AT&T’s profanity loophole

April 4, 2011

AT&T is rolling out limitations on heavy internet use with a profanity loophole. [LATimes]

Customers who hog a lot of bandwidth by downloading high definition movies, pictures or music will be charged on a water like meter system. As of May 2, AT&T will impose fees on users who exceed 150 gigabytes per month.

In preparation for an anticipated wave of customer anger, AT&T empowered customer service representatives with the ability to cancel contracts and wave cancellation fees, with customers who become abusive.

AT&T is targeting the top two percent of internet users.

“People have a right to behave however they want online,” AT&T spokesman John Britton told the LA Times. “But we have a right to manage the bandwidth so that everyone has a good experience. This is targeting the top two percent of people who use about 20 percent of the bandwidth.”


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16 Comments

  1. NCT says:

    JonnyB- Try TCSN or one of the other internet companies in the North County that provide DSL service via telephone lines. Other viable alternatives include either Charter’s Broadband Cable or a wireless delivery as provided by TCSN and several other in the North County.

    As far as municipally provided broadband is concerned, a large number of those systems have been shut-down or simply limping along after their citizens become tired of throwing money into a bottomless pit. Otherwise if you are please with how well the government runs things now you will be ecstatic with their efficient operation of broadband service. At least you have viable alternatives to AT&T but you will not enjoy those choices with government control.

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • RayCollins says:

      Look to Chattanooga, Tn. Model on that.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • CambriaMaven says:

      One of the primary advantages of municipally-provided anything, including broadband, is a higher level of transparency and at least a little bit of a say in what, how and how much when it comes to provision of services.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. JonnyB says:

    Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich
    by Robert Reich

    It’s tax time. It’s also a time when right-wing Republicans are setting the agenda for massive spending cuts that will hurt most Americans.

    Here’s the truth: The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich.

    Even if we got rid of corporate welfare subsidies for big oil, big agriculture, and big Pharma – even if we cut back on our bloated defense budget – it wouldn’t be nearly enough.

    The vast majority of Americans can’t afford to pay more. Despite an economy that’s twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the bottom 90 percent are still stuck in the mud. If they’re employed they’re earning on average only about $280 more a year than thirty years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. (Families are doing somewhat better but that’s only because so many families now have to rely on two incomes.)

    Yet even as their share of the nation’s total income has withered, the tax burden on the middle has grown. Today’s working and middle-class taxpayers are shelling out a bigger chunk of income in payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes than thirty years ago.

    It’s just the opposite for super rich.

    The top 1 percent’s share of national income has doubled over the past three decades (from 10 percent in 1981 to well over 20 percent now). The richest one-tenth of 1 percent’s share has tripled. And they’re doing better than ever. According to a new analysis by the Wall Street Journal, total compensation and benefits at publicly-traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record in 2010 — $135 billion. That’s up 5.7 percent from 2009.

    Yet, remarkably, taxes on the top have plummeted. From the 1940s until 1980, the top tax income tax rate on the highest earners in America was at least 70 percent. In the 1950s, it was 91 percent. Now it’s 35 percent. Even if you include deductions and credits, the rich are now paying a far lower share of their incomes in taxes than at any time since World War II.

    (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
    • zaphod says:

      The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease. — Helen Keller

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  3. amusselm says:

    I don’t particularly mind pay-per-byte schemes if the rate is reasonable. like, less than 10 cents a gig, perhaps. In fact, for many customers that arrangement would be more economical. In fact, some big datacenter-ish customers buy throughput that way.

    What I hate is the extra charges for ‘tethering’ and whatnot. The data transport costs ATT the same no matter what device it came from and no matter what kind of content it is.

    Meh. At the end of the day, I hope that the cell networks simply become bithaulers. You buy your phone and data plan from a company that buys wholesale bandwidth and re-sells it to you with some added services (call routing, voice mail, dealing with buying from multiple networks, etc). That way, there would be real competition for both hauling bits and providing service to customers. Of course, I hope the same thing happens to land-line based Internet. Municipal fiber anyone?

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • brook says:

      Definitely lean towards municipal fiber. I think our local cities missed the boat years ago
      when they could have combined undergrounding utilities and some sort of local internet revenue system. When I suggested it, there was a huge yawn.

      SLO seems to me to be a re-active place, active, not so much.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  4. calvertworthington says:

    I’m relieved that At&t is taking action to protect it’s minuscule treasure from the socialists that make up most of the groveling customer -base. Onward an upwards towards their heyday on Ma-Bell.

