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AT&T Cellphones Communications Handhelds

AT&T To Start Data Throttling Heaviest Users 207

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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  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday July 29, 2011 @08:16PM (#36929340)

    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 for e-mail and for reading various news websites -- being a news junkie -- and yet I'm a "heavy user".

    So, from my point of view speaking as one who rarely uses high-data intensive applications, if you aren't a "heavy user", you don't use your phone at all ....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 29, 2011 @08:32PM (#36929442)

    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 costs.

    Additionally, I can easily setup a wired isp for just my neighborhood for less than $5000. (i already have most of the equipment)
    The cable is cheap, but the local large isp managed to get city planning to deny my application for access to the right-of way.

    Instead, I tried setting up a wireless service using 802.11.
    The fcc has come knocking 3 times to measure the signal strength of my radio.

    So lets start by relaxing/removing some of the existing laws before we start trying to pass more.


  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:14PM (#36929668)
    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 traffic shaping, I think his point of view makes a little more sense to me now and is worthy of mention.

    Their main concern is what they are calling "free riders." This isn't the customer, and they are in no way mad at the customer. They, in fact, wish this entire subject didn't exist. They aren't worrying about people downloading music, browsing or anything of that nature. Their first concern was You tube... and service like it. At first it was a bit annoying... you-tube setup a service where you could stream video to the customer and in exchange the customer would view adds. Youtube made ad revenue at almost no cost. The ISP saw this as an annoyance because to generate more ad revenue Youtube and service like it forced the user to re-download the same content every time they watched it... or at least made that the most convenient method for the user to use. Now the user is not only sucking up a lot more bandwidth, but they are very concerned about latency and download speeds even at peak hours. All of this to support Youtubes profit model that the ISP has no part of. Now this sort of service was annoying to them for a while, but later it got worse. Netflix put huge strains on their networks. Not only did it increase the amount of bandwidth people used, it also focused all their use to very specific time periods during the week. It was the ISP was a grocery store and some other vendor setup a cart in the middle of their store with "FREE CANDY FRIDAYS AT 8PM" The stores flooded with customers, the bathrooms are wrecked and there are lines of people at the front desk bitching that they cant get to the milk because of the swarm of children in the center isles. Despite all the media hype over Netflix, this wasn't really the last straw... The final nail in the coffin were services that most people don't know exist. In recent years many companies have started selling devices with network connections... in fact, most devices have them now. These connections offer users added services to their devices, like weather updates, firmware updates, games, trivia, TV guides, the works. But few users realize they are trading something for these services. As soon as these devices are hooked up there is almost a continuous stream of data going back to the vendors servers. They're monitoring their customers device usage and rarely even notifying. What's worse is these devices continue to communicate or at least attempt to communicate with their home service even if the vendor no longer cares to receive it. They have no vested intrest in the health of the network their equipment is hooked up to, so they use the cheapest most bandwidth intensive methods available. Why pay for software to compress your data when you don't have to pay for the bandwidth? The customer pays for that right?

    These types of service were scary enough, but then Direct TV went over the top. When their receiver is hooked up to the customers internet connection and the customer trys to watch certain movies, the receiver starts downloading the movie from the home network FIRST to save the satellite provider bandwidth. So, what you have, in effect, is one ISP hijacking another ISP to deliver content. This threw the telecoms into a frenzy. All they could see was danger. If Direct TV or a local cable company had equipment hooked up to the telecoms network and the user had unlimited bandwidth and little incentive to pay much attention to how much their equipment was using, the competitor could quite easily cripple the telco.

    I think the answer will never be in capping bandwidth. But I can understand their concerns. I think more transparency in how much data and what kind of data a device is using is a better option. But I have to say, I can now see what's got them so concerned.
  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Friday July 29, 2011 @09:19PM (#36929692)

    So, that free market would get a dial tone out to the never-going-to-be-profitable like the failed government monopolies did?

  • 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.

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