AT&T to Cap Internet Bandwidth

Dennis Faas's picture

AT&T is reportedly considering limiting the bandwidth that subscribers are entitled to use each month, beginning with Reno, NV.

Internet providers across the country are are limiting bandwidth to curb a small number of "bandwidth hogs" who use a lot of the network capacity. According to an AT&T spokesman, 5 percent of AT&T's subscribers take up to 50 percent of the capacity. Last month Comcast began limiting bandwidth to their customers. Interestingly enough, Verizon currently has no plans to limit their bandwidth.  (Source:

Starting in November, AT&T downloads will be limited to 20 gigabytes per month for users of their slowest DSL service, at 768 kilobits per second. The limit increases, depending on the speed of the plan, up to 150 gigabytes per month for users at the 10 megabits-per-second level.

Using email and web wouldn't take a subscriber anywhere near the limit, but streaming video services like the one Netflix offers could. In order to exceed the limits, subscribers would need to download constantly at maximum speeds for more than 42 hours. For example, if you're on the 3 megabits per second plan, you would have a monthly cap of 60 gigabytes, meaning you could download about 30 DVD-quality movies before maxing out your plan.

Initially, the limits will apply to new customers in the Reno area. Current users will be enrolled if they exceed 150 gigabytes in a month, regardless of their connection speed. AT&T may add another test market before the end of the year.

Users will be able to track their usage on an AT&T web site and the company will contact people who reach 80 percent of their limit. Those who exceed their allotted limit will pay $1 per gigabyte once subscribers get acquainted with the new policy.

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