Home » AT&T »Editorial & Site News »Internet Overcharging »Wireless Broadband » Currently Reading:

AT&T Exempts Its Own MicroCell Product From DSL/U-verse Usage Cap; Everything Else Counts

Phillip Dampier January 14, 2013 AT&T, Editorial & Site News, Internet Overcharging, Wireless Broadband 1 Comment
AT&T 3G MicroCell

AT&T 3G MicroCell

One of the core principles of Net Neutrality is that all Internet traffic is treated equally — nothing favored, nothing penalized.

AT&T does not seem interested in following that principle, as our regular reader James found out when reviewing the terms and conditions of AT&T’s Internet Overcharging scheme that limits DSL customers to 150GB of usage per month and 250GB for U-verse customers.

AT&T Wireless customers with the company’s 3G MicroCell that covers for AT&T’s network shortcomings are given special treatment if they also subscribe to the company’s wired broadband services: use of the MicroCell is exempt from the wired usage cap.

The MicroCell creates a mini “cell-tower” within the home for wireless devices that do not receive adequate indoor reception, powered by your home or office broadband connection. Customers with smartphones or other wireless devices can use the MicroCell to browse web pages, use apps, make and receive calls, or send and receive text messages without ever worrying about exceeding their DSL or U-verse broadband usage allowance. Want to access that content on your home computer? That does count against your cap.

“So data from another AT&T service which is sent over the same Internet connection as any other data traffic is excluded from the cap?  That sounds like a clear Net Neutrality violation to me,” says James.

att_logoFrom AT&T’s own FAQ:

“I have an AT&T 3G MicroCell. Since that utilizes my home broadband network to boost my wireless data signal, does that mean my wireless usage also counts against my wired broadband monthly data plan?

No, the wireless traffic from your AT&T 3G MicroCell does not count toward your monthly home broadband plan. Please register your AT&T 3G MicroCell account and your residential AT&T Internet account at www.att.com/internet-usage-MicroCell to help ensure accurate Internet usage billing. If you have broadband service with another provider, you do not need to register your account.”

The usage cap “free pass” does not extend to your wireless service plan, however. Despite using your home broadband connection, the use of the MicroCell still consumes monthly plan minutes and megabytes, unless you purchase extra add-ons. AT&T would argue it already charged you for your wireless usage, so it would not be fair to charge you again through your home broadband plan. But if you are not an AT&T broadband customer, that is exactly what happens if your local cable operator also has usage billing.

AT&T’s logic for implementing usage caps in the first place:

AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network. A single high-traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network.

Customers that blow through their allowance receive one warning and then a higher bill: a $10 overlimit penalty will apply and extends your usage allowance by 50GB. AT&T’s cost per gigabyte is estimated to be in the pennies.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. Elfonblog says:

    Yep, they’re already quite capable of exempting traffic that stays on-network… as long as it’s only their TV and phone services. If I happen to bittorrent only to other ATT customers, I still get billed for the shizzle.

    My brain is also having fun with the careful wording of ATT’s usage cap pretense. After dealing with the manipulative and sketchy wi-fi company called Fon for several years (which I used to blog about as a fan), I simply cannot look at such a block of corporate purring and be sure that those words mean the same thing to them that they do to me.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Required: It's hard to believe people who just need entry level internet access are willing to pay $65/mo for that, alone. No wonder so many customers are fleei...
  • FredH: I keep hearing that (about trying to eliminate the 7 year no-data-cap requirement) and wonder how it's even possible. I hope the NYS AG will get invo...
  • John: It might be a problem with a person with disablities tries to pay and they charge them....
  • John: Well, time for everyone to start paying them by snail mail, then....
  • Mike D.: And for those who are planning to "cut the cord" after a promotion expires, be aware that Charter is lobbying the new administration and FCC chairman ...
  • Dylan: Huh, that's interesting regarding that Spectrum only saves 3/10 of its customers. Maybe there is something going on. And regarding my own promotion -...
  • Phillip Dampier: You were not on a promotion before which is why you got one this time. One year from now when your bill spikes and you call and complain, they will te...
  • Dylan: It's not that hard to get new customer pricing from Spectrum. I used to be a TWC customer paying $65/mo for 50 Mbps down internet. Once Spectrum came...
  • NM: Phillip, You may be interested in today's online story in Syracuse.com about what Spectrum's customers in CNY think about the merged company: http://...
  • Jim J: Dial tone is dial tone....
  • Julia: Even in life after TWC, if customer complaints remain the same or if a customer service rep claimed to have fixed a problem, but really didn't, you ca...
  • DPNY: As soon as Spectrum took over, my bill went up (a couple of dollars, but still)! I pay almost $250 a month as it is now for the package! I can think...

Your Account: