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AT&T Cellphones Communications Handhelds

AT&T To Start Data Throttling Heaviest Users 207

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-like-a-martial-arts-demonstration dept.
greymond writes "AT&T has announced that starting on Oct. 1 it will throttle the data speeds of users with unlimited data plans who exceed bandwidth thresholds on its 3G network. AT&T is following in the tracks Verizon and Virgin Mobile in reducing data throughput speeds of its heaviest mobile data users."
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AT&T To Start Data Throttling Heaviest Users

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  • breach of contract (Score:4, Insightful)

    by samantha (68231) * on Friday July 29, 2011 @06:57PM (#36928776) Homepage

    I signed up for unlimited back years ago. Not for unlimited with limits that reduce speed. This is an arbitrary change of contract.

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      I think you'll find they have provisions that allow them to do this. I think it's utter bullshit but it's there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        I think you'll find they have provisions that allow them to do this.

        The "provision" that allows them to do this is the decision of the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which enables AT&T to give unlimited amounts of money to elect (or defeat) politicians.

        As long as Citizens United is the law of the land, there will never, ever be another law enforced that protects consumers from anything a large corporations decides to do. The government acting as a counterbalance to corp

        • I'd far rather see who is sending money where than the old system were all of the money was hidden from plain site (not that some is still not obscured).

          Citizens United protects freedom of speech, far more than it has any harmful effects. All of the money you fear was already flowing to politicians anyway.

          The only solution for the problem you see is smaller government. A smaller government has less power over you, there is less impact that money flowing from corporations can have.

          • by Chaonici (1913646)

            Smaller government also has less hold over corporations, who will grow to fill the power vacuum filled by shrinking government. End result: The consumer is raped by the corporate world.

            Larger government may be better able to contain corporations, but the end result of that is that the citizen is raped by federal power.

            You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. What exactly is a free society to do?

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Citizens United protects freedom of speech,

            Whose freedom of speech?

        • by istartedi (132515)

          So. What kind of law do you want to draft that reduces corporate influence without also reducing the ability of citizens to organize and lobby? For that matter, how do you avoid having this very Slashdot discussion being regulated under campaign finance laws, and us having to file paperwork with the FEC because we're "electioneering" on Slashdot?

          Note, I'm not disagreeing that corporate influence is a problem. No, far from it. I'd love to be able to walk into a grocery store without having to think about

          • by samriel (1456543)

            What kind of law do you want to draft that reduces corporate influence without also reducing the ability of citizens to organize and lobby?

            Simple: require that only HUMAN entities, not legal or financial entities, are allowed to organize and lobby. The Founding Fathers didn't imagine that we would be crazy enough to recognize a nonhuman corporation as a legal person with free speech and all of the other rights.

            • The Founding Fathers didn't imagine that we would be crazy enough to recognize a nonhuman corporation as a legal person with free speech and all of the other rights.

              Let's take a look back at that first amendment, shall we:

              Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

              Note a few things here. "The people" is only mentioned for the rights to assemble and petition. No subject is given for religion, speech, or press, so it's not clear what entities they refer to.

              Furthermore, please note that speech is almost the only right here that reasonably makes sense to refer to individuals. The right to assemble and petition only makes sense when referring to groups of people. The press, even back in the 1700s, usually requ

              • by DJRumpy (1345787)

                Yes, but in your example, the group of people all have a voice. I have no voice in where my corporation spends it's dollars. That is the CEO and the Boards decision. Vastly different than a political group who's entire purpose is to voice the political opinion of it's members.

          • by sycodon (149926)

            No restrictions what-so-ever.

            But..absolute, full and immediate disclosure. Violators (corporations) should face what amounts to the death penalty. Revocation of he corporate charter and auctioning off of all the assets. Individuals who violate the disclosure rule should face confiscation of their assets. And if they are acting as an agent for any other corporation or person, they would face the same.

            And Politicians who violate the rules "accidentally" should get the political death penalty, barred from runn

        • Nice rant.

