Cable companies that have long milked cable subscriptions for profit are worried about how they’re going to replace that cash among new generations of cable-cutters. But maybe, just maybe, they won’t have to.

DSL Reports has spotted a trend among ISPs that at first glance, looks pretty good: AT&T and Bend will both remove their broadband caps if users also bundle TV and home phone. It looks like a deal for customers — no fee to remove data caps! — but really, it’s an out-and-out money grab.

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Broadband caps have proven time and again to be unnecessary. Even ISPs have admitted that broadband caps aren’t about reducing congestion, but rather about some unqualified measure of “fairness.” The fact is, cord cutters streaming Netflix don’t slow down your network.

Internet is a different pricing structure to traditional products like cable TV. ISPs don’t really pay for each additional customer — instead, it’s all about trying to make money from existing infrastructure. That’s where the artificial caps come in.

AT&T and Bend’s “free” unlimited internet is really a thinly veiled price hike. The ISPs know that people with high broadband usage don’t really want cable TV or a home phone, but by phrasing it this way, they can detract attention from the high price you have to pay to get reasonable, unlimited internet — exactly like how you did in the past.

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.