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Old 04-30-2011, 01:31 AM   #1
Drunken Savior
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ATT to begin download caps for DSL on Monday

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Originally Posted by http://gizmodo.com/#!5797273/shed-a-tear-the-age-of-broadband-caps-begins-monday

Shed a Tear: The Age of Broadband Caps Begins Monday

Ryan Single - Wired.com — Come Monday, AT&T will begin restricting more than 16 million broadband users based on the amount of data they use in a month. The No. 2 carrier's entry into the broadband-cap club means that a majority of U.S. broadband users will now be subject to limits on how much they can do online or risk extra charges as ugly as video store late fees.

AT&T's new limits - 150 GB for DSL subscribers and 250 GB for UVerse users (a mix of fiber and DSL) - come as users are increasingly turning to online video such as Hulu and Netflix on-demand streaming service instead of paying for cable.

With the change, AT&T joins Comcast and numerous small ISPs in putting a price on a fixed amount of internet usage. It's a complete abandonment of the unlimited plans which turned the internet into a global behemoth after the slow-growth dial-up days, when customers were charged by the minute and thus accessed the internet as sparingly as possible.

Comcast's limit, put into place after it got caught secretly throttling peer-to-peer traffic, is 250 GB - which the company says less than 99 percent of users hit. AT&T plans to charge users an extra $10 per month if they cross the cap, a fee that recurs for each 50 GBs a user goes over the cap. And while 150 GB and 250 GB per month might seem like a lot, if you have a household with kids or roommates, it's not too difficult to approach those limits using today's services, even without heavy BitTorrent usage.

(For those not accustomed to calculating their bandwidth usage, video streaming and online gaming use much more bandwidth than web browsing or e-mailing. For instance, Netflix ranges from .3 GB per hour to 1.0 for normal resolution movies and up to 2.3 GB per hour for HD content.)

And it should noted that U.S. limits are far from the world's worst: Canada's recently imposed restrictions prompted Netflix to give customers there a choice of lower-quality streams to keep their usage down, because users are charged up to $5 per GB that they exceed their cap. Caps are also worse in Australia.

But for the nation which has been key to a wildly expanding internet, the changing tide is both a practical and cultural letdown.

The drive to cap usage is ostensibly a way to reduce costs. But in reality, it's not about the cost of data – bandwidth costs are extremely low and keep falling. Time Warner Cable brought in $1.13 billion in revenue from broadband customers in the first three months of 2011, while spending only $36 million for bandwidth - a mere 3 percent of the revenue. Time Warner Cable doesn't currently impose bandwidth caps or metering on its customers - though they have reserved the right to do so - after the company's disastrous trial of absurdly low limits in 2009 sparked an immediate backlash from customers and from D.C. politicians.

The real problem ISPs want to fix is congestion due to limited infrastructure. Cable customers share what are known as local loops, and the more that your neighbors use their connection, the less bandwidth is available to you - a situation that becomes painfully clear in the evening, when cable users see their throughput fall.

The blunt-force approach of a bandwidth cap does have the advantage of making users think twice about streaming HD movies from Netflix. That is, perhaps not coincidentally, doubly to the advantage of most big ISPs, because they'd rather have you spending money on their video services than paying a third party. Bandwidth-intense services threaten to turn the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner Cable into utilities - a dependable business, but not one that has the huge profit margins these companies have come to enjoy.

Indeed, the question of who gets to write the rules about the internet's pipes is the major bone of contention in the net neutrality debate, both for terrestrial and mobile data networks. When the new net neutrality rules go into effect, ISPs won't be able to block their online video competition, but there's no rule against doing that with bandwidth caps or tiered usage pricing.

Moreover, as we all move towards more and more cloud services, whether that's for backups, music or movies, it's worrisome that ISPs are more concerned about reining in their most dedicated customers in service of meeting Wall Street's expectations. Instead, they should be taking the opportunity to dig up the streets to create fiber networks that will make us a nation that's top in the world's broadband-ranking chart, rather than a laggard.

The real solution is adding infrastructure at the local level, though an interim solution could entail metering data only during peak times, much as mobile-phone calling-minutes plans apply only during peak hours.

But, that just goes to show, yet again, that what's good for the Street often doesn't translate into what's good for the country.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:41 AM   #2
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I said you lot would get capped sooner or later and you all laughed. Whos laughing now ooollolololololo. And that line about Australia being worse, our caps range between 0 to 2TB. I'm on 200gb for example.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:58 AM   #3
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I said you lot would get capped sooner or later and you all laughed. Whos laughing now ooollolololololo. And that line about Australia being worse, our caps range between 0 to 2TB. I'm on 200gb for example.
OH YEAH!?