          About the only part where your logic is sound is the last sentence, where you reasonably challenge the supposition that "money = speech."

          However, once you accept that "money = speech," exactly how do you arbitrarily draw lines in modern corporate culture? Why do CNN, Fox News, etc., as well as every newspaper and magazine get to run as many editorials and opinions as they want, promoting whatever political ideologies that they want, even though most of them are as influenced by modern megacor

    • by Mia'cova (691309) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:04PM (#36928840)

      A change in terms offers you the chance to get out of your contract. But that's fine for them as they want to transition everyone off unlimited plans anyways.. That said, they probably also had no guarantee of data speed/service provided in the contract. Limiting speed is possibly within their right without modifying any contract terms.. Those service agreements don't exactly work to the consumer's advantage.

    • by guspasho (941623)

      Well, you can always cancel your service. You might even be able to get out of the cancellation fee since they broke the contract. But then again, that's exactly what they want you to do. They don't want anyone to keep the unlimited plan.

      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        Well, you can always cancel your service. You might even be able to get out of the cancellation fee since they broke the contract. But then again, that's exactly what they want you to do. They don't want anyone to keep the unlimited plan.

        Well, you can always cancel your service. You might even be able to get out of the cancellation fee since they broke the contract. But then again, that's exactly what they want you to do. They don't want anyone to keep the unlimited plan.

        Sprint still has unlimited plans, at least for now.

    • by Algan (20532)

      You are probably free to leave without paying an Early Termination Fee.

    • By your own admission, you signed up "years ago", which means you are almost certainly "out of contract"...

      I don't see why people think that an offering should remain totally unchanged for all time, especially when you as the consumer have the option of leaving - why doesn't the supplier have the right to change the offering after your initial contract period has expired?

    • You agreed to them changing things at their whim.. All they have to do is notify you and they can change it.

      But i agree with you in that its uncool, and unfortunately expected.

  • Ahead of the US (Score:2, Informative)

    by genjix (959457)

    Here in the UK, this has been already happening with British Telecom (BT) for years.

    I remember being on 'unlimited' dial-up and getting a letter saying that my speeds are going to be throttled at peak times due to heavy bandwidth usage.

    Misrepresentation at it's best.

    • by cshark (673578)

      Other companies here in the US have been doing it too. Clear, for example has been promising 6mb 4g wireless service, and throtlling over 3gb. After about a week, the service is slower than 56k. It's so slow in fact, that you can't even finish a speed test. Of course, if you visit the Clear Facebook fan page, you can see how well it's working out for them. Their customers hate their guts. AT&t really seems hell bent on killing customer satisfaction. If that's what they want to do, let them. There are to

  • by hsmith (818216) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:04PM (#36928838)
    So they plan to make their shit service even worse?
    • by icebike (68054) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:39PM (#36929126)

      So they plan to make their shit service even worse?

      No, they are making it better.

      As soon as they get rid of the guys pulling 30 to 100 gig a month there will be some bandwidth for the rest of us.

      Yes, we would all like a 3g network that could be used like a cable modem, but the the fact of the matter is that
      wireless is more constrained for bandwidth than wireline, and even wireline is getting caps.

      Yes it would be nice if unlimited meant truly unlimited, but we are all adult enough to realize that was never the case in any market for any commodity at any time in the history of earth. There are always limits.

      The reasonable expectation was always around 5 gig a month.

      This is where everyone jumps in and claims that when they said unlimited they are bound to that and should support it.
      Well, guess what, they still do support it. It will just flow slower. You can still get as much as you want across your
      unlimited 3g plan, its just that you won't want to anymore.

      The idea that on demand TV and streaming media should all go to the internet was ill-conceived and is proving inconvenient for both wired and wireless usage.
      There is a reason multicast was invented.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        No, they are making it better.

        As soon as they get rid of the guys pulling 30 to 100 gig a month there will be some bandwidth for the rest of us.

        Yes, we would all like a 3g network that could be used like a cable modem, but the the fact of the matter is that
        wireless is more constrained for bandwidth than wireline, and even wireline is getting caps.