    If you’re polite with At&t they’ll allow to purchase to their diamond-studded iPhones. Oh so decadent.

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  5. rogerfreberg says:

    hmmmm…

    This is just the back door to offering different rates for different service levels. I hope no one is getting fooled by this. It’s kinda like the one time city tax that is supposed to go away after a while… but never does. The next step is more rates and more levels.

    (13) 19 Total Votes - 16 up - 3 down
    • JonnyB says:

      Well Mr Freberg that’s the “free markets” you so love isn’t it?

      Like all monopolies, yes our race to the bottom is leaving 3,4 or 5 in each sector, that monopoly gets to dictate the prices. Want to control them? You must be socialists!

      January 28, 2010
      AT&T profits up 25 percent on wireless growth

      3rd Quarter 2009
      AT&T Profits Triple, But New iPhone Subs Fall To All-Time Low

      04-23-08
      AT&T Inc.’s first-quarter earnings rose 22 percent on strong growth in wireless.

      (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
      • choprzrul says:

        Monopoly??? The most heavily regulated company in the history of the nation? They were a regulated monopoly from 1934 to 1984 when congress started to open up telecom equipment to competition. The 1996 Telecom Act opened the whole industry up to CLEC competition. Now you can go online and find dozens of third party resellers offering DSL services over AT&Ts infrastructure at bargain basement rates. How in the world do you equate that kind of competition with a monopoly???

        People: simply vote with your wallets. Go to the third party resellers that have no such bandwidth limitations. You can even find providers that offer ‘dry’ lines (i.e. no phone service required for DSL connection). Once AT&T sees a drop in subscriptions that is greater than the 2% in the article, they will adjust their policies. Market forces in action!

        (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
        • JonnyB says:

          choprzrul:
          “Now you can go online and find dozens of third party resellers offering DSL services over AT&Ts infrastructure at bargain basement rates. How in the world do you equate that kind of competition with a monopoly???”

          Show me ONE that offers DSL in North SLO county through their lines! Just one! I know in Atascadero it’s ATT, satellite or cable!

          Market forces? LOL Right wing BS!

          I know, when ATT and Verizon control 80% of the wireless market in 6 months their pricing will come down to right? lol

          BTW, the breakup of ATT how did that work out again how many companies did they merge back into again? Wasn’t there 9 “baby bells” now there are 3? You Fright Wingers and your “market forces” lol

          (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
          • Smacks Forehead says:

            What is you idea for a solution? AT&T has every right to impose fees to manage bandwidth. Your frustration for your inability to use another phone company for your DSL is more complicated than AT&T and Verizon are monopolies. it comes down to who owns the phone lines in order to maintain them. The only solution I can see to that problem is to allow companies to install their own phone lines in order to compete in the same areas as each other, but then you would have lines everywhere. Would you please grace us with your great wisdom on this matter.

            (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
            • amusselm says:

              Fees to manage bandwidth? Technically speaking, that doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. Bandwidth != throughput. And what do you mean by “manage”?

              Over in Europe, there is much more competition in the last mile, and people get better service (more throughput and volume) for less money. Why is this? Because there are rules and regulations requiring phone and cable companies to open up their lines to third parties. Of course, these third parties have to pay fee to the owners of the line to cover things like maintenance and allow the owners of the line to recover their capital investment and earn a modest profit.

              That’s one good solution to our broadband (man, that term makes the engineer in me squirm…. oh well) woes. Turn the current phone and cable companies into regulated monopolies with regards to bit-hauling service. Then, require them to allow anyone to use their lines for a set (regulated) fee. This way, a couple of bored college students could start their own ISP over a rainy weekend. When the the barriers for entry are a carrier-grade router and a web server, you will see all sorts of choices become available. Heck, you could be your own ISP, if you wanted to deal with buying throughput from multiple backbone providers.

              Or, we could have a similar system with the last mile owned by the municipality.

              (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
              • brook says:

                You’re making much too much sense, amusslem.

                (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
            • JonnyB says:

              amusselm hits it out of the park.

              Yes there is a natural monopoly, THAT is why we have government and regulations! Having a return on investment is one thing, but this race to the bottom on wages and service in order to capture more profits? That is all that is happening here.

              Funny how the US has some of the slowest networks AND more costly than other parts of the world, kinda like our health care system!

              (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down

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