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Originally Posted by http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/04/how-internet-users-are-disciplined-around-the-world.ars

It could be worse: data caps around the world
By Matthew Lasar | Last updated 25 days ago

Here at Ars we spend a lot of time writing about data caps—those ceilings on how much broadband data you can use before your ISP taps you on the shoulder and tells you it's time to pay more. Depending on where you live, these can range from "inconvenient" to "ruinous." For instance, consider the Middle East's Kingdom of Bahrain.

"My capacity refreshes on the 1st of each month and is depleted by the 12th," writes one Internet user there. "At that point my connection falls to 256Kbps (or if I choose, can maintain the same speed for 1 BD [US$2.65]) a GB."

"So while Canada's situation does suck," he adds, "I wish I was there instead of here."

As we note below, Canadian ISPs definitely cap data use. That country's Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission seems to think this is a reasonable approach. In fact, the CRTC is currently running a proceeding on how to "discipline" Internet usage in Canada.

Companies like Netflix are "putting a great stress on the Internet and there's no incentive for companies to invest in maintaining the Internet," the Commission's head Konrad von Finckenstein warned in early February.

That got us wondering as to how the crusade to whip broadband subscribers into proper behavioral patterns is going in other parts of the world. So here's a quick snapshot of the landline residential broadband data cap situation in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. We'll extend this inquiry to wireless and other parts of the globe over the coming months.

The United States

AT&T. 150GB data caps will kick in for AT&T DSL customers as of May 2. First time over, you get a disciplinary message. Second time, "AT&T will send you a notice advising you that the next time you exceed your allowance—the third time—you will be billed $10 for each 50 GB of data over your allowance."

Comcast. The ISP announced its 250GB data cap limit in August of 2008. As with Comcast, the first time over, you get a call from the company. "If you exceed 250GB again within six months of the first contact, your service will be subject to termination and you will not be eligible for either residential or commercial internet service for twelve (12) months," Comcast's FAQ page explains.

Time Warner Cable. TWC abandoned its disastrous experiment with 100GB for $75/month in 2009. But the company still has an "acceptable use policy" that lets it reel in anything it experiences as "abuse" of its network, "including the use of excessive bandwidth." It has no hard caps, however.

Canada

Rogers Communications. Cable ISP Rogers Communications offers the following "generous" monthly usage allowances.

Ultra Lite - 2 GB
Lite - 15 GB
Express - 60 GB
Extreme - 80 GB
Extreme Plus - 125 GB
Ultimate - 175 GB
If you exceed these limits, you'll be charged from CAN$.50 to CAN$5.00 a gigabyte, depending on which plan you're on, with a maximum extra charge of $50 a month. Rogers lowered some of its data cap ceilings last July, just as Netflix streaming entered the Canadian market.

Bell Canada. Bell Canada's Essential Plus plan (CAN$24.95 a month) offers download speeds of "up to" 2 Mbps with a data limit of 2GB of bandwidth per month. Bell's top speed Fibe 25 Plan (25Mbps) sets the cap at 75GB. In the middle there's Fibe 6 (6 Mbps), with a ceiling of 25GB per month.

TekSavvy. Canada is in the middle of a long argument over whether to apply usage-based billing rules to smaller, competitive ISPs that connect with Bell Canada and Rogers for network access. At the beginning of this year the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was poised to impose metered billing on indie ISPs, with a 15 percent discount.

As a consequence, Ontario-based TekSavvy announced that it would impose 25GB a month data caps on subscribers, down from 200GB. But outrage over the CRTC's move forced the government to back down. It was in the context of this uproar that von Finckenstein's "disciplinary" remark emerged.

At present, TekSavvy offers residential DSL for CAN$31.95/Month at "up to" 5Mbps with a 300GB a month data cap, or with no data cap for CAN$8 more. Subscribers can also buy a cheaper plan with no cap at a slower throughput rate.

United Kingdom

BT. Right now, BT advertises the following data caps.

BT Total Broadband Option 1 10GB
BT Total Broadband Option 2 40GB
BT Total Broadband Option 3 Unlimited*
BT Infinity Option 1 40GB
BT Infinity Option 2 Unlimited*
But BT says the telco plans to remove these limits at some point in the future.

"As BT continues to invest in the network and network bandwidth we can now remove these restrictions and ensure the experience of the wider customer base," declared Mayuresh Thavapalan, general manager of Consumer Broadband at BT Retail. "On completion there will be no individual user controls targeted at atypical users on our BT Total Broadband and BT Infinity products."

Although Option 3 and Infinity Option 2 are advertised as unlimited, reports say they slow down when subscriber usage strays past 300GB. And the asterisks next to those plans lead to a caveat that they are "Subject to Network Management."

"Customers who are classified as very heavy users will experience significantly reduced speed at peak times," BT warns, "(typically 5pm-midnight every day but these times may change depending on the demand on the network) for a period of 30 days, or for as long as very heavy use continues. This applies to customers on all Options."

