The folks at AT&T are about to impose caps for all of their DSL customers and also for their U-Verse customers. What is interesting about the proposal are the limits that are going to be placed on existing customers and the additional charges when they exceed the limits. AT&T has an interesting premise it cites to show that 98% of customers will not be affected since the average AT&T customer uses only 18GB of data per month.
The new AT&T limits will be 150GB monthly usage cap for all DSL customers and a 250 GB usage cap on all U-Verse users. Notices to all of these AT&T customers will start going out this month and will become effective starting on May 2. But AT&T tells us not to worry, be happy, and accept the limited usage rates since this is the way it is going to be, like it or not.
There are two things that bother me about the data limitation plan being instituted by AT&T. First, I believe that existing customers should be exempt and that the limitations should apply to new customers only. Why is it that large corporations seem to think they can employ or change new features on a whim and that customers are obligated to go along with the new plan? Yes, you can change providers, but that misses the point. When these people signed up, they signed up for unlimited usage. Just because the folks at AT&T were stupid and did not forecast that the system would be abused is their problem, not the problem of the customer.
Second is that this limitation on data will have long-range effects for all of us. If AT&T doesn’t lose a large amount of customers, other providers will also enforce data limits. Depending on how you use you Internet service, this could limit the amount of TV programs or movies you watch on the Internet.
What AT&T has also failed to mention is if the data plan is restricted from unlimited usage, will there be a price reduction? We all know the answer to that question. AT&T will provide less service but will want to keep its pricing the same.
I look at the proposal being made by AT&T this way. Let us say that you go down and purchase a new automobile, SUV, or truck. The company offers a 10 year, 100,000 mile power train warranty. After you buy the vehicle you receive a letter that states that 2% of vehicle owners have abused their vehicles so the company is dropping the warranty to 5 years, 100,000 miles on the power train. I know that I would not be a happy camper.
I personally believe that AT&T has already calculated the cost of a civil suit into the equation and knows it will be cheaper paying consumers a stipend than to continue on with its unlimited plan. All of you who use DSL from AT&T, I feel your pain.