        ...

        Um, no. You are buying towing the company line there.

        First off, there isn't a wired problem. Well, there is, as in the ISP don't bother installing more lines for peeps. Don't bother upgrading peeps connections, etc, and are over subscribing their lines, all for their bottom line.

        Now with wireless, we have the same problem. the co's don't want to spend money upgrading their stuff to run with demand of what they are selling, so they are making it seem like it's the customers fault, or some of the custome

      • by sjames (1099)

        So, why do they keep advertising all the amazing bandwidth burning things you can do if you sign up with AT&T?

        They invite heavy use and then cry about it whenever someone actually takes them at their word. The nerve of those evil nasty customers using what they paid for! Now, AT&T (hereinafter known as the paragon of virtue) will make everything all better for everyone by not giving people what they pay for. In other news, chocolate rations have been increased from 13 grams to 9 grams.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "As soon as they get rid of the guys pulling 30 to 100 gig a month there will be some bandwidth for the rest of us."

        Or maybe they could actually bother to upgrade their networks to conform to the standards at which 3G speeds are set to, and thus actually be able to fully service their customer base like any SANE company would do?

        http://www.silicon-press.com/briefs/brief.3g/index.html [silicon-press.com]

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Yes it would be nice if unlimited meant truly unlimited, but we are all adult enough to realize that was never the case in any market for any commodity at any time in the history of earth. There are always limits.

        If you make a contract for a 20-kilowatt grid connection, you can pull 20 kilowatts 24/7, all year long. Electricity is a limited commodity, of course, but you get what you pay for, rather than paying for lots and getting little. So it's the broadband market that's unique in history, in that there

        • by icebike (68054)

          If you make a contract for a 20-kilowatt grid connection, you can pull 20 kilowatts 24/7, all year long.

          20kw is not the same as unlimited.
          Since you can't fathom that basic fact, the rest of your rant is not worth responding to.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Yes it would be nice if unlimited meant truly unlimited, but we are all adult enough to realize that was never the case in any market for any commodity at any time in the history of earth. There are always limits.

        So, since we are 'all adults' its OK to oversell and lie to customers? There is no excuse for dishonest practices, and just blowing it off is why we suffer with them.

  • I would LOVE to be throttled! That would mean I actually maintained connection long enough to use the data at a high speed to be in the top x% of users.

    Counting down my last month until I switch to Verizon...

  • The worship of corporations has come so far that customers are allowing companies to spank them when their behavior goes against the established business models?

    • by Macrat (638047)
      Welcome to the Corporate States of America
    • by Nate B. (2907)

      Well, this is cheaper for the carriers to implement than building the infrastructure to support their over selling.

  • by Mia'cova (691309) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:15PM (#36928932)

    I hate how these statistics are worded to vilify these users. First, it's the top 5% vs the average of the other 95%. Hell, they don't even filter out the bottom 5% to balance that out who likely use close to zero data. By removing the top 5% from the average, the average is going to be reduced dramatically, unlike the median would be. 2nd, the services they claim as being the data hogs are the same services that are most heavily advertised. And when defined this way, even if top users find more efficient ways to get their content, eg pandora starts to cache up to 2 hours of songs in advance whenever connected to wifi, there will always be a top 5%. Without setting actual hard limits, eg 50x the median user's usage of the previous month, it's impossible to know where you stand without much greater transparency. It's also frustrating that off-peak usage and edge/hspa/lte are costed the same. 1GB on edge is obviously more destructive to the network than 1GB on LTE.

    Overall, it's a system that is somewhat fair but doesn't offer the user the tools or opportunity to optimize their usage. It's in everyone's best interest to maximize available bandwidth. The networks need to make the users partners rather than enemies. For example, have an unlimited plan with peak-usage throttling and offer rebates, free music/apps/whatever bonuses to good network citizens. If there was an actual thank you and reward for downloading/pre-caching my music rather than streaming it, I'd certainly prefer that option. But if they only punish, I'm going to give them the middle-finger and abuse 'their' network.

