AT&T, which began experimenting with usage caps a few weeks ago in Reno, Nev. (story here), has expanded testing into a second market – Beaumont, Texas.
Beaumont is perhaps a safer market for AT&T to test caps, which tend to be unpopular, because consumers in Beaumont are already familiar with the concept. At the beginning of 2008, Time Warner Cable used that market to experiment with usage limits on its broadband service (story here).
When it began its test in Reno, the company said it would select another market before the end of the year. In Beaumont, AT&T’s threshold is going to be 150 gigabytes per month, according to the Beaumont Enterprise (story here).
That’s consistent with its Reno test. There AT&T is capping downloads at 20 gigabytes per month for customers of its slowest DSL tier, at 768 kbps. The limit increases with the speed of the plan, up to 150 gigabytes per month at the 10 Mbps tier. Exceeding the limit will cost $1 per gigabyte.
AT&T said it is trying to identify bandwidth hogs – AT&T offered the common estimate of about 5 percent of users – and develop a tiering strategy that will accommodate heavy broadband users while keeping prices low for average users.
AT&T said it will test metering for one month and will inform customers when they reach 70 percent of their monthly allocation. Charges for exceeding the cap will kick in next month.
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