Virgin Media. Virgin Media's "up to" 10Mbps fibre broadband is actually pretty close to that—about 9.66Mbps, according to Ofcom. And it comes with "unlimited downloads," boasts the company.

We think you deserve more. So no matter which of our fibre optic broadband packages you chose, you get unlimited1 downloads. That means you can download as much music, as many films and as many photos as you want without having to worry about going over any kind of limit.

Ars readers are no doubt staring at the "1" next to "unlimited." It points to Virgin's acceptable use and traffic management policies. The acceptable use language bars activities that are "illegal," "unlawful," or "inconveniecing [sic] other internet users."

The traffic management policy notes that "at peak times we also slow down the speed of file sharing traffic—that's services like Limewire, Gnutella, BitTorrent and Newsgroup (Usenet) traffic. You will, of course, still be able to use these services, but downloads and uploads will take longer during these peak periods."

In other words, Virgin's unlimited downloads are subject to disciplinary limitations, albeit without data caps.

Australia

Telstra BigPond. Telstra's BigPond broadband plans come with caps, but when consumers reach their limit, they're not charged extra cash. Rather, as in Bahrain, BigPond slows them down. And we're talking about serious brakes here. After 2GB, the Turbo 2GB Liberty plan throttles from 1500Kbps (ADSL) or 8Mbps(Cable) to 64Kbps. Ditto for the 30Mbps Cable plan.

Those packages cost AUS$9.95 and AUS$19.95, respectively. For AUS$49.95 you can buy the BigPond Elite 50GM Liberty plan, which comes with a 50GB cap. For AUS$20 more, the 200GB Liberty tier comes with a larger caps and a "generous" 256Kbps speed after hitting your threshold.

Optus. Optus' high speed Internet plans have caps too, but subscribers are "disciplined" in a somewhat different manner. For example, the 30GB plan allows you to consume 10GB during "peak" times and 20GB during off peak hours, which Optus defines as so:

Peak data is for use between 12pm-12am AEST/ADST. Off Peak data is for use between 12am-12pm AEST/ADST If you exceed your off peak data allowance, usage will be counted towards peak data allowance.

Once subscribers reach these limits, the ISP drops their speed to around 8Mbps to 64Kbps. For the 120GB plan plug 50GB peak and 70GB off peak into that scenario. For 500GB it's 250/250 for AUS$69.99.

iinet. Australia's second largest telco ISP, iinet, offers a similar approach. "If you exceed your quota, we just shape your download speeds for the remainder of your billing month," iinet assures consumers.

So the ADSL1 Home1 plan offers 1500/256Kpbs upload and download speeds with a 5GB peak and 5GB off-peak data cap for AUS$34.95. If consumers go beyond that, their throughput rate is shaped down to 256/128Kbps, or 256/256 for other plans. Some plans include throttling discipline that goes as low as 65Kbps.

"At the end of your monthly cycle, the normal speeds of your plan will resume and your quota will be reset," iiNet promises. "We never charge excess fees on plans that include shaping. If the customer wants the service to remove the shaping before the quota reset, they must upgrade their plan."
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:12 AM   #4
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i'm not capped .. but i pay £3 a month more not to be .. worth every penny
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:48 AM   #5
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150gb huh? that's not to bad at all really unless you're going completely crazy. Personally I download quite abit maybe a little more then I can watch and I also stream alot of anime and any TV shows that I may miss on TV for whatever reason. I bearly ever get close to 150gb and I've never reached 250gb not even when I really go all out.

I don't do alot of online gaming but my housemate does some with Call Of Duty and more recently Portal 2 but we we'll still find it hard to reach 150gb.
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Old 04-30-2011, 04:57 AM   #6
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Totally ridiculous. I really wish someone one could raise up and make a business that could tackle these huge companies.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:46 AM   #7
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What the heck do you guys do to use over 150gb-250gb a month? You must do more then simply streaming, playing games online and downloading.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Escaflowne2001 View Post
What the heck do you guys do to use over 150gb-250gb a month? You must do more then simply streaming, playing games online and downloading.
Many if not most members here don't actually understand how much bandwidth they use/need.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:01 AM   #9
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This is why companies like ATT work so hard to gain monopolies. They couldn't get away with this shit as much in a truly free market.
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Old 03-29-2017, 03:30 AM   #10
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:50 AM   #11
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Porn.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:09 AM   #12
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I download about half a terabyte in porn per month. I may just go hang myself.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:40 AM   #13
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you think that's bad, I only have 25 gb bandwidth with Bell sympatico! ARGH! There isn't any other services where I live neither.
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:43 PM   #14
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That's bad. There should be another way. I don't use that much bandwidth with Verizon FioS, but damn I like to know that if I wanted to go balls out and do it up that I can. Fuck that shit.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:56 PM   #15
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Damn 25gb now that IS something to moan about.
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