Time to pay the piper for bandwidth hogs in the United States: AT&T is now implmenting its previously announced bandwidth caps for home broadband subscribers.
What this means is that DSL customers have a 150 GB allowance, while subscribers to the fiber-based U-verse service have a 250 GB cap on services.Customers who use more data during at least three months will have to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB bucket of data.
AT&T maintains that, true to overall Internet statistics, roughly 2% of its customer base falls into the 'heavy data user' bucket, so the caps will only affect a small sliver of its subscribers.
AT&T says it is striving to let the heavy users that contribute to neighborhood congestion pay more for impacting the network and requiring increased investment on the part of the carrier.
Some disagree with that, however, especially when it comes to U-verse, which offers more efficient bandwidth use as a FTTX service. In the U-verse case, across which AT&T delivers IPTV as well--some are saying the move is actually a competitive reaction to limit the use of competitive OTT video services like Netflix.
Om Malik actually worked out the statistics: The average HD movie streamed from Netfliz will cost an AT&T customer 3.5 GB of data. A single hour-long HD TV episode comes in around 800 MB. In fact, 150 GB per month of bandwidth translates into streaming about three hours of HD video per day, to the exclusion of any other activities. If you;re a cord-cutter, you'll be up against the cap pretty quickly.