An anonymous poster to our CenturyLink forums
claims the company is preparing to impose usage caps on their DSL customers. According to a supposed memo posted by the user
, the company is changing its terms of service to reflect the fact they will be putting a 150 GB cap on users with connections 1.5 Mbps or slower, and a 250 GB cap on users who have connections faster than 1.5 Mbps. While the user posted a memo claiming the TOS language is being changed this week, a page on the CenturyLink website
(and this pdf FAQ
) confirms the changes but states the actual caps won't be imposed until February.
According to the CenturyLink website, the caps won't be accompanied by the kind of per byte overages imposed by companies like AT&T
-- at least for now. The company says that those who violate their cap will receive an e-mail, call or in-browser web message informing them they've crossed the cap, and advising them to upgrade to a faster residential or business-class tier.
"CenturyLink will weigh variables such as network health, congestion, availability of customer usage data, and the line speed purchased by the customer as factors when enforcing this policy," says the company -- adding that their EUP is "application neutral." "It only looks at the total usage (bytes transferred) over a defined period of time independent of protocols, applications, or the content that is generating the excessive usage," says CenturyLink.
General reaction in our forums is not particularly positive
, with many users already paying a considerable amount of money for slow DSL -- now made even less attractive by usage limits. CenturyLink says they'll push users toward higher speeds if they cross the cap -- yet the company isn't capable of offering service any faster than 1.5 - 3 Mbps to many users. CenturyLink, which offers an IPTV platform that could benefit from such a heavy internet video deterrent, says that users that repeatedly cross the cap may have their service disconnected.
On the bright side -- if there is one -- this may be a slight improvement for Qwest users recently acquired by CenturyLink. As we've explored previously
, Qwest had a history of kicking users off of the network for "excessive usage," without bothering to clearly tell customers precisely how much usage would bring down the hammer.