    • "Move to the cloud! Work wirelessly from your phone line on your mobile device using data -heavy apps! Why bother downloading a song once and playing it ten times on a local player when you can stream it from your phone any time you want it! Join social networks where it will take you extra bandwidth to load all the ads from companies that sell your data on 42 meg pages for a twelve line text update! ...

      "Introducing our new unlimited data plan where we throttle it without limiting it!"

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        exactly, the companies are speaking with two faces. and the face that is promising more is the one they spend their advertising budget on. so they should honor that more vocal voice.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:19PM (#36928968) Homepage

    AT&T has you by the nads. You have a hard time finding phone service where you don't waive your right to sue and the carrier can make changes any time they want.

    There's always some pompous horses ass who jumps in to say, "If you don't like the terms, don't sign the contract." But when you can't get service anywhere without those stipulations, there is no consumer choice. The wireless carriers operate as a cartel, not a free market.

    Markets are not free if they're not also fair. And when one side can change the terms of a contract at any time, it's not fair.

    • by dissy (172727)

      AT&T has you by the nads.

      This is especially true if they plan to *start* throttling users.

      I might fire up the browser on my phone twice or maybe three times a week.
      It takes at least 15 seconds to fully load the front Google search page!
      Waiting at least a full minute for the search results to come back.
      Most websites with any content end up timing out for the first couple reloads

      If they already provide only 0.5k/sec or less to normal usage customers, I can't imagine how painful it will be once you get throttled...

      • Hmm, my experience is completely opposite. I barely notice going from WiFi to 3G. Often the only clue is low quality on YouTube hosted video (if I happen to open one). I am in the Dallas area, both ATT and Verizon have major corporate interests here - could explain it. Sorry your experience is so poor.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      The companies own us consumers. They have superior rights and they can get away with whatever the fuck they want mostly, because if we want phone service we have to go to one of them. Many companies that appear to be independent are of course owned by a larger company.

      We live in a world populated by corporations who allow us to keep the illusion that we live in a democracy, that we have personal rights and freedoms etc. We don't.

    • by drolli (522659)

      No. Throttling data plans has nothing to do with a cartel.

      The economic reality is that unlimited data plans cant exist. What could exist is an unthrottled plan for packets with a low priority TOS, and a capped (or usage based) one for high priority TOS. But that would acctually require that users think about what they are doing.

  • Some of us... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by U8MyData (1281010) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:22PM (#36928994)
    ...are relegated to tethered phones for internet access where we are so rural as to not have a choice other than satellite and they have similar restrictions. I am not on AT&T but I thought about writing my carrier's (the big V) CEO and issuing a challenge. Go a month with your "surfing habits" with only a tethered phone and your data service plan. No cheating now, tell me if you think it is fair, usable, and how far you get while on the web before you hit your limit. It doesn't take long trust me. Even then I cut back on what I do with it. Being a systems professional, it's not unheard of to download a MS Partner ISO, or a linux distro from time to time, but now if I did that it would either kill my data allotment or my pocket book. If you can't handle the data requirements that your product offerings require, don't you think there is a problem there? Oh, and the best that big V will do is 10GB plan at an additional $80 making my monthy bill equivalent to a small car payment. I can drive my phone!
    • by maxume (22995)

      Verizon has no desire to be your only connectivity service.

      They want to be your high-end, portable connectivity service, they set rates accordingly.

      • Exactly. I wonder if he also uses a Mustang to tow his trailer instead of a work truck. Different tools for different jobs.

  • RaceToTheBottom tag? (Score:4, Informative)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:23PM (#36929002) Homepage

    It's always another ratcheted step in their race to the bottom. One of them pulls some kind of stunt, waits for backlash... if it's sufficiently small enough, they keep it and their increased benefits. The others will follow suit as they see they can do it and get away with it as well.

    This will keep going on and on until we see some legislation to stop it. And before anyone says "but we don't need any more laws!" I would like to hear what ELSE could make them change their behavior? No significant numbers of people will stop using their services because of it. So what else is there but law?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How about lowering the licensing costs for startup competition to use the spectrum?

