Bandwidth caps are one of the less popular innovations that ISPs have unveiled over the past few years, and a new paper from the liberal New America Foundation think tank contends that such policies are brazen attempts to pad service providers’ margins by bilking their customers. The paper notes that “data caps, especially on wireline networks, are hardly a necessity,” especially since “the costs to provide broadband service are also declining, including the cost of Internet connectivity or IP transit as well as equipment and other operational costs.” More →
BGR has learned that AT&T may have plans to offer tiered data services when it launches its Long Term Evolution network later this year. The carrier apparently plans to trial two separate types of tiers alongside its LTE service: speed tiers and data tiers. Speed tiers will provide LTE data service at varying rates of speed depending on the plan a customer selects, similar to land-based broadband services currently offered by ISPs. Data tiers will afford subscribers “data buckets” of varying sizes, similar to the configuration of AT&T’s current data plans.
The carrier may also have plans to give subscribers the option to boost services temporarily for a fee, according to a document provided to BGR. The documents mentions “Top Up Sessions,” which allow users to increase their data allotment for the remainder of a billing cycle, and “Speed Up Sessions,” which will allow subscribers on lower-tier plans to speed up their service for a specific duration. The document does not provide any details in terms of what speeds might be afforded by each tier, nor does it detail how much data will be included with each of the various data bucket sizes. It is also currently unclear how many speed and data bucket options AT&T might intend to offer its LTE subscribers. According to the document, AT&T will begin trials of the aforementioned tiered LTE service plans in May for this year. Hit the jump for an excerpt from the internal AT&T document detailing the tiered data.
As we delve further into an age where more and more content is obtained and consumed digitally, Time Warner Cable seems to be doing everything it can to stifle progress. Residents of Beaumont, Texas are in for a treat later this week when Time Warner goes live with a new pilot for its cable internet customers. Under this pilot, cable internet customers will be limited to a measly 40 GB of traffic each month. The cost of service in Beaumont will still be $54.90 during this trial period, which by the way amounts to an astonishing $1.37 per gigabyte. The assumption of course is that internet subscribers who also choose VoIP or VOD services will see the 40 GB limitation lifted while the rest are left without an option to even pay an additional fee for more bandwidth. Heavy users such as those who embrace set top box offerings like Apple TV and Vudu are essentially given three choices in this scenario; Buy additional Time Warner services, stop using the internet as you have become accustomed or stop embracing these advancements in internet technology altogether. Do you currently consume all of your media via digital downloads? Buy a DVD. Do you enjoy the convenience and simplicity of online backup services such as Carbonite and Mozy? Buy an external hard drive. Time Warner Cable can’t single handedly reverse the exponential technology curve that the internet has bolstered, but it sure looks like they’re going to try.