AT&T to Impose Metered Billing for Wired Broadband Subs

AT&T confirmed this morning that beginning in May it will impose metered billing on all traditional DSL and U-verse broadband subscribers.

AT&T will start sending letters to users that it will place a 150 GB usage cap on DSL services and a 250 GB cap on U-verse services. AT&T also plans to charge overages for users who exceed the new usage cap three times during the life of their account. Overages will be $10 for every 50 GB over the respective limit.

With this new initiative AT&T is targeting what it considers consistently heavy users. AT&T states that its average DSL customer uses around 18 GB a month and, as a result, these changes will only impact about 2% of all DSL customers who consume “a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.” 

Similar to its new wireless data plans, AT&T plans to proactively notify customers when they exceed 65%, 90% and 100% of the monthly usage allowance. The service provider also plans to offer a variety of subscriber tools, including a usage monitor that tracks historical usage over time.

This is not AT&T’s first foray into the metered billing world. You might remember that AT&T initially tested the concept back in November 2008 in Reno, Nev., and Beaumont, Texas. The company provided its DSL subscribers with data consumption limits and charged them extra if they exceed the maximum cap. The trials involved caps ranging from 20 GB to 150 GB, and per gigabyte overages up to $1 per gigabyte. At the time metered billing was widely unpopular and AT&T was criticized for imposing relatively low caps which affected a great proportion of its subscribers. The trials were discontinued in April 2010.

For more, see this post at Broadband Reports.

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2 Responses to “AT&T to Impose Metered Billing for Wired Broadband Subs”
  1. K says:

    In my opinion, it’s about time. Name me another utility that doesn’t charge based on usage? We used to have a portion of that when we had Long Distance and settlements/access, but we all know where that is going. If the telco gets squeezed out of the landline business, and video is all streaming over the internet, what is left for revenue? We all know that the $20 – $50 brought in for broadband service won’t fully cover the cost of having that line run to the home- especially in rural America. We need to be able to meter, or alternately, have those that are benefiting from the network help pay for it.

    • C says:

      Name another utility that doesn’t charge based on usage? Ok. My cellphone, and satellite TV.