      I already have a 20Mb pipe available at the office, which is only needed to handle the nightly traffic spikes from updating customers.

      I can build a picocell gsm provider big enough to service several hundred people across 1/4 of my town for less than $10,000.
      There is a market here for this type of internet connection, I'm certain I could sell it.

      However, the fcc license fee for doing this would completely dwarf all other cost

      • There is a market here for this type of internet connection, I'm certain I could sell it.

        However, the fcc license fee for doing this would completely dwarf all other costs.

        Well with the government, and therefore FCC enforcement, about to shut down - wire up those towers sir and get ready for customers!

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          I think you'll find any agencies with the power to issue multi-million dollar fines will probably be the last ones out of the building. And in any case, government agencies have long memories...

      • Look into line of sight microwaveor laser. Those services seem to not require nearly as much regulatory red tape.

  • I mean, I want my service to work, because it's not overloaded all the time, and this fixes that problem without
    a. Hard caps
    b. overages.

    seems to me, saying you'll get 3g speeds for the first 2gb/mo, and edge speeds after that is the best way to solve the problem. SO long as it's publicized. if you don't like it, too bad, I'm tired of shitty service because some folks use their hacked Iphones to download torrents all day.

    that said, if the service still sucks, or the cap it too low, leave.

    • by Osgeld (1900440) on Friday July 29, 2011 @07:48PM (#36929176)

      or the CEO could go without his new jet this month and actually expand their spread so thin you can see though it decade old network ... many have signed into this thing as unlimited, not unlimted as long as it doesnt effect ATT, I went through the exact same thing with them on long distance and dialup, its their oldest trick

      They offer you the moon for a penny and when it starts to catch up with them and bite them in the ass they change your contract and sometimes they might even bother to inform you, most of the time they just add charges and hope you wont bitch

      • by Solandri (704621)

        many have signed into this thing as unlimited, not unlimted as long as it doesnt effect ATT

        To be fair, the contracts they signed were unlimited until either party decides otherwise, not unlimited forever. There will be a few years of grandfathering as multi-year contracts expire, then unlimited will either be gone or relegated to expensive business plans.

        OP is right though - this is the better, more honest way to do it. The bandwidth industry lives on overselling capacity to lower prices. From the go

    • I mean, I want my service to work, because it's not overloaded all the time, and this fixes that problem...

      To be fair, we don't actually know this. There is no data, they just say "top 5%". They don't say "... that download this many bits" or "... in this particular city where it's incredibly bad.." or anything like that. They don't even actually say "We'll recoup enough resources to make YOUR connection faster".

      I'm not saying this to be nitpicky, rather I'm pointing this out because AT&T is currently trying to make their case that they should be able to purchase T-Mobile. Generally speaking, though, the

    • by forand (530402)
      Why not charge per bit instead of per bit per month. Then I would agree with you, but if they want to charge a fee per bit per month then we are just paying them to keep service low. Per bit we are paying them to improve bandwidth. If we use more they WANT to make it easier for us to use even more. But as it stands they have no interest in investing in the infrastructure, only in removing 'offending' customers who are trying to get the most out of what they are being charged for.
  • A spokesman from Level3 was quoted as saying "AT&T just uses such a tremendous amount of the world's Internet bandwidth. What else could we do?"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm on an unlimited plan and recently I called AT&T to see if I could drop my plan to a lower usage plan and (hopefully) save money. The nice lady on the phone looked up my usage, laughed and said that I was "double" the usage rate of the next lower plan both in terms of voice as well as data. The thing is, yes I live by my phone. (I run my own business.) But really, I very rarely watch any videos with my phone. (Though perhaps every other month I'll watch a video on NetFlix) I mostly use my phone f

  • I thought they were throttling me ever since I got the contract. How else would you explain the lethargic data rates I am getting - what feels like 56Kbit modem or less. Oh, wait, someone can download too much data at those speeds and they'll throttle them *even more*? Oh, the humanity.

