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AT&T Broadband: We’re Capping You, But We Won’t Tell You Until After You Sign Up

Phillip Dampier April 21, 2009 AT&T 21 Comments

GigaOM blows the lid off what will likely be an upcoming target of StoptheCap! — the ludicrous and unacceptably botched usage cap trial in Reno, Nevada by AT&T.

It seems that new customers to AT&T’s high speed Internet service aren’t being told their usage is being capped, until the mailman delivers an express letter to your home with the shocking news after you’ve already signed up for service!

Adding insult to injury, their tiers for traditional DSL max out with an 80GB allowance on their “Elite tier,” which only offers up to 6Mbps service.  That might be “elite” in Kenya, but it shouldn’t be in a major American city.  Each additional gigabyte comes at the traditional Pillage Price of $1/GB, which is nearly 1,000% above what it costs them to provide.  And for the woman who brought all this to the attention of GigaOM, there is no competitor currently available for broadband.

The Super Whammo Extreme Maxalot tier of 150GB isn’t even available unless you have access to their U-verse fiber-alternative service.  Also, incompetence seems to be the order of the day over at AT&T:  GigaOM reported that customer service representatives denied there was a usage cap at all when the Lake Tahoe-area resident called to inquire.

AT&T’s letter explaining the limits is reproduced below the fold.  Customers signing up for service at att.com will need to call the Psychic Hotline to discern that there is a cap in place on their service — not one word of it appears on their website as the screen captures GigaOM obtained illustrate.

Of course AT&T is also the home of the “unlimited” AT&T Wireless DataConnect plan that, in the fine print, changes your reality of what the word “unlimited” means to their own, which means “not more than 5GB.”

Sounds like bait and switch to us and the next step should be a contact with the Nevada Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau, local and state officials, and the Congressional delegation for Nevada.  If AT&T wants to treat Reno like a broadband backwater, they couldn’t do a better job of it by also forgetting to tell customers until after they already signed up.

AT&T Broadband Usage Cap Alert (courtesy: GigaOM)

AT&T Broadband Usage Cap Alert (courtesy: GigaOM)

GigaOM captured AT&T.com's Broadband Service Offers... no caps here!

GigaOM captured AT&T.com's Broadband Service Offers... no caps here!

No caps here either....  Who knew?

No caps here either.... Who knew?

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Ausin
Ausin
12 years ago

Again info about the caps is provided after sign up, in my case I found out about the caps when I was digging in the “members only” area of the site. Go figure to see the info in the link below you must have an att uverse account. https://uversecentral1.att.com/uvp/myhome/broadbandusage/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gXd8-wIA93YwMLM0dzAyNzN1N_XwMDQwMDY_2CbEdFAIpPDHU!/ Screenshots here: http://w668.photobucket.com/pbwidget.swf?pbwurl=http://w668.photobucket.com/albums/vv46/doubleatheman2/ccf41103.pbw Quick youtube video I made. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYav2iCJHmc —————————————————————– Has Att provided an actual reason for caps yet? Our networks are bogged down by abusers? We all know the cable co’s have issues with the way their network works, but at&t’s network doesn’t have these kind of bottlenecks. With DSL… Read more »

Hong Niu
Hong Niu
12 years ago

Government regulation can’t come soon enough. I have an idea… let’s tax corporate profits of cable companies by 95%. Worked with AIG bonuses!

Jeffrey_Bays
Jeffrey_Bays
12 years ago

if you had one of their cards installed on a laptop and went over the 5gig limit:

Based on $.00048 per Kb and 1048576 kb in a gb, your cost per gig comes to $503.31648. Rounded up, then taxed.

Where can I sign up?

Michael Chaney
12 years ago

I like how they claim 95% of their users won’t be affected whereas Time Warner Cable is claiming 85%. This underscores an important point. THIS IS NOT JUST A TIME WARNER CABLE ISSUE! In fact AT&T is known for having just as bad if not worse customer service than TWC.

