AT&T to cap home broadband data too

Posted by Mike Luttrell

AT&T has apparently decided to limit the amount of data its home broadband users can use every month.

Although it didn't exactly make a lot of friends when it decided to limit the amount of data its iPhone and other phone users could user, AT&T has decided to expand the limitation.

For smartphones, AT&T limited data usage to a couple gigabytes every month. For those who use AT&T for their home Internet, the limit will be significantly higher, but it is still a limit.

Now, customers who have AT&T's DSL service will be capped at 150 GB of data per month. Those using the less traditional U-Verse service will get a 250 GB monthly limit. For all customers, going beyond the limit during any month will result in a $10 charge for every additional 50 GB.

Unlike when it imposed data limits on smartphones, though, the new structure will not result in a price change for current monthly rates. When it changed the smartphone data plan, it actually lowered the rate to compensate for the lower limit, resulting in a lot of customers actually getting cheaper monthly bills.

Broadband customers won't see a reduction in price, but, according to AT&T, the vast majority won't see an increase either. The company says only 2% of its customers will be affected. The average DSL customer, it says, only uses 18 GB of data per month.

"Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network," said AT&T in a statement.

For the 2% who use more than 150 GB, though, it's not good news. AT&T claims it will send notifications to customers after they reach 65% of their monthly limit, as well as when they reach 90% and then once more when they hit the limit.