AT&T puts bandwidth squeeze on Reno

Poor Reno. First, the Comedy Central show "Reno 911." Now AT&T will be experimenting with bandwidth caps and overage charges starting this month in the Nevada city. (Gee, and both concepts include handcuffs!)

Test customers will be equipped with an "online usage metering tool" that displays a running total of the amount of data the customer has "transmitted" during a given month, according to a AT&T briefing held with an FCC lawyer. Hit 80 percent of the limit and AT&T sends out a notice about the usage tier and charges incurred if they exceed it.

Customers have to go over the line twice before they get billed. And customers who don't want to participate in the trials have the option to cancel their broadband internet service without an early termination penalty.

According to AT&T, a small minority of their broadband customers consume a disproportionately large amount of the total broadband available to all of the customers on their network - just like over at Comcast. Last month, AT&T let the FCC know that U-Verse buyers were going to get new service terms to allow them to "temporarily" reduce Internet through rates when other U-verse services require high bandwidth, so it may be necessary to set a max downstream speed, kinda like Comcast.

For more:
- Ars Technica reports on AT&T's bandwidth cap experiment in Reno.

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