    • I think that's probably the size of the web page and all the extra elements in it that's making it feel like 56K. Looking at the article page's it's 102KB for the main page size and 900KB of inline elements. That's a MB of data for rendering what's mostly text.

      I get the benefits of the whole dynamic content thing that's been going on a while now but sometimes I just wish it was more of a static page. For someone on a slow connection, it kind of sucks to have all this extra stuff download. The fact that hand

  • I work for a phone company... and over the years I've made my way up the ladder to the point that now VPs will actually talk to me occasionally. Now, trust me... I'm a hardcore "information wants to be free / net neutrality / anti-software patent" type of person. Look at any of my previous posts on the subject to see this. But recently I got to sit in on a meeting with one of our top VPs who revealed what's "really" going on with this subject. While I still don't agree with bandwidth caps, throttling or tra
    • by kidgenius (704962)
      Your analogy about the store was quite faulty. A slightly better analogy would be to think of it more like a mall. So you have a vendor in one of those stores that is paying the owners of the mall a fee to rent out space there. Now, if that vendor starts doing stuff like offering "FREE CANDY!" and it floods the mall with people, to the detriment of other patrons and shop owners, then yes, that's a problem. But, there are ways to fix that though. In addition, companies like netflix aren't hijacking a co
    • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 29, 2011 @11:22PM (#36930278)

      This isn't interesting it's complete bullshit. I pay my ISP to provide the bandwidth and Youtube pays their ISP to provide bandwidth, the bandwidth has been paid for. I don't get money off my bill at the end of the month if my ISP was able to serve me up a cached version, so why on Earth should the ISP get to cheat me like that?

      From your post the take home message here is that we need more regulation to clamp down on ISPs' and their fraudulent advertising practices. If they can't provide the advertised speed then they shouldn't be pretending to offer it, it's just that simple.

      • This isn't interesting it's complete bullshit. I pay my ISP to provide the bandwidth and Youtube pays their ISP to provide bandwidth, the bandwidth has been paid for.

        That's why, as stated, they didn't mind YouTube much.

        Has DirectTV really pain anyone much for their content? I doubt it. They are riding off the ISP's network.

        You paid for an average amount of data use. When people drive up that average in a huge way, then your costs will also rise.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          When I started paying for internet, we were paying for time online, per minutes.

          it's just bullshit. you're either selling bandwidth or not. what they'd like now is that we'd pay for access they sell as mobile 24/7 broadband, but would use it as if it were a dialup from late '90s. the free riders the ceo's see are actually _ANY_ service from which they don't get extra money from - while their whole business should be ignorant of what data is transferred, they shouldn't care, if they start caring they start a

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Has DirectTV really pain anyone much for their content?

          Yes. If they are hosting things over the internet, then they will have a contract with an ISP (it's not magic- that's how things get on the internet). Their ISP will be charging them a certain amount for as much upload/download bandwidth as they want. If they find DirectTV are using "too much" bandwidth, they're free to charge them more in order to provide a better service.

          You do the same, at your end.

          What isn't acceptable is to say to you "yeah, you can have unlimited downloads at broadband speeds" and tak

        • by hedwards (940851)

          DirecTV has some means of magically getting their data to the end users ISP? Because that's the only way in which they can do that without paying for it.

          I'm not paying for an average amount of data, at least that's not the basis upon which my ISP marketed the connection. Like I said, this is just further evidence that the government needs to step in and stop the fraudulent advertising that's leading to these head aches.

          This isn't fundamentally any different from food processors that provide less food in a g

    • by gblues (90260)

      Netflix contracts with companies such as Akamai, called content delivery networks. These companies pay ISPs to co-locate their servers so that each ISP gets its own local cache of the content served by their clients. And yes, this means that the Netflix content you watch, which counts towards your monthly cap, is being served *locally*.

