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Stop the Cap! Declares War on AT&T’s Internet Overcharging Schemes

Phillip Dampier May 2, 2011 AT&T, Data Caps, Editorial & Site News 14 Comments

AT&T Internet Rationing Board - Do More With Less!

Today should be your last day for doing business with AT&T’s DSL and U-verse services.  If you feel strongly about your broadband usage being counted and limited, it’s time to bail out of AT&T’s Internet Overcharging scheme, which took effect earlier today.

From this day forward, AT&T DSL customers are limited to 150GB of usage and U-verse customers top out at 250GB before the overlimit fee kicks in — $10 for every 50GB customers exceed the cap, billed in $10 increments. It’s classic AT&T Math, where $1.01 of usage is rounded up to $10.00.

AT&T certainly got off on the wrong foot on day one.  We’ve received more than a dozen messages today from customers who find AT&T’s usage meter offline, showing this message:

“We’re sorry, but we’re unable to display your Internet usage at this time.”

Do you think AT&T would accept that excuse if you enclosed a note telling AT&T you are unable to pay your Internet bill at this time?

On an ongoing basis, we intend to hold AT&T’s feet to the fire until they rescind this unwarranted overcharging scheme.  While company officials claim it is intended to protect their customers from a handful of “heavy users,” they also argue they have plenty of capacity for everyone.  The company cannot have it both ways.

Therefore, this week’s message to be shared with your friends and family is:

AT&T’s Broadband Network Is Not Good Enough to Handle Your Broadband Needs: Shop Elsewhere

AT&T’s wired broadband network, just like their bottom-rated wireless service, cannot handle their customers’ broadband needs.  The company proved that today by having to introduce a broadband rationing scheme, limiting customer usage.  Despite being America’s largest telephone company ISP, AT&T apparently cannot handle the traffic, telling DSL customers to lay off after 150GB and their “advanced” U-verse network customers to get offline after 250GB of use.  Evidently the company isn’t willing to invest some of their enormous profits to provide an ongoing level of broadband service their customers deserve to get, especially when compared with their closest cousin: Verizon.

“While Verizon is installing fiber optics to many of their customers’ homes and providing unlimited, blazing fast Internet service, AT&T admits through their own actions their network isn’t good enough to provide that same level of service to their customers — so now they are limiting the use of it,” says Phillip Dampier, editor at consumer group Stop the Cap! “If I was an AT&T customer, I’d shop around for an alternative provider that has a network robust enough to actually deliver the service customers pay good money to receive.”

AT&T’s U-verse service was touted to customers as delivering a next generation of broadband and television service that could provide healthy competition to cable television.

“AT&T wants U-verse to compete with the big cable companies, but usage caps tell us they can’t manage to do that,” Dampier says. “If their network is so great, why do they need to slap limits on customers?”

AT&T’s representatives claim the limits are intended to reduce congestion from a handful of heavy users, a claim that does not make sense to Stop the Cap!

“AT&T’s existing terms and conditions allow them to deal with any customers who create problems for other users on their network,” Dampier said. “Instead of expanding capacity or dealing with the so-called ‘handful’ of troublesome users, they have slapped an Internet Overcharging scheme on all of their customers.”

Stop the Cap! points out the irony AT&T has plenty of capacity for hundreds of television channels, but doesn’t have enough capacity to provide a worry-free High Speed Internet experience.

“AT&T’s U-verse has no problems finding space for more shopping channels, foreign language networks, and niche channels, but can’t find their way clear to leave customers’ unlimited Internet accounts alone,” Dampier adds.  “Their priorities are all wrong — giving you channels you didn’t ask for while taking away the service you do want.”

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Konner
Konner
11 years ago

I really hate this crap AT&T is doing. . We pay for crappy service, and then they make it even crappier with a 150 GB cap that I go over every month. And I dont have any plans to change my usage.

Troy
Troy
11 years ago

AT&T has yet to officially inform me of these caps…. I’ve read about them here and in other places, but no word directly from AT&T. Every time I go to the usage monitoring site it tells me that “the u-verse measuring tool is still being developed.” How can they implement this without directly and officially notifying their customers, nor providing us with a means of gaging our usage? Seems highly illegal to me. I have looked at my bills for the last couple months, and there was NOTHING in them regarding caps– only the change to “arbitration only” as a… Read more »

Matt
Matt
11 years ago
Reply to  Troy

The usage meter doesn’t work for me either, but it still says that if you can’t view it then don’t worry about it in regards to your billing. I’m assuming they are getting it working in high population areas first so they can make the most jack.

