AT&T (NYSE: T) this week is implementing the usage based billing (UBB) rules for its DSL and U-verse broadband customers it previously announced in March. Starting today, existing DSL service customers will get a 150 GB allowance, while U-verse subscribers have a 250 GB cap on services.
As has been the argument by other large broadband providers such as Frontier (NYSE: FTR), Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) and, most recently, Telus (Toronto: T.TO), the caps will affect only about 2 percent of their customer base.
"Customers strongly believe that only those who use the most bandwidth should pay more. That's exactly what this does," Kuriko Hasegawa, a spokeswoman for AT&T, told the American-Statesman, adding that "98 percent of our customers will NOT be impacted by this."
However, Phillip Dampier, leader of consumer watchdog group Stop the Cap believes that AT&T's move is nothing more than a means to protect its U-verse revenue from over the top (OTT) online video services like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu.
"AT&T likes to claim these caps will only impact a tiny percentage of their customers. If true, why impose them at all?" Dampier asked.
At the same time, a number of users in Broadband DSL Reports AT&T forum report that there are various inaccuracies on how the telco measures bandwidth consumption. Concerns over metering accuracy will likely grow even larger as people become affected by the rules.
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