      Customers pay ISPs to access their network. The CDN pays the ISP for the bandwidth they use to transfer their data to their servers, and the CDNs are paid by the content prov

      • Content delivery networks are irrelevant. 99% of the cost of a customers connection is the last mile, not the trunks leading from netflix itself. The content delivery system saves netflix money, but does nothing for the ISP (ok there's a tiny cost savings.) The last mile of that connection is still downloading the same content over and over again.
  • by nebular (76369) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:17PM (#36929676) Homepage

    Wind Mobile does this in Canada. They say you have unlimited but if you go over 2GB, I think, they de-prioritize you and you get throttled if the network needs you throttled.

    I agree with it completely, so long as they tell everyone exactly where the line is

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's not unlimited. If they place any limits beyond what the technology allows it's no longer unlimited. Nobody really thinks that they can download a gazillion gb per month on an unlimited plan, but the ISP shouldn't be prioritizing, throttling or any of that on an unlimited plan.

      • If they place any limits beyond what the technology allows it's no longer unlimited.

        I consider it unlimited if I can download continuously and they don't care. They never promised you an exact transfer rate, that was never part of "unlimited". Unlimited was all about amounts of data, never about speed (because claiming it is "unlimited fast" would be silly),

    • by maugle (1369813)

      Wind Mobile does this in Canada. They say you have unlimited but if you go over 2GB, I think, they de-prioritize you and you get throttled if the network needs you throttled.

      That's like telling an imprisoned man he's free to go ... and then breaking his arms and legs the moment he leaves his cell. Hey, he's completely free to do whatever he wants, it's not our fault he's decided to spend all his time twitching and bleeding on the floor!

  • by whois (27479) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:26PM (#36929734) Homepage

    I'm mostly excited about all the choices we have here in America and the fact that all of them give you the same bandwidth throttling option. In a world out there filled with choice it's important to know that we can go to any provider and get the same thing no matter what we want.

  • by petsounds (593538) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @12:38AM (#36930596)

    Their press release [att.com] closes with:
    "But even as we pursue this additional measure, it will not solve our spectrum shortage and network capacity issues. Nothing short of completing the T-Mobile merger will provide additional spectrum capacity to address these near term challenges."

    So basically this is just a ruse by ATT execs to have the T-Mobile merger approved by the government posthaste, by trying to underscore how their poor widdle network is crumbling under the weight of the few people left on the grandfathered unlimited plan. It's ridiculous! You notice how they never define a limit, or put a range on what this top 5% is using. It's because the whole thing is malarkey.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      cell density cheapskating problems are not spectrum problems(it might be a poor choice of network infrastructure building subcontracts though)

  • In Australia most ISPs have had systems like this in place for almost a decade now, and we call it "shaping" (a nice term for "use too much bandwidth and we'll jack you back down to ISDN").
    The funny thing is that "shaping" is a change for the better in Australia, as before it became common place (it was initially marketed as "UNLIMITED BROADBAND!11!!*") users were either charged ridiculous rates for excess usage ($50+/gb on some plans) or had their service cut off until the end of the month.
    AT&T's m
  • Lol.

    There will always be a top five percent.

    This is a brilliant move to cause *everyone* to reduce usage. The people at 3GB feel safe because of the headroom. But if everyone cuts down to a max of 3GB, what then?

    Top 5% baby! Ok, so *most* of those users cut down. Well, there's still a top 5% that gets throttled, unless *they* also cut down...

    Truly a race to the bottom - whatever AT&T says they won't throttle at is eventually where almost all users will end up.

    Nice. For them, at least.

    Regards.

  • So if they do enforce this and limit your rates, what does this amount to per month total in practical numbers?

    Does this reduce your total potential data 'limit' below the other 'limited' plans or do you still get more?

  • I mean, right now, I only get around 80kbps upstream anyway... IN 3G. I realize that i didn't mention downstream there, but for my most bandwidth intensive application, I don't use it. So where's my limit going to be? 2gigs? 5gigs? and what are they going to throttle that 80kbps down to? Will it be incremental based on total data transferred or is it going to get cut sharply? Will it vary based on peak times or will it be constant? Will bandwidth used during non-peak times count as much as bandwidth

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