Matt
Matt
12 years ago

OMG! – And I just subscribed to U-Verse last week after canceling services with TWC! The representative at U-Verse specifically told me on the phone that they do not cap Internet bandwidth! Also, as pointed out above – On the U-Verse website where the customer chooses which Internet speed they want (and cable/phone services), the Internet bandwidth prices are not even listed! – Isn’t this false advertisement and considered illegal? I shouldn’t have to find important information like this out “after the fact”! This is complete BS! Looks like many of us here in Austin are at a complete “stalemate”… Read more »

Matt
Matt
12 years ago

FYI – I just logged into my U-Verse account and am unable to find anything at all about broadband usage which should be listed on the main page “https://uversecentral1.att.com/uvp/myhome/…”. Whenever I manually type in “https://uversecentral1.att.com/uvp/myhome/broadbandusage”, I am taken to the appropriate Bandwidth webpage for U-Verse; however, I’m getting the following message multiple times on the screen: “Usage for 04/01/2009 – current Not available We’re sorry but the system cannot retrieve Internet usage for this date.” It appears as though I have to manually type in the following after “https://uversecentral1.att.com/uvp/myhome/” in order to get to the bandwidth usage website for U-Verse:… Read more »

Matt
Matt
12 years ago

Even though U-Verse has capped Internet specifically in Reno, NV (for now), its definitely setup for Austin, Texas as well … Just a heads up to everyone out there …

Matt
Matt
12 years ago

Agreed! – I’ll definitely be emailing the local U-Verse office here about this within the next day or two.

I’m just concerned that AT&T won’t hesitate to implement capped bandwidth in Austin (and other markets as well) around the same time as TWC or sooner.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

I have Uverse here where I am and they don’t have caps yet. I can blow the 150GB cap in no time with all the HD 720p TV episodes I download.

T.M.
T.M.
12 years ago

AT&T U-verse is sold right out of Jefferson Road at Sutherland Global (I used to work there in a different division). It’s just not available to this area. Hopefully it will be at some point soon.

Corporate Greed
Corporate Greed
12 years ago

TWC scrapped their plan of $1 to $2 overage per GB over the cap after a large backlash of angry, confused customers, and threats of epic bukkake. If you thought the overages of cell phone bills gave people enough of a shocker, AT&T broadband customers will run out of holes pretty soon! In other news: The demand for remote car starters purchased by executives are on the rise.

Zach Settewongse
Zach Settewongse
11 years ago

This is complete BS. I subscribed yesterday and got a robo call about the CAP today. What the F!!! I’m calling and complaining every hour tomorrow and I might go to the local office on lunch and protest. I’m also calling the Reno News and Review, All the local Radio talk shows, the RGJ and KTVN, KOLO, and KRNV TV stations.

If there is a cap I’m F-ing done with ATT. iphone or not!

Robin
Robin
11 years ago

I just got my Express letter in the mail today, My internet was hooked up yesterday, I download a lot, No one ever said anything about any cap! I was in shock when I received the letter in the mail, I have never heard of anything like this. I live about 30 minutes out of Reno, Needless to say I am very very upset and trying to figure out what I am going to do now as I know I will go over the cap every month, I can’t afford that and I can’t afford cable internet at this time… Read more »

Albert
Albert
11 years ago

I just had a knockdown drag out shouting match with AT&T. They are fraudulent in every respect. The state attorney should look into this. They say “unlimited” and when you sign up, they send you a little email saying you are screwed and they say it’s ok. The manager actually had the audacity to tell me that if I don’t like it, cancel it. Then he said that the lawyers talked to the Nevada Utilities Commission and they were ok with it so I should be as well. Basically, I say CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT. It’s geographical discrimination. The Reno Mayor… Read more »

Albert
Albert
11 years ago

I was on the phone a total of 4 hours with AT&T. Each time, they wanted to transfer me to “explain to me what the cap means”… like I’m some idiot. So finally, I did what I had to, and I encourage all of you to do the same thing. 1) Please contact Barbara DiCianno at 775-334-3112. She is the Mayor’s assistant. Call her and ask to have an investigation launched to geographic discrimination. I have done so already, so she should be familiar with the situation. But me calling is not enough. YOU ALL need to call. 2) Go… Read more »

Derick
Derick
11 years ago

After signing up for AT&T High speed internet with unlimited home phone, i was suprised to get the letter in the mail stating that i can only use a certain amount of data per month! I was furious so i called AT&T, they didn’t know anything about it, yet they sent me a letter telling me i can only use so much data per month. I use my main system to edit and upload videos to youtube. so almost weekly that is 10GB not including itunes music downloading for uploading videos to you tube! and then i have another system… Read more »

Albert
Albert
11 years ago

My speed is fast, but it’s like a porsche with half a gallon of gas in the tank, it’s useless. I can’t even backup my servers in Taiwan to have a local copy because it’s 1T of pictures; which means I’d actually have to not use the internet for anything and split up the download into 8 months. AT&T needs to get sued for false advertising.

Ian L
11 years ago
Reply to  Albert

Last I checked, AT&T has repealed its usage caps, so you can back up away…

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