Tim
Tim
11 years ago

If you can go to another provider that doesn’t have caps, then by all means do! If you don’t have that option in your area, call AT&T and downgrade your services to the bare minimum and let them know why you are doing it (if you can). I mean why pay for 12Mbps or something similar when you could hit your cap that much quicker? [ ““AT&T’s existing terms and conditions allow them to deal with any customers who create problems for other users on their network,” Dampier said. “Instead of expanding capacity or dealing with the so-called ‘handful’ of… Read more »

TK
TK
11 years ago

This is pure conflict of interest to protect UVerse TV revenues from the likes of NetFlix and Hulu. And the overage fee should be $0.20 per GB, not $10.00 per 50GB. Would an electric company sell electricity in blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours for $10.00 each? If this were about managing congestion, they would have a policy something like this: During hours of peak congestion, we may reduce the speeds of the users with the most recent heavy usage to 50% of the speed they might otherwise receive to ensure full speeds for lighter and moderate users. Speeds will return to… Read more »

Brett
Brett
11 years ago

In order to protect the TV side of our business from the likes of Hulu, Netflix, etc, we will cap your usage to ensure you cannot replace our Cable TV product via the internet, on which, by the way, we have a ridiculous amount of profit margin. We, too, are amazed at the lack of response from Hulu, Netflix, etc. -AT$T I hope toll roads/bridges don’t catch wind of this scheme. Instead of having just the per axle charge (think of this like the internet speed you pay for), they will now implement weight limit per axle (think of this… Read more »

AnonYMouse
AnonYMouse
11 years ago

When UVerse TV service allows the customer to stream 3 HD channels and 1 SD channel 24/7 into the house, AT&T has exactly zero grounds to claim that bandwidth is the issue here.

The only difference technically between watching IPTV on UVerse and instant viewing on Netflix is that one is chosen by the viewer, starts when the viewer wants, and can be viewed on every TV or monitor connected to anything from a PC to a Wii/PS3/Xbox, and the other one is sold by AT&T.

siouxmoux
11 years ago

Right now ATT is running TV Ads in the SF market, stating they are in the process of Upgrading their Wireless network too be the fasting in the Bay Area. But yet, they have the most Restrictive Data Cap of any US. Wireless Carrier. Also ATT are Upgrading their nation Internet Backbone to handle the ongoing growing demand of web traffic. So there enough Bandwidth go around everyone without these ridiculous Data Caps. If ATT U-Verse TV can handle 4HD 24/7 Streams. Then UV internet can handle Unmetered Unlimited Net access for everyone. ATT just want to protect their Profits.

Stew
Stew
11 years ago

I have just signed up for TW internet and phone in order to drop ATT. I also informed my Yellow Pages rep that I am not interested in renewing any ads with them in the future (there are other directories in our area). He was not any too happy. 🙂

noATT
noATT
11 years ago

While my goal used to be getting everybody to drop TWC for ATT (the only two available in my area), the opposite is true now. As a TWC customer, I’m proud to say I successfully got a coworker to drop ATT for TWC after I warned that his wife’s netflix usage would likely incur overage fees on his uverse internet. I showed him the exact table ATT has on their overcharging breakdown site. 13 HD movies is all you get per month. (By their calcs this equates to 250gb). I suggest everybody do the same. Spread the word. In line… Read more »

John Palmer
John Palmer
11 years ago

Here’s the funny thing about this… I called AT&T today to ask them about this, and to complain about it. I spoke to someone first on their ‘online chat support’. they told me yes, there is a cap, and it’s at 250gb/mo. I asked about the overages, and she said it would be $10 for every 150K… kilo… I had to ask her 4 times if that was correct, before she corrected herself to say that it would be $10 for every 150MB … mega … obviously she doesn’t have a clue. called their service line. got routed to billing… Read more »

TK
TK
11 years ago
Reply to  John Palmer

It’s $10 to go over 50gig

https://www.att.com/esupport/internet/usage.jsp

But my meter which used to work early June is now completely broken.

“We’re sorry, but we’re unable to display your Internet usage at this time.

Please try again later.”

Early this month it was showing only partial data for my DSL and not for the early weeks of the bill cycle that just ended. I know by my router I went a little over, but I better not hear about it or I might send them some PDF printouts of the broken meter.

John
John
11 years ago

I, consider the cap by AT&T a declaration of war and greed, I was just streaming along minding my own damn business and then this crap. Not only will I dump their internet service but I’m shutting off the house phone service as well ! I will post my “DUMP AT&T T SHIRT” LATER.

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