Internet Users Face AT&T Usage Pricing and Time Warner Overage Fees

AT&T Broadband, announces usage-based pricing which will reportedly begin this Fall. This announcement follows broadband company Comcast which announced throttling excessive bandwidth users and blacklisting them, while Time Warner introduced charging customers for going over their bandwidth quota.

For the past week you may have been hearing about Comcast and Time Warner either running throttling tests or charging for bandwidth usage when you go over your allocated amount, now AT&T Broadband which is announcing usage-based pricing which will reportedly begin this Fall.

The company’s chief technical officer, John Donovan, told Wired that it doesn’t practice in packet shaping, slowing down or blocking certain applications’ data packets to render them less efficient and they don’t view any of its customers as pirates, but as users.

“A heavy user is not a bad customer,” Donovan stated.

While some broadband companies are avoiding upgrading its infrastructure, AT&T is planning a 3-G upgrade, based on HSPA technology. The upgrade will take over-the-air download speeds from 1.7 Mbps now to 7 Mbps and finally, to 11 Mbps. The company has already mapped out when most of their upgrades will take place, which may even be sooner than the expected date of 2012 or 2013 for the fourth-generation “Long-Term Evolution” (LTE) technology, which speeds are expected to hit up to 100 Mbps. AT&T most recent upgrade of its wired internet access is capable of 40 Mbps.

Donovan states AT&T is in the process of deploying fiber optic networks to people’s homes, which will begin with all new housing developments.

When Donovan was questioned on whether they have possible plans to monitor network traffic for violations, he stated that it is possible and could be targeted at specific applications or at specific copyrighted content, via deep packet inspection, however the company isn’t currently monitoring such usage on an individual customer level.

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