AT&T Next To Set Cap On Internet Traffic.

I wrote before about Comcast started doing it in several places, that is limiting the amount of data you can send and receive over the internet. Now AT&T looks like they might be next in line to start capping data, as they have started a test in Reno, NV that caps traffic at 20 GB to 150 GB per month, depending on the plan that you pay for. If you go over the limit, you get a one month grace period. But if you continue to go over, you will be charged $1 for every GB that you use.

I am not a fan of setting caps on the internet. People are watching movies, television, working from home and using VOIP phones – all of these things added together would send you well over any cap set by your internet provider. And while I understand that some people do abuse the system, the majority of people use only a normal amount. But caps like these could really put a damper on the growth of the internet. I work from home and send very large files back and forth over the internet, I have a VOIP phone, I stream music while I work – all of that would not be possible if I was being charged a fortune every month for internet service.

I don’t know where this heading. Maybe it’s companies like Google implementing city-wide WiFi in major metropolitan areas for free, as they have been working to do. People using the internet more equals more income for Google. Maybe it’s a new kind of internet provider other than the cable or phone company. Maybe it’s something no one has thought of yet. But if these companies insist on setting caps on traffic for everyone as a blanket statement rather than focusing on those who abuse the system, people will be looking for an alternative.

What do you guys think about this? What could you see as an alternative in the future to being trapped by these companies? Internet use is only going up by everyone – limiting it will eventually hurt everyone.

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Comments (8)

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  1. jdp says:

    I think it will be a boon for local internet providers as people turn to them instead of the big names.

  2. Dangit! And I was just about to switch over to them from cable…

    The internet is my job. Everything I do in my job requires me to be constantly connected. If and when I do start working from home, that’s going to be that much more traffic. It’s just a shame that we have so few options (only 2 high-speed options where I live). Competition could really do this sector some good.

  3. david says:

    You and me both Caveman. I am thinking of starting my own company. Now, where can I get millions…

  4. Mrs. Micah says:

    It bothers me. I don’t think I’d use anything like that, since I don’t often stream (though I just discovered the Addams family on hulu!!!!). But I worry that it’ll limit the progress of the internet as a whole. Things have always been getting bigger online and companies have just adapted and more has become possible.

  5. I think it’s an inevitable end since AT&T is fighting a losing battle on their traditional landline business. As you mentioned, it’s going to negatively impact VOIP customers, and could also halt some borderline customers from leaving Comcast/AT&T to switch to VOIP phones.

    I would expect to see serious lobbying on the parts of consumer groups to prevent this from occurring nationwide now that we have a labor-sensitive President coming into office. Just seems like a new way to squeeze money from consumers.

  6. debtdieter says:

    We have always had caps here in Australia, in fact I actually work for an ISP and see the usage data each month and the average person doesn’t use that much data.

  7. david says:

    That may be true for a lot, but I (and many others) are not average users. My phone is through the internet and my job is all internet related. I would not be able to do my job if I had to shell out hundreds for internet service. Just yesterday I moved over 3 GB of video footage, and this happens quite regularly.

  8. DJ says: