn't offer me anything above 24mbs or at a price that was cheaper than I currently pay for Cablevision. (promotional price)

B__B

@nctv.com

Billed for extra use 3 straight months....

I was receiving the "Sorry, you've gone over your limit" messages on our 6 MB DSL before, sometimes days before, I would get the "You are approaching your usage cap" message. The last month I got 3 "We will provide you an additional blah blah...." for a charge of course. This was during the time we were going through the speed drops and outages after midnight EVERY NIGHT. Decided it was time to change, went with northland cable. Same 6 MB, $25.00 cheaper, no outages and 3 weeks after changing Northland upped their top tier to 12MB for $20 more. Bottom line better speed, no caps and less per month! Bellsouth was a good company, AT&T could'nt care less about the end user.
rbucy

join:2007-02-03
The Colony, TX

They See the Future

They are preparing for when the likes of AppleTV/GoogleTV/... (aka. subscription based TV) takes root. Trust me once that model becomes popular; AT&T will be ready to implement their caps.
fathamburger

join:2010-07-16
North York, ON

Increased public pressure and international scrutiny?

I would say it's because the more they try and cap us, the more we'll investigate their activities and shed light at an international level on it (which is one of the things my foundation, www.worldbroadbandfoundation.org) aims to do. Also events such as regulators ruling that per byte billing is NOT the right measure for network planning and costs.

»www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-703.htm
CRTC ruled (Article 43) "Commission considers that a capacity-based model is more consistent than a volume-based model with respect to how the network providers plan and build their own networks and estimate their usage costs."

They arent turning them on all at once because they probably want to do it slow and avoid mass public outcry until all markets have eventually been taken over. Plus regulator action in Canada and other countries would already give them weaker footing to impose this. However sites like DSLReports, StopTheCap and (as we grow) ours are going to start informing the public to a greater level.

Bottom line, If they decide to cap they have moved far away enough from providing service we actually want and use, and that's more than enough reason for us to roll out our own fiber. Keep us happy and we'll just put it off, when it becomes more effective for communities to do it themselves than to pay the companies for service (and allow them to continue to recoup investment) then that's exactly what will happen

fcmem

@rr.com

Yes they are enforcing, at least for regular DSL

I was unaware of the caps until NOV last year when I got a snail mail letter saying i'd went over 3 times and next time I'd have to pay.

Thats when I became aware of it all.

I switched to roadrunner which is cheaper (at least for a year) and faster (although not always)

I can post a scan of the letter if no one believes me but in columbus ohio they are indeed enforcing the cap.

I was a ATT DSL customer for 7 years, and while the service was rock solid if not a bit slow, the customer service however was absolutely horrible.
EricPost7

join:2009-08-30
Chicago, IL

I've been billed

It's spotty whether they enforce it. I went over by 1gb (151gb) in August of 2011 and got billed $10. Then I went over by 10gb in January and to a warning, but I got a note saying it would be waived.

This month I got a warning and a waiver, but I swear I don't know what is going on. It says one day I downloaded 60gb. That isn't even possible on my DSL. So I know the daily usage is not measured in real time.

So I don't know what it's